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A milestone within the Legal Profession – International Women’s Day 2022

 In News

With International Women’s Day upon us, it is important to recognise how far we have come over the past century; with 2022 marking 100 years since the first female Barrister and Solicitor were appointed.

International Women’s Day is a globally recognised event that celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women all over the world. It wasn’t that long ago in 1970 that the Equal Pay Act was passed; this was an important step for women’s equality, to receive the right to be paid equally to their male counterparts.

Women’s rights and standing in the legal profession have come a long way over the years, since the first female barrister in England; Helena Normanton, who was called to the bar in 1922. In the same year, Carrie Morrison was the first female to be admitted as a solicitor in England, which was a big turning point for women within the legal profession.

Another remarkable landmark for gender diversity within the legal profession happened in 2009, when Lady Baroness Hale became the first female Justice of the Supreme Court, and more recently in 2017, its first female President of the Supreme Court; the highest court in England.

According to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), women make up 61% of solicitors. However, women are still underrepresented at partner level, with only 34% of women holding partner positions, according to SRA statistics for 2019. Although, according to SRA statistics for 2021,  this is slowly on the increase as the figures have risen to 35%.

Despite these figures still being lower than some would like, we cannot take away the facts, and that fact is: considering 2022 is marking 100 years since the first solicitor and barrister women were first appointed; gender diversity has seen a great improvement, and we should celebrate the milestones we continue to achieve.

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