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August 10 , 2010

In My Own Name


At the age of 50, lawyer and activist Maureen McTeer takes stock of an incredibly eventful life. In a book that will be inspirational for women of all ages, McTeer shares the struggles and triumphs of a private person living in the public eye.
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Throughout her adult life, Maureen McTeer has played many roles, often simultaneously: lawyer, mother, author, public speaker, activist, parliamentary candidate, scholar, volunteer. Perhaps most visibly, she has been cast as the Political Wife, criticized for years by those who believed that keeping her name when she married Joe Clark was a sign she was not deferential enough to men.

For the first time, In My Own Name tells Maureen McTeer’s story. In a voice that is as entertaining, warm and funny as it is inspiring and insightful, she outlines the struggles and triumphs of what it means to work for justice and for equity, and to be her own woman in an era of extremely mixed messages.

Born and raised in Ottawa, the twenty-year-old Maureen McTeer was already a seasoned political worker when she went to work for a young M.P. from Alberta, Joe Clark. By the time she was 22, they were married. While fulfilling the many duties of a politician’s wife, McTeer also attended law school, and gave birth to her daughter, Catherine, in 1976. The following years would prove to be a time of personal and political highs and lows for the family. Following his sojourn at the pinnacle of Canadian political power, Joe Clark remained a dedicated Cabinet minister and parliamentarian, while McTeer continued to rise to new challenges in her career.

In My Own Name is filled with personal stories that are often moving, and always revelatory. In her own words: “Complacency and self-satisfaction are not options for me in this next half of my life. They never were, and they never will be.”

“I have always been out of step, frowning upon the easy comfort of the status quo. I realize fully that my refusal to conform to society’s narrow definitions labelled me early on as a person of controversy. Even today, this reputation for contrariness lingers. I kept my name when it was unpopular and became a feminist before it was fashionable. I was one of the first wave of women professionals who sought to balance family and work, and refused to choose one over the other.”

From the Hardcover edition.
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