our national executive
As we grew from a national campaign to a national forum, we quickly realized that the next step was gearing up to be a national organization. We are thrilled to announce that we are now governed by nine voting committees and two non-voting committees, each of which will be overseen by two co-leads. Together we represent diverse backgrounds, experiences and identities, call many places across Canada home and cannot wait to continue growing Law Needs Feminism Because.
MEDIA & ENGAGEMENT COMMITTEE >> Marie Pilote & Lydia Amazouz
PHOTO & STORY CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE >> Asha Young & Melanie Anderson
FINANCE COMMITTEE >> Barbara Giorgio & Christina Clemente
FUNDRAISING & STEWARDSHIP COMMITTEE >> Carly Stanhope & Rachel Kohut
COMMUNICATION COMMITEE >> Anja-Sara Lahady & Desirée Duplessis
RESEARCH COMMITTEE >> Anastasia Berwald & Joanne Murray
OUTREACH & CONTENT DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE >> Katia-Maria Medina Avelar & Karine Bédard
NATIONAL FORUM COMMITTEE >> Zaynab Al-Waadh & Stephanie Tadeo
EDUCATION, ADVOCACY & AWARENESS COMMITTEE >> Ava Williams & Romita Sur
LOGISTICS COMMITTEE >> Souhila Baba [Website Manager] & Alyssa Jervis [Internal Manager]
CONSTITUTION-DRAFTING COMMITTEE >> Aliah El-Houni & Kelli McPhail
Media and Engagement Lead
Marie est à sa première année de droit à l’université McGill. Elle est une francophone originaire de la ville de Québec. Elle est Responsable du volet collégial de la campagne Sans oui, c’est non, un organisme visant à lutter et prévenir les violences à caractère sexuel sur les campus postsecondaires. Elle s’est impliquée à la Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ) comme Coordonnatrice aux relations et aux communications durant 2016-2017. Elle aime le théâtre, la poésie et la politique québécoise. Pour elle, le féminisme est une nécessité afin de parvenir à l’égalité pour tous, notamment dans les milieux comme le droit qui sont traditionnellement très masculins et dont les institutions et façons de faire, de penser sont encore imprégnés des années où cette pratique était réservée uniquement aux hommes.
Lydia is a second year law student at Université de Montréal.
She first got involved with Law Needs Feminism Because in 2017 by organizing the photo campaign at her faculty. She now looks forward to serving on the LNFB National Executive as media and engagement co-lead.
Lydia is very implicated at her faculty: she co-hosts a radio show called Hors la loi on CISM 89,3FM, is on the Femmes et Droit committee, responsible for the IP component of the arts committee and on the students’ journal.
She has a particular interest in Intellectual Property, and wishes to change the occupational sexism occurring in the technology industry and encourage girls and women to succeed in this field.
Photo & Story Campaign Co-Leads
Asha is in her second year at the Peter A. Allard School of Law in Vancouver. While she is a full time law student, she also works as an artist, working primarily with paint and photography as her mediums. She grew up in North Delta, British Columbia and did her undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. She completed a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Cultural Studies. Additionally, she spent a semester studying abroad in Singapore. Asha’s interests in the law lie in issues of diversity and feminism, looking at how the law shapes and addresses these issues. Outside of the classroom she is a part of Allard’s Academic Council, the vice president of the Allard Law Film Society, a member of UBC’s Indigenous Law Student’s Association, and she recently joined the Allard curling team. In her spare time, she loves to travel, play video games, cook, and do crafts – she is currently working on a legal-themed cross stitch piece.
Melanie is a third-year law student at Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law in Halifax, NS. She is originally from Vancouver, BC with a background in progressive policy change. She came to law school interested in how the law can be a tool for social justice, and luckily that interest has continued. Outside of the law, she likes to read novels, ride her bike around the city, and drink craft beer. She took that last hobby so far she became a certified beer judge. With LNFB, she looks forward to building up this campaign as one of the Photo & Story Campaign Co-Leads!
Barbara is originally from Thunder Bay, Ontario, known for Canada's one of seven wonders for its infamous 'Sleeping Giant'. Preceding qualifying as a Lawyer, Barbara attained with High Honours a Master of Laws from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law where she completed advanced academic study in domestic and complementary international law with preeminence in business law. She also attains with Honours a Juris Doctor from the University of Birmingham Law School completing her studies at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. Barbara further attains with First Class an Honours Bachelor of Commerce from Lakehead University. She is currently a Fellow at Florida State University, College of Law completing her studies in Transnational Law and Policy and she is publishing for a respective international law journal. Barbara served as an elected Officer of the Executive Committee for the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law Student Council in addition to serve as a Student Representative for the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law Women and the Law Society. She has instructed in oral advocacy at three Canadian law faculties, lectured on business law for Canadian economic development and guest lectured at a law faculty in the United Kingdom. Barbara has engaged in discourse on gender-specific issues within the corporate and legal professions, including a deficiency in the number of women serving on Canadian corporate boards and the retention of women within the legal profession. Barbara looks forward to serving on the LNFB National Executive and furthering its mandate.
