Does it matter that our Premier designate is a Woman?

This weekend the Liberal Party of Ontario elected the first woman who will Premier of Ontario. This woman also happens to be openly Gay.

As I read the news headlines I couldn’t help but think, do either matter? It is 2013: when do we stop labelling people by their gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity?

As a female litigator with twenty years experience I find myself frustrated by people who try to focus on the fact that I’m a woman. I’m a litigator. People hire me because I’m a good lawyer, not because I’m a woman.

Kathleen Wynne was presumably elected becaue the Liberals believe she is most likely to lead them to victory in the next election: not because she is a woman and not because of her sexual orientation.

In our firm we help businesses create workplace policies that comply with non-discrimination legislation and work with management to encourage them to have a workplace free of discrimination.

A discrmination free workplace is not an “option” in Ontario, it is a legal requirement: if your business is not compliant, get to a law firm now.

No business can discriminate, if it does, it is setting itself up for Human Rights Complaints, Ministry of Labour Complaints and lawsuits, all of which are expensive and frustrating for the parties involved.

Perhaps there will be a time when the majority of people will no longer focus on gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation when describing occupations, though I suspect that day is a long way off.

In the mean time, let me answer the title of this Blog: no, it does not matter that our Premier designate is a Woman, a Premier is a Premier, regardless of gender.

Inga B. Andriessen JD