Spark 21 Conference celebrates 100 years of women lawyers and supports continuing fight for gender equality

updated on 09 November 2018

Spark 21, the charity behind the First 100 Years project that works to celebrate, inform and inspire future generations of women lawyers, brought together leading women from the world of law and beyond at its annual conference on Wednesday.

Joining the eminent solicitors, barristers and other legal practitioners at the event were women physicists, historians, civil servants and firefighters, who shared experiences and examples of best practice from their own professions from which the legal sector could learn.

One panel discussion highlighted the problems inherent with the notion of meritocracy and the “culture of excellence” in many professions, which continues to be used as a defence against criticisms that women are still not being promoted to senior positions in anywhere near the same numbers as men. Far from a “culture of excellence”, the term is actually used to justify a culture which has developed without any input from women and which completely favours the white, male-dominated status quo.

The conference also emphasised that access schemes make a huge difference in terms of increasing diversity, as do the presence of senior women role models and mentors, who provide examples of what is possible to women in the junior stages of their careers.

Find out more by following @First100Years on Twitter and get more takeaways from the conference by searching #SPARK21.