I am a great believer in the positive impact of Canada's constitutional guarantee of equality, found in section 15 of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees the right to be "equal before and under the law" and "to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability." While the Canadian model cannot and should not simply be transposed into other contexts, exploring how and why section 15 came into being in Canada provides valuable insight into the positive effects that constitutionalizing equality may bring. Specifically, I will outline how and why Canadian women contributed to the adoption of section 15 of the Charter, as well as show how their vision has helped to bring about greater justice for all through a major transformation of Canadian law.

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