First 100 Years

Celebrating the past to shape the future for women in law

Tell us your story Donate

Did you know that there are left to the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919?

Managed by SPARK21 and supported by

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. The project is powered by Spark21, a charity founded to celebrate, inform and inspire future generation of women in the profession. 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. Going forward, this website will be archived by the British Library.

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 team: [email protected]

Explore The First 100 Years Timeline

Meet the First 100 Years Team

Angela Holdsworth
Executive Producer
Dana Denis-Smith
Henry Lockett
Web Developer
Kerry Jack
Public Relations
Naomi Jones
Rhiannon Adams
Project Co-ordinator
Sarah MacRae
Scott Jones

Meet Our Project Champions

Ania Rontaler
Anne Davies
Barry Matthews
Catherine Calder
Chantal-Aimée Doerries
David Standish
Dean Lloyd
Diane Burleigh
Elizabeth Cruickshank
Erika Rackley
Fatema Orjela
Fiona Fleming
Funke Abimbola
Harini Iyengar
Harriet Sassoon
Helen Dodds
Henrietta Amodio
Judith Bourne
Katie Broomfield
Kevin Crosby
Laura Boyle
Laura Clenshaw
Leonora Saunders
Lucy Scott-Moncrieff
Mari Takayanagi
Mark Skinner
Monica Burch
Nancy Scott
Nicola Sawford
Nikki Elliot
Penny Miller
Peter Crisp
Rosemary Auchmuty
Sandie Okoro
Sophie Bragg
Steve Rudaini
Susan Belgrave

Latest News

17th November 2016
Palpable expectation on Wednesday at the offices of Simmons & Simmons as the City of London law firm hosted an event at which the lord chancellor was scheduled to speak. Liz Truss was on the agenda at a conference marking the role of women in the legal profession, where she presented the “inspirational women in [&hellip...
15th November 2016
The Spark 21 Conference was featured in Legal Futures. The first ever female Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Liz Truss MP, issued a “call to arms” at the Spark 21 Conference on November 9th 2016 to increase diversity on the bench. You can read the full story at Legal Futures...
15th November 2016
What does a Trump victory mean for female lawyers? Leading women lawyers – speaking at the Spark 21 Conference on November 9th 2016 – have expressed their concerns that Donald Trump’s victory in the race for US president will have a negative impact on the legal profession in this country. Read the full story at...
15th November 2016
The guest of honour at this year’s Spark 21 Conference was the Rt Hon Liz Truss MP. The website has published the full transcript of her address to the audience, where she discusses her plans for diversifying the judicary, and the importance of equal opportunity...
15th November 2016
The Law Society Gazette discusses Liz Truss’ speech at the Spark 21 Conference In her first public appearance since coming under fire for a slow response to press attacks on the Article 50 judges, the Lord Chancellor has reasserted the importance of an independent judiciary. You can read the full story at The Law Society...
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