International Women’s Day – #BalanceforBetter

This Friday, 8 March, is International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first​ ​IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to this, the UK’s Suffragists and Suffragettes were one of many groups campaigning for women’s equality.
This year’s theme is #BalanceforBetter and the campaign is focused on recognising that gender balance is not just a women’s issue, it’s for all of society.
While the legal profession is making progress in terms of achieving gender parity, there remains a lot of work to be done.
Last year, I was honoured to be named as Solicitor of the Year at the Inspirational Women in Law Awards 2018.
The Inspirational Women in Law Awards are run by First 100 Years, a ground-breaking project, supported by the Law Society and the Bar Council, charting the journey of women in law since 1919. This year, the project marks the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 which paved the way for women to become lawyers for the first time.
Despite the progress we are making, a number of research studies have found that there is still a marked confidence gap between men and women – and this is something the legal profession needs to address.
Personally, I believe that recognising the impact female role models can have is critical to the advancement of women in law.
For example, at Hilary Meredith Solicitors, we appointed an all-female board a few years ago. We were the first UK top 200 law firm to do so and it is no coincidence that our board today remains equally diverse (although always appointed on merit).
Throughout the legal profession, there are now positive female role models everywhere. Law Society President, Christina Blacklaws (the 174th president of the Law Society of England and Wales but just the 5th women to hold this office) has said she wants to make 2019 the Year of Women in the Law while the new President of the Manchester Law Society, Michelle Garlick, is equally committed to shaping the future.
As we mark International Women’s Day 2019, let’s celebrate the inspirational women who are making gender parity a reality.