Christina is a second year student at University of Ottawa Faculty of Common Law. Before that, she completed a joint degree in Political Science and International Development at McGill. She was born in Winnipeg, but now considers Victoria, BC home and hopes to practice law in BC after law school. She passionate about promoting feminism in all aspect of law - from property law to labour law to environmental law. She got involved last year with Law Needs Feminism Because, and this year is excited about helping to plan the national forum hosted by uOttawa. Christina's all time favourite movie is My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and if she had it her way, she would spend all her free time ocean kayaking.
Fundraising & Stewardship Co-Leads
Carly is a third-year student at the Allard School of Law at UBC. She moved to Vancouver from Hamilton, Ontario two years ago after completing her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice and Public Policy at the University of Guelph. Carly’s feminist work is chiefly informed and motivated by the women and girls she has worked with as a legal advocate for Atira Women’s Resource Society and Justice for Girls. In 2016, Carly represented the British Columbia CEDAW Group at the United Nations in Geneva and served as President of the Allard Law Women’s Caucus. Now, she is working on a publication about university sexual assault policies and steering the new Homeless ID Project in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Carly’s life outside of law looks like a lot of dancing (ballet, contemporary and newly, salsa!), running and skiing. She has also recently learned to play the ukulele! Carly looks forward to using her enthusiasm and passion to unite law firms, law societies and organizations in support of a better, braver legal future in her role with LNFB.
Rachel, alongside Vanita Sachdeva, Whitney Lewis-Smith and Log Creative Bureau, were the forces behind the first 33 Law Needs Feminism Because portraits back in April 2016. Since then, Rachel has brought copious amounts of energy to Law Needs Feminism Because, and if you ask her, she still is in disbelief about how wildly the initiative has grown since its inception. Currently in her final semester of law school at McGill, Rachel previously completed a Masters in Public Health at Memorial University, where she honed her interest in sexual and reproductive health care in remote and rural communities. She also did her undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa, where she completed an honours in International Studies and Modern Languages. While in law school, Rachel has held placements with organizations such as the Center for Reproductive Rights (New York City), Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (Toronto), the HIV, Health and Development Team at the UNDP (Istanbul Regional Hub) and the World Anti-Doping Agency. When not working on LNFB, Rachel has also spearheaded DALA, a student group that explores alternative legal careers, having recently launched an alternative legal career guide with her DALA partner-in-crime, Victoria Woo. She also writes about housing, environment and health with the Institute for Health and Social Policy. As for things that tickle her fancy, she gets really excited about thrifty vintage finds and stores dedicated entirely to buttons. She will also be equally elated if you bring her a coffee with a dapple of honey.
Anja-Sara is currently a second-year law student at Université de Montréal. Following her DEC in social sciences and humanities, she was first in a joint program combining civil law and international development at the University of Ottawa, prior to her transfer to Université de Montréal. After taking part in LNFB national photo campaign during her first year in law, she is now joining the National Executive as a Communications Co-Lead. Previously, she was a contributor to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s blog, where she researched and published articles related to Human rights violations under European law. Right now, she is involved with the French section of Amnesty International Canada, as a redactor for their quarterly journal. Also, as a Pro Bono student, she volunteers in a legal clinic for an organization that promotes greater gender equality in the labor market by providing support for socioeconomically disadvantaged women. Born in Montreal but originally from Madagascar (Surprise! It isn’t just a movie…), she is very proud of her mixed cultural identity and she is especially sensitive to the place occupied by minorities in the feminist cause. The fields of international human rights law and international criminal law are the ones that appeal to her the most in regard to her future career.
Desirée did such a fantastic job co-organizing the photoshoot at the University of New Brunswick last year with Natalie Feltrin, and we cannot be happier that she is stepping into the role of Communications Co-Lead this year. Originally from the Algoma region of Northwestern Ontario, Desirée completed her undergraduate degree in law with a minor in psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, ON. Between graduation and beginning law school, she worked on her home reserve of Pic Mobert First Nation at the elementary school as an education assistant. Just prior to law school, she attended the University of Saskatchewan for a two-month intensive pre-law program, the Program of Legal Studies for Native People. She is currently in her third and final year at the University of New Brunswick’s faculty of law. She serves at UNB’s Law Students’ Society Vice President, the Chair of the Aboriginal Law Society, and Executive member of the Women and the Law Society. Additionally, she volunteers for the Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre through UNB Law’s chapter of Pro Bono Students Canada. Desirée looks forward to taking on this new role and continuing to build a successful and innovative brand.
