First 100 Years podcast charts journey of women in law decade by decade

Published 17th January 2019
The First 100 Years, the ground-breaking project charting the journey of women in the legal profession, has launched its first podcast in a series of ten exploring the history and achievements of women in law, decade by decade.

The series features pioneering female lawyers including Baroness Butler-Sloss, Helena Kennedy QC and Dame Janet Gaymer alongside leading historians and academics from institutions such as St Mary’s University, Newcastle University and the Parliamentary Archives.

Released on the 17th of every month each podcast covers a decade, with discussions that take the listener through the 100 years since the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 paved the way for women to become lawyers, up to the present day. They will look at the women who championed the cause of female lawyers, discussing key themes of gender stereotyping, work/ life balance and diversity as well as the historical and social context in which women lawyers worked.

Episode one – ‘A sacred year or a dead letter?’ covering 1919 – 1929 charts the campaign for women to join the legal profession, the court challenge brought against The Law Society by aspiring female lawyers, the women who studied and worked in the law despite being barred from the profession and the passing of the historical Act that allowed women to practice for the first time.

Future episodes will look at the first women to practice the law, at the impact of World War Two on the perception of women’s work and the struggle for progression up the ranks of the judiciary in the 60s and 70s.

The podcast series is presented by Lucinda Acland and supported by Goldman Sachs and Linklaters. Qualified lawyer Lucinda has been a volunteer for First 100 Years since November 2015.

Dana Denis-Smith, founder of The First 100 Years and CEO of Obelisk Support, says: “The achievements of female lawyers over the past century are inspiring. Hearing the stories of those who fought for the right to work in the law and later, the women who fought against discrimination and hostility to rise to the top of the profession, is compelling listening.

“As we celebrate the centenary of the first women being able to practise the law, these discussions shine a light on this proud history. They serve as a reminder to the profession about how far we have come, the legacy of those pioneers and what more needs to be done to tackle inequality.”
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