First 100 Years of Women in Law

A new exhibition at the School of Law celebrates the first 100 years of women in law.

To mark the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919, which removed the bar on women entering the legal profession, the School of Law is hosting a First 100 Years Exhibition.

The exhibition, which was previously at the Supreme Court, charts the journey of women in law since 1919, and is kindly on loan from the First 100 Years Project, a ground-breaking history project, supported by the Law Societythe Bar Council and CILEx. The project aims to celebrate, inform and inspire future generations of women in the profession.

It sets out a series of firsts that women have achieved since 1919, including:

  • The first female solicitor in the UK, Madge Easton Anderson qualified in 1920, whilst in 1922 Helen Normanton became the first female practising barrister in England. But it was not until 1991 Baroness Scotland of Asthal became the first black woman Queens Counsel.
  • The first female county court and then High Court judge was Dame Elizabeth Lane in 1962 and 1965 respectively.
  • In 1988 Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss became the first female Lord Justice of Appeal.
  • Scotland got its first female judge in 2003 – Hazel Aronson.
  • In 2017 Baroness Hale was appointed the first female President of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.

Joan Loughrey, Professor of Law, said: “The exhibition captures how far women have come in the first 100 years and shows that they can and will overcome the challenges that still remain for women’s progression in the legal profession.”

The exhibition runs until 20 February 2019 at the Liberty Building atrium.