First 100 Years

Celebrating the past to shape the future for women in law

About the First 100 Years

An ambitious video history project documenting the journey of women in the legal profession, from 1919 to present day

The First 100 Years is a ground-breaking history project, supported by the Law Society and the Bar Council, charting the journey of women in law since 1919. In 2019 the project will mark the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 which paved the way for women to become lawyers for the first time. The First 100 Years project was created by Dana Denis-Smith, CEO of Obelisk Support. Launching the project Dana said: “People don’t know their history — who the first woman solicitor was, for instance. There is no archive like the First 100 Years to help us place ourselves in history.”

Work is now under way to produce a new digital museum made up of 100 video stories that tell the story of women in law. The digital museum will be donated to the British Library in 2019. The project’s legacy will be the creation for the first time of positive role models for women in law, a deep understanding of the past combined with a celebration of today, a cross-sector platform for intelligent debate and change and a valuable archive accessible to everyone from law students to High Court Judges. Our aim is to ensure a strong and equal future for all women in the legal profession.

Follow our Timeline from 1919 to 2019

The First 100 Years project is charting the journey of women in law since 1919. You can follow our timeline to learn more about the key landmarks since Eliza Orme became the first woman in England to get a Law Degree from University College London in 1888. Over the next four years this timeline will be continuously updated and expanded, so please send us your stories, your insights and your facts and figures for us to include on this piece of history. Contact the project

Explore The First 100 Years Timeline

Meet the First 100 Years Team

Sarah MacRae
Harriet Acland
Project Coordinator
Angela Holdsworth
Executive Producer
Dana Denis-Smith
Scott Jones
Kerry Jack
Public Relations
Kate Sheridan-Hayes
Events Operations
Naomi Jones
Laura Clenshaw
Henry Lockett
Web Developer

Meet Our Project Champions

Lucy Scott-Moncrieff
Erika Rackley
Harriet Sassoon
Laura Boyle
Monica Burch
Helen Dodds
Fiona Fleming
Anne Davies
Rosemary Auchmuty
Susan Belgrave
Kevin Crosby
Funke Abimbola
Harini Iyengar
Penny Miller
Nancy Scott
Sandie Okoro
Jessica Swannell
Mari Takayanagi
Elizabeth Cruickshank
Barry Matthews
Ania Rontaler
Aziza El-Shataly
Leonora Saunders
Sophie Bragg
Fatema Orjela
Steve Rudaini
Catherine Calder
Peter Crisp
Nicola Sawford

Latest News

20th June 2016
On Tuesday 7th June 2016 Dana Denis-Smith, project founder, and Baroness Butler-Sloss, first woman on the Court of Appeal, featured on BBC Radio 4. In discussion with Joshua Rozenberg, presenter of the Law In Action feature, they discussed the work and aims of the project, brought to life by the anecdotes and stories of...
20th June 2016
On 16th June we welcomed a large cohort of guests to the Supreme Court, for a fantastic evening in a historical and beautiful setting. We were delighted to see many of our project champions there, and to have the opportunity to spread the message of what First 100 Years is doing and achieving. Several guided [&hellip...
14th October 2015
Dana Denis-Smith is a former solicitor and international journalist who founded Obelisk Support, a unique and innovative global outsourcing business built around home-based, highly-skilled professionals with almost 1000 ex-City lawyers on their books (mainly experienced and talented mothers). She founded the First 100 years project to celebrate the journey of women in...
16th April 2015
Dana Denis-Smith, founder of the First 100 Years ( and founder and CEO of Obelisk Support. If you have not read the case ofBebb v Law Society (1914), I strongly urge you to do so. To an extent, the case should be made compulsory reading for all those entering the legal profession...
More news

Contact Us

We want to hear from everyone, men and women, who would like to support the project or share their stories and archive material.


Sign Up for our Newsletter