Anastasia is a first year doctoral student at University of Ottawa. In her research, she focuses on freedom of expression issues in cyberspace (through an intersectional feminist lens, obviously.) After finishing her stint as Internal Affairs Vice-President for the McGill Graduate Student Association, she found that working solely on her master’s thesis to be incredibly boring, thus she joined the McGill LNFB team just in time for the first National Forum. She completed her bachelor’s degree in law at Université de Montréal, is a member of the Quebec bar and has a graduate diploma in journalism. She is super excited to be joining the National Executive as Research Co-Lead, because the ivory tower is boring and useless. As a researcher, knowledge accessibility is her top priority. Anastasia enjoys snow (sue me), recipes that can be made in one bowl, not following said recipes, and getting into arguments in Instagram comments. Ironically, she hates getting her picture taken.
After leading the LNFB National Forum last year, Jo is excited to now take on the position of Research Co-Lead with Anastasia. Research is Jo’s bread and butter; she is a Doctoral Candidate (DCL) in her third year at McGill University and the proud holder of the prestigious Vanier scholarship. Her research focuses on understanding the administrative state through the lens of trusts and fiduciary law under the supervision of Prof. Evan Fox-Decent. Whilst at McGill, Jo was a research assistant for Prof. Angela Campbell, working on the prevalence of sexual assault and policy solutions in universities. As the Research Co-Lead, Jo is looking forward to continuing to use her research skills to further feminist causes within law. Jo is an English rose, who before making the move to Montreal completed her undergraduate degree in Law at Oxford University and then her LLM at Cambridge University, the town in which she grew up. Outside of LNFB, Jo enjoys acting, writing poetry, karaoke, and cuddling her cat, Mr. Bingley.
outreach & development co-leads
KATIA-MARIA MEDINA AVELAR
Katia-Maria was born in Montreal but her parents are both from El Salvador. She is currently in her second year of law at the University of Montreal, where she is on the Lawyers Without Borders Committee. Before starting her legal studies, she received a bachelor's degree in International studies (International law specialty) at the same university. She is fluent in 4 languages: Spanish, French, English and German. As a matter of fact, she studied one year in Germany and six months in Sweden. However, 4 wasn’t enough for Katia-Maria, as she is currently seeking to perfect her Italian and learn Mandarin. Katia interned at the YMCA’s of Québec at the Global initiatives department. She helped organize part of « Les journées québécoises de solidarité internationale » in 2016. She has also worked for the city of Montreal in the social development, cultural and activity sector, which allowed her to interact with many local organizations and develop professional relationships. Since she has been doing this for many years now, she feels ready to take on the role of Outreach and Content Development Co-Lead. Katia-Maria brings an open-mind and strong passion for human rights to the initiative, and really believes that feminism and law go hand in hand. She enjoys attending conferences on the subject and loves to participate in the LNFB events at the University of Montreal organize year around. During her free time, Katia enjoys playing soccer and reading German literature while cooking!
Karine Bédard is a third-year law student at McGill University. She graduated in 2013 from Concordia University with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology & Sociology and a Minor in Inter-Disciplinary Studies in Sexuality. During these studies, Karine grew an interest in community-centered advocacy. After acquiring her Bachelor’s degree, she worked at an immigration law firm for several years, which fostered her interest in legal advocacy. Karine has since been involved in social justice work by volunteering or working for various community-oriented legal clinics. Karine has also delved into the academic side of law by being a Head English Editor for the Contours Journal last year, and an associate editor for the McGill Law Journal this year. Her legal advocacy talents were recognized in the Start Proud/OOBS Moot competition, where her team finished in first place. Finally, Karine will continue to volunteer for #LawNeedsFeminismBecause as one of the National Co-Leads, shifting gears from the recruitment of legal professionals for the national forum to Outreach & Development.
national forum co-leads
Zaynab is a 3L Common Law student at the University of Ottawa. She graduated from McMaster University with a double degree in Social Work and Political Science. Although a dedicated Hamiltonian, she's been in and out of Ottawa and Hamilton for a number of years, and now calls Ottawa home. Zaynab is interested in the areas of criminal, immigration and refugee, and constitutional law. She is also incredibly interested in technology and how it can be used in the legal field to facilitate greater access to justice for marginalized communities--hence the theme for this year's forum! In her spare time, Zaynab enjoys cooking (her informal cooking show on snapchat/insta stories called #hangrylawstudentdiaries documents all her trials and tribulations in the kitchen), reading books, and supporting local businesses and coffee shops. When she's not drowning in school, she'll also seize any opportunity to travel.
