Happy International Women’s Day! – Joanne Henderson

8th March 2021

Happy International Women’s Day! – Joanne Henderson

I spent my lunch break taking part in a virtual International Women’s Day Dance Workshop full of powerful tracks by strong women and I return to my desk for the afternoon feeling suitably strong and powerful as a result – partly from the dancing but mostly from the message of solidarity.

Each year when International Women’s Day rolls around it feels more poignant to me and resonates with me more than it did the year before. I suspect this is an age thing. Each year a little less naïve and, unfortunately, more experienced in the inequalities that women deal with every day.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “Choose to Challenge”. Something women throughout history have chosen to do, in far more dangerous times and places, so that I may enjoy the relative equality that I do today. But there is far more work to be done! Just consider the fact that, as the fantastic female running aforementioned dance workshop put it, the lyrics of “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” are just as relevant today as they were when that song came out in the 80’s.

The “Choose to Challenge” theme is calling on everyone to take action for equality in order to help forge a gender-equal world by calling out inequality whenever they see it. By speaking up when we see inequality in action we can help build a world where the women and girls of the future no longer have to battle for equality, but can simply enjoy it.

There are certain careers that women enter into knowing that they are going to have an uphill battle to be as respected and acknowledged as their male counterparts, and it is an inescapable fact that ‘Solicitor’ is one of those careers. If you need evidence, consider the fact that in 2017 women made up 50% of all law students, but today only 38% of lawyers are women.

However, we must not forget to celebrate the victories of the past. It has been over 100 years since the legislation was passed to enable women to enter into the legal profession, which paved the way for me to be where I am today.

Thankfully, where I am today, is completing my training to be a solicitor at a firm that values equality and celebrates the achievements of all staff equally.  The people I have worked with have bolstered my confidence and worked hard to give me brilliant opportunities and experience, which will ensure that I have all the skills to negotiate any inequality I may face as a female solicitor as I progress through my career.

One of the many reasons I will “Choose to Challenge” is the hope that one day, the positive experience of beginning a career in law that I have had at Gotelee, will be norm for all young female lawyers.

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