Rising to the Top
The 1980s were characterised by the premiership of Margaret Thatcher as the UK’s first woman Prime Minister. It was one which saw the Falkland’s War in 1982, prolonged and bitter trade union strikes, the right to buy policy on state home ownership, the privatization of nationalised industries and the deregulation of the financial markets. It was also a decade where other women started to be visible in leadership in the public arena. For example, in the 1980’s Baroness Janet Young was the first woman leader in the House of Lords, and Mary Donaldson was elected the first woman Lord Mayor of London.
In the legal sector a few women were achieving senior positions in law firms and great visibility as leaders. But there was little progress for women at the Bar.
was a litigation investigations lawyer at Linklaters LLP for 30 years. Diana was also a part-time judge sitting in the criminal courts for 11 years. She chose to retire from Linklaters as a senior partner in 2008, in order to work in international development with a focus of governance and access to both justice and education. She was a founder commissioner with the UK Aid watchdog – the independent commission for aid impact and is now a specialist advisor to the International Development Committee in the House of Commons. She has also worked in access to justice and education in London as the Chair of the Mary Ward Settlement.
has 37 years’ experience working in financial and banking law, EU and competition law. She was a partner at Herbert Smith from 1980 – 2008, a founder of the firm’s finance division and its competition regulatory and trade department. And is now a consultant and lead of Herbert Smith Freehills Brexit focus group, and Chairman of the Financial Law Committee of the City of London Law Society. It was her photograph, as the lone woman partner in a group photograph in 1982 that was an inspiration for the First 100 Years project.
is Professor in Law at University of Kent. Erika’s research covers law, gender and feminism with a focus on judicial diversity, the nature of judging and feminist legal history. As well as her own published works, she has co-led large collaborative projects such as the Feminist Judgement’s Project and the Woman’s Legal Landmarks Project, published earlier this year in 2019.