Stories in About

11th May 2017

One of our student ambassadors from the University of Oxford, Wenyi Gaia Shen, discusses the current gender gap in university applications, with 100,000 more women applying to university than men. However, if we look more closely, the gender divide is reflected in the choice of subject, with maths and computer science being heavily male-dominated. __________________ […]

21st March 2017

As one of the Inspirational Women in Law Award finalists, Georgina Wolfe submitted a short essay on ‘How can Women Shape the Future of the Legal Industry?’. She tells the story of her own experiences in the world of law, in particular at the Bar, and how women bring unique experiences and skills to the […]

1st December 2016

The First 100 Years Champions have been selected for their committment to furthering equality in Law and beyond. This week, two champions have been featured in the national media to advance the causes of diversity and equality in the profession. Barry Matthews has been a champion for diversity in Law throughout his career. He currently […]

29th November 2016

We are delighted to announce the winner and finalists of the First 100 Years’ Inspirational Women in Law Award. From the huge number of nominations we received from all over the legal industry, the First 100 Years team and our brilliant panel of judges were able to narrow the competition down to five finalists, from […]

17th November 2016

On November 9th 2016, Spark 21 and the First 100 Years project held their second annual conference to promote gender equality and diversity in the legal profession. They day was a great success, with 150 delegates from all over the country (and beyond!), and raised nearly £3,000 for the project – thanks to the generous […]

7th November 2016

As we look forward to the Annual Spark 21 Conference on 9 November 2016 at Simmons & Simmons LLP, the First 100 Years Project will be publishing excerpts of speeches from the 2015 Spark21 Conference every Monday, leading up to this year’s conference. Please visit the website for more information on how to attend. Keynote […]

31st October 2016

As we look forward to the Annual Spark 21 Conference on 9 November 2016 at Simmons & Simmons LLP, the First 100 Years Project will be publishing excerpts of speeches from the 2015 Spark21 Conference every Monday, leading up to this year’s conference. Please visit the website for more information on how to attend. The […]

24th October 2016

As we look forward to the Annual Spark 21 Conference on 9 November 2016 at Simmons & Simmons LLP, the First 100 Years Project will be publishing excerpts of speeches from the 2015 Spark21 Conference every Monday, leading up to this year’s conference. Please visit the website for more information on how to attend. The […]

17th October 2016

As we look forward to the Annual Spark 21 Conference on 9 November 2016 at Simmons & Simmons LLP, the First 100 Years Project will be publishing excerpts of speeches from the 2015 Spark21 Conference every Monday, leading up to this year’s conference. Please visit the website for more information on how to attend. In […]

10th October 2016

As we look forward to the Annual Spark 21 Conference on 9 November 2016 at Simmons & Simmons LLP, the First 100 Years Project will be publishing excerpts of speeches from the 2015 Spark21 Conference every Monday, leading up to this year’s conference. Please visit the website for more information on how to attend. Panel […]

3rd October 2016

As we look forward to the Annual Spark 21 Conference on 9 November 2016 at Simmons & Simmons LLP, the First 100 Years Project will be publishing excerpts of speeches from the 2015 Spark21 Conference every Monday, leading up to this year’s conference. Please visit the website for more information on how to attend. Panel […]

26th September 2016

As we look forward to the Annual Spark 21 Conference on 9 November 2016 at Simmons & Simmons LLP, the First 100 Years Project will be publishing excerpts of speeches from the 2015 Spark21 Conference every Monday, leading up to this year’s conference. Please visit the website for more information on how to attend. Panel […]

19th September 2016

As we look forward to the Annual Spark 21 Conference on 9 November 2016 at Simmons & Simmons LLP, the First 100 Years Project will be publishing excerpts of speeches from the 2015 Spark21 Conference every Monday, leading up to this year’s conference. Please visit the website for more information on how to attend. Opening […]

16th September 2016

In September 2016, Dana Denis-Smith, founder of the First 100 Years project, introduced the project to employees of a large multinational banking organisation. Her speech at the presentation was titled, Why We Must Not Succumb to “Diversity Fatigue’. The First 100 Years project started with a photograph. I happened to glance it as I browsed […]

10th August 2016

Guest post by Emma Crewe. The elevated social status of peers in the House of Lords might conjure an image of rigid and old-fashioned hierarchy and, more specifically, patriarchy. In contrast, an idealisation of the apparently more modern Commons may create assumptions of equality and fairness between MPs. I went into Parliament with these preconceptions […]

11th July 2016

On the recent donation of one of our #ontheroll artefacts, it was suggested by a librarian that First 100 Years look into the innovative and important work done by female legal librarians over the past century. This is a field that is very un-worked, and we welcome any contributions from legal librarians on your work […]

8th July 2016

Tensions over labour relations and frustration that social change was stagnating caused a backdrop of restlessness to this decade. The First World War shook the British nation to its core and led to unprecedented changes in political, legislative, and cultural structures. This was the epoch that saw the sinking of the unsinkable Titanic in 1915, […]

