Margaret Jean Gee

Class of 1953

Margaret Jean Gee was the first woman of Chinese descent to be called to the Bar in British Columbia. Born in Vancouver and raised along with her brother Sonny, in the city's Chinatown where her parents ran a bookstore. She enrolled in law school at the University of British Columbia just 3 years after the Law Society lifted restrictions against females of Chinese 'origin' joining the profession. Gee graduated in 1953 and was called to the Bar in 1954. She soon opened her own law office at 510 West Hastings.

Gee was interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1957 and admitted she like being called a "lady lawyer." She shared that she had experienced a few racial incidents at school, in university and still while in private practice. Fortunately she noted there had not been many of these incidents.

Interestingly, being the first female of Chinese ancestry to graduate from law at UBC, and to practice in British Columbia, were not Margaret Gee's only firsts. She was also the first Chinese Canadian female Pilot Officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force Reserves.