Women in law – The First 100 Years Project
The ever-changing landscape of the legal profession and the impact of the pandemic over the past two years have shown just how resilient law firms and their employees are. During these unprecedented times, we have seen more reliance on digital platforms than ever before, and now more than ever, law firms are finding it increasingly important to stay innovative and resourceful.
An inspiration that has grown through this period has been The First 100 Years project. Founded in 2019 by Dana Denis-Smith, CEO of Obelisk Support, this remarkable project highlights the history of women working in law from as early as 1859. 2019 marked 100 years since the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 was passed giving women the opportunity to become lawyers in the UK. Dana pioneered the project to produce a digital museum made up of 100 video biographies, each sharing the stories of women in law.
The project has also been supported by Spark 21, a charity that aims to empower women in the legal profession. The digital museum features videos from Baroness Hale of Richmond, Dame Alison Saunders, Anna Midgley, Dame Bobbi Cheema-Grubb, and Dame Linda Dobbs to name a few. What is wonderful about this project, is that the vast conversations and biographies serve to not only encourage women but also men working in law.
In unravelling the stories of women from an array of backgrounds, the project has given us an insight into the different avenues which have led to women achieving successful legal careers. Learning about these women and the timeline of events that went before us helps us to appreciate how far the legal profession has come and highlighting past achievements through these stories helps us to recognise the importance of diversity.
The celebration of women in law, from all backgrounds, is more than just a requirement it’s a necessity to ensure a strong and equal future for all. Understanding stories from the past and learning from the successes and failures in the legal profession over the years will help us to learn and grow towards a more positive future together. In a profession historically dominated by men, The First 100 Years project presents realistic prospects for women in law today and has evolved to The Next 100 Years. The legacy of both will be a deep understanding of the past combined with a celebration of today so as to ensure a strong, and equal, future for all women in the profession.
If you are interested in sharing your story, viewing the video biographies, or listening to the podcast, visit The First 100 Years here.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.