Stephanie Tadeo is the newest addition to our National Executive, coming in as Co-Lead on Forum Planning. She is a third year English common law student at the University of Ottawa; but before that, she graduated from both Western University and York University with a Bachelors degree in Political Science and a Masters degree in Social and Political Thought, respectively. From undergrad to now, she has been driven by a desire to challenge systems of oppression and power, and bring marginalized perspectives to the centre, where they belong. As such, Stephanie hopes to practice in the areas of criminal, immigration and refugee and labour law with her open practice in the near future. On top of that, she hopes to practice law in a way that is transformative: by not only prioritizing the eradication of access to justice barriers, but also recognizing that all human beings have agency, and therefore are capable of important social and political engagement. In her spare time, Stephanie is a Harry Potter connoisseur and enjoys indulging over and over again in all things Harry Potter. She is also a big dog-lover, and on some days when school gets rough, she wishes “official dog petter” was a real job. Currently, she fosters rescue dogs in Ottawa and helps them find their ‘furever’ homes.
education, advocacy & awareness co-leads
We are so thrilled that Ava is going to continue working with us this year. After spearheading the LNFB photo shoot last year at Western, she'll now be stepping into the role of Co-Lead of the Education, Awareness and Advocacy Committee. Ava is a third year student at Western Law in London, Ontario and completed her undergraduate degree in political science at Western, and a post-graduate certificate in Public Relations from Humber College. She is on the executive of Gender and the Law Association (GALA), and has an interest in how the law intersects with gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation and religion. Ava was featured in the Globe and Mail’s Unfounded series earlier this year, and is a plaintiff in a lawsuit alleging systemic discrimination by the London Police Services against sexual violence survivors. In her spare time, Ava loves to pole dance, attend concerts and art shows, and cook.
Romita Sur is in her third year at McGill Faculty of Law. She has been part of #LNFB since its beginnings and is excited to take on the position this year as Education, Advocacy, and Awareness Co-Lead. Romita previously completed a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Bachelor of Social Work at McMaster University where her focus was on international relations, violence against women and children, and rights of the marginalized. While in law school, Romita has been a research assistant for Professor Colleen Sheppard where she worked on the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal case around Aboriginal Child Welfare and she recently did an internship with the Canadian Centre for International Justice in Ottawa, Ontario. Romita currently interns at the legal clinic: Centre for Research Action on Race Relations. Outside of her role with LNFB, Romita manages Contours: Voices of Women in Law Journal. She has been the Co-President of the Women of Colour Collective of McGill Law and the VP-External of the McGill Law Students Association. Her interests lie in empowerment of women and minorities, constitutional law, intellectual property, business, and human rights. In her spare time, Romita loves to cook, dance, travel, and collect plants.
We are so excited that Souhila Baba will continue contributing her rad behind-the-scenes tech skills to LNFB this year in her new role as Website Manager. Souhila is a second-year student at McGill's Faculty of Law. She holds a Bachelors of Sciences in Psychology with a minor in Political Science from Concordia University. She also has a background in finance and real estate from previous work experience. She is involved with the McGill Journal of Law and Health as a Senior Web Editor, the Women of Color Collective as their Vice-President External and Website Manager, and to the McGill Business Law Association as their Vice-President of Finance. Since joining the Faculty, she has been able to expand her interests in policy, health, science and the law, and the important contributions women make to these fields and their intersections. An ardent believer in education for girls and sharing of knowledge, she hopes to continue her studies at a graduate level and someday see better representation of women of colour in academia. Although she calls Montreal home, she was born in Algeria, where she returns every time she misses the sun (and her family of course!).
Alyssa is a 2L at the University of Western Ontario, currently heading towards a career in criminal law. Before trekking out to the snow globe that is London, Ontario, Alyssa completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees in English Literature at the University of Guelph. She wrote her thesis on female self-representation in comedic writing, which means she got to read funny memoirs by cool women and call it “academia.” Outside of #LNFB, Alyssa likes a good bagel and schmear, a funny podcast (especially Lovett or Leave It and My Favorite Murder), a nice long Netflix binge (currently re-binging The Good Wife), and her cat, Ruth (named after the Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg; peep her Insta at @notoriousrbgthekitten).
Aliah is a fourth year law student, born and raised in Toronto before moving to Montreal to study at McGill. She has a long history of commitment to women’s issues, and has engaged with multiple perspectives and identities in her research, organizing and community work. She also works in communication and publishing as the editor of an independent magazine called Peeps, which shares the research of social scientists with a popular audience. Storytelling and counter-narratives are her passion, and she looks forward to devoting her career to sharing alternative perspectives and defending vulnerable peoples.
Kelli is a second-year law student at Queen's Univesity. Born and raised in Winnipeg, she completed her Bachelor of Arts in Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Regina before moving to Ontario. Through academic and community work, she has developed interests in a wide range of issues, including racialized and gendered violence, human rights, and the current global migration crisis. Throughout her undergraduate degree, she had the opportunity to engage in diverse feminist community work (both in her local community and internationally) which helped her see law as an important tool for advocacy and activism. We are excited to have her continue this work with LNFB as a Constitutional Drafting Lead!