Lady barristers? Minister orders signs changed at Vernon courthouse - InfoNews

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Lady barristers? Minister orders signs changed at Vernon courthouse

Barrister Kyla Lee was disturbed to find the 'Lady lawyers' room at the Vernon courthouse small and windowless.
Image Credit: TWITTER:Kyla Lee
April 28, 2019 - 12:00 PM

VERNON - Signage at Vernon's courthouse is set to move in the 21st century following a tweet by a Vancouver lawyer.

Visiting lawyer Kyla Lee was disturbed to find separately signed male and female barristers rooms at a recent visit to the courthouse. The Vancouver-based lawyer tweeted about her experience and her tweets, sent out on Easter Sunday, managed to find their way to B.C. Attorney General David Eby.

A spokesperson for the Minister told iNFOnews.ca in an email that staff had looked into the issue and corrected the signage to be gender neutral.

"Staff will also make sure that all other courthouses are appropriately signed," says the statement from Eby.

The change is a small victory for Lee who said she didn't expect anything to come from what she called her Twitter "rant."

Lee said when she arrived at the Vernon courthouse she was surprised to find a tiny windowless room labelled "lady barristers," while the male barrister's had a far superior space upstairs.

"I'm standing outside the door, [and] it says on the door 'I'm not welcome there,'" Lee said. "I felt angry and confused and insulted and sad."

Lee, well known for her assault on impaired driving laws, said she wasn't aware that the local practice at the Vernon courthouse was for all lawyers to share the barristers' room labelled for men.

Lee said traditionally barristers lounges were separated between genders, as the lounges were used as changing rooms for lawyers to put on their robes. This practice, however, is long gone and if lawyers do need privacy to change, Lee says they a find a place.

"We're all adults... we've navigated high school gym class changing situations," she jokes.

Nowadays she describes the lounges as an "office away from the office."

Lee said women are still underrepresented in the legal profession and signage like that in Vernon adds to the situation.

"It's a constant weight on your shoulders that you're intruding into an area you don't belong," she said. "I'm not asking for anything crazy. I'm just asking for a change in signage so that's it's clear that those spaces are available to lawyers of all genders."

And it's a case she appears to have won.


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