When Miss Ivy Williams addressed the benchers of the Inner Temple on the evening of 10th May 1922, she reportedly spoke of the honour they had bestowed upon her and of the women who would follow her into the law. She asked that every help and encouragement be given to them in the difficulties they would have to face. Ivy Williams was the first woman to be called to the Bar and, although she never practised as a lawyer, she and the other women who became barristers that day opened the door for more women to do so and for the potential of women in the legal profession to be recognised.
That same year, four women passed the Law Society exams and it was Miss Carrie Morrison who was the first female to be admitted as a solicitor. Now, nearly a century later, women account for over half of the admissions to the profession.
Many exceptional women have followed Ivy Williams and Carrie Morrison in to the law, and a number have made it to the very top of the profession. We honour these women today who began to change society's attitudes by striving for equal treatment and opportunity and pioneered the way for future female lawyers.
Of course, as in other sections of society, there is still a long way to go. The World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report estimates that, at the current rate of progress, gender parity across the world is over 200 years away. The theme for International Women’s Day 2018 is therefore to keep motivated and to #PressforProgress.
And while gender parity will not be achieved overnight, the good news is that across the world women are making positive gains every day. For our part, Fiona Bruce LLP is committed to equality and diversity and we are proud that over 60% of our qualified and trainee solicitors are women.
Contact us if you’re in need of any legal advice or assistance.