7th July 2016

Before women were permitted, from 1920 onwards, to serve on the grand and trial juries which were responsible for the final determination of a person’s guilt or liability, they had occasionally been empanelled on “juries of matrons”. The most common reason for such a jury to be put together was if, on being convicted of […]

6th July 2016

This piece gives a snapshot of the state of affairs in legal academia for women, what challenges are faced by female students of law, and what the consequences of these issues are for the legal profession. In 2014 over 50 senior Cambridge academics called on the university to change its staff appointment procedure because the […]

4th July 2016

On this day, 4th July, 240 years ago, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, establishing that 13 American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation. The Declaration came at the end of bloody revolutionary wars in America. The economic and political pressures associated with wartime resulted in the roles of women undergoing significant […]

1st July 2016

A tradition of strike action in the twentieth century resulted in legislative changes that shaped workers’ rights in Britain. This article briefly examines two successful strikes in Britain, 80 years apart, which were led by women. These two examples readjust the historical lens that traditionally sees change as initiated by men, instead drawing attention to […]

27th June 2016

The first female jurors sat at the Bristol Quarter Sessions in 1920. These women were the first to step into a traditionally male role in the justice system. But there was in fact already a specifically female role in English common law, though it had become obsolete by the twentieth century, if not before. The […]

22nd June 2016

The First 100 Years project celebrates the right to enter the legal profession afforded by the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act in 1919. The year before, women were politically enfranchised by the Right to Vote. But how did the law in the twentieth century continue to influence how women spent their money? Money is one of […]

20th June 2016

Postcards provide an entertaining insight into popular imagination. Used by ‘ordinary’ people, as well as the ‘great men’ of history, the well-known images used on postcards reveal what appealed to contemporary tastes or interests. A flurry of propagandistic postcards circulating in the early twentieth century demonstrate what anxieties and hopes were also in circulation on […]

13th June 2016

Due to her position as constitutional monarch, the Queen is more a woman above the law than a woman in law. Due to this position, Her Majesty has a unique relationship with the UK legal system, a relationship that can provoke both interest and criticism. This weekend the nation will celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday, […]

1st June 2016

Amelia Bloomer, American women’s rights advocate, gave her name to the emancipatory bloomer style of clothing because of her prestige as a spokesperson for women. Her newspaper, The Lily, promoted a change in dress standards, arguing that ‘the costume of women’ should be ‘suited to her necessities’. in 1851, Elizabeth Smith Miller, of New England, […]

1st June 2016

Interesting article by Rashmi Chopra on the Hanne & Co website. Introduction The recent campaign conducted by Ms Thorp, a receptionist at Price Waterhouse & Cooper (PwC), concerning the compulsory wearing of high heels at work raises issues concerning dress codes at work. Ms Thorp was sent home by her supervisor for not wearing high […]

25th May 2016

‘A person shall not be disqualified by sex or marriage from the exercise of any public function, or from being appointed to or holding any civil or judicial post, or from entering or assuming or carrying on any civil profession or vocation.’ (Beginning of the Sexual Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919) In her 1938 essay ‘Three […]

6th May 2016

It is fairly well known that the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 abolished the previous bar on women serving as lawyers, judges or magistrates. What is less well known is that the 1919 Act also removed other bars to women’s formal inclusion in public life. It opened up much of the civil service to women, […]

22nd October 2015

Dr Mari Takayanagi writes for the First 100 Years project about some links between the women's suffrage movement and the campaign by women to enter the legal profession.

25th September 2015

Women who want to re-enter the world of work after having children are struggling, and business needs to do something about it

10th September 2015

A guest post by First 100 Years Champion Mari Takayanagi Photo credit: Original Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919, Parliamentary Archives, HL/PO/PU/1/1919/9&10G5c71 Dr Mari Takayanagi writes for the First 100 Years project about the passage of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919. The First 100 Years project is celebrating the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) […]

2nd June 2015

A guest post written by Matthew Holmes. The call to the Irish bar on the 1st of November 1921 was a historic one. It was the first call to the bar since the Irish Judiciary had been divided following our independence from England, it was also the first call to the bar anywhere in the […]

12th March 2015

Grand portraits hang in the halls of our profession’s historic buildings – from the Law Society to the Inns of Court – and coherently chart the history of men in the legal profession over hundreds of years. They tell of imposing, confident, impressive individuals that have been some of the country’s leading names in law. […]

2nd July 2014

In their quest to open up the professions to women, the earliest pioneers found themselves up against a barrier of seemingly insurmountable stature: the ideological denial of a woman’s access to education.

30th June 2014

To change the future, first celebrate the past Dana Denis-Smith talks about what inspired the First 100 Years Project: A wonderful group image captured my imagination in 2013 – it was a photograph of the partners of city law firm Herbert Smith (now Herbert Smith Freehills) dating from 1982, marking the firm’s centenary at Grocer’s […]

25th June 2014

This article is about the recognition of the First 100 Year Project, some information about Obelisk Support, the progress made so far with getting women into law, and Dana’s thoughts regarding this.