The Canadian Association of Muslim Women in Law (CAMWL) was founded in the summer of 2013 by a small group of people who were connected by their identification as Muslim women and their practice and/or study of the law. We came together to create a space where we could collectively work on legal issues involving justice, equity, and diversity.
CAMWL’s mandate is twofold:
- advance the legal rights and interests of Muslim women and other marginalized and equity-seeking groups in Canada, including through education and direct advocacy;
- and promote mentorship and camaraderie to Muslim women engaged in the practice or study of the law.
As a result, our diverse membership is united by a holistic commitment to social justice. Our work is rooted in a recognition of the specificity and the intersectionality of the issues faced by Muslim women. We are committed to exploring innovative and multi-pronged strategies to achieving impactful legal advocacy. We aim to connect our insights and experiences with those of other marginalized and equity-seeking groups in Canada, and to advocate for and in the interests of all marginalized communities.
CAMWL has an especially strong interest in access to justice for women, especially those who live in poverty, have precarious immigration or employment status, and/or face other legal problems arising out of systemic structural barriers.
Our work has included partnering with the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) on their proposed intervention in Ishaq v Canada; partnership with the Law in Action Within Schools Program (LAWS) to hold workshops in high schools; hosting community events and conferences on current legal issues; publishing legal primers and press releases, developing referral lists for under-served areas of poverty law, and actively engages with the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) on equity-related issues within the legal profession.
In their headline article on us, Law Times reported:
For an association with such a specific membership — Canadian Muslim women lawyers — it has had a lot on its plate. The association’s members help each other with things like job searches and they also do external work that has included making submissions to the Law Society of Upper Canada on issues that are relevant to them and other equity-seeking groups. […]
In addition to breaking barriers to access to justice for individual Muslim women, Toronto lawyer Imtenan Abd-El-Razik says the association is also a vehicle for people to speak for themselves. It’s about “being in a conversation where we’re always the topic but we’re never a part of the conversation,” says Abd-El-Razik.