Women Who Woke Up the Law : Inside the cases that changed women's rights in Canada

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Behind every “landmark case” is a woman with a story.

“Who was the woman trying to convince a jury in a tiny courthouse in Nova Scotia that it was self-defense when she killed her partner; and who was the young woman walking into the palais de justice in small-town Quebec arguing that it was her choice, not his, to have an abortion? What was it that pushed these women on, even when the lawyers said it was hopeless?”

From the award-winning author of The Abortion Caravan and More Than a Footnote, Karin Wells once again pulls us into the lives and—this time, the legal trials—of a group of women integral to the advancement of women’s rights in Canada. Eliza Campbell, Chantale Daigle, Jeannette Corbiere Lavell—these Women Who Woke Up the Law often had no idea what they were facing in the courts, or the price they would have to pay. Some never saw justice themselves, but they left a legal legacy. Their bold determination is something we need now more than ever to guard the hard-won gains in women’s rights. 

Praise & Recognition


Publication Date: April 8, 2025

Genre: Adult Nonfiction, Biography & Memoir

Product Format: Paperback

Pages: 260

ISBN: 978-1-77260-419-1

Weight: 200

Karin Wells

About the Author

Karin Wells

Karin Wells grew up in BC and now lives in southern Ontario. She is best known as a CBC radio documentary maker and is a three time recipient of the Canadian Association of Journalists documentary award. Her work has been heard on radio networks around the world and has been recognized by the United Nations. Wells worked – briefly – as a line worker in a pea factory, a school teacher, and an actor. She is also a lawyer and in 2011 was inducted into the University of Ottawa’s Common Law Honour Society.

Wells has documented the lives of influential (but often overlooked) Canadian women in her books: The Abortion Caravan: When women shut down government in the battle for the right to choose (finalist for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing and winner of the Ontario Historical Society's Alison Prentice Award), More Than a Footnote: Canadian women you should know and the forthcoming Women Who Woke Up the Law.

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