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Women will comprise half of all judges and advocates in 7 years time

Women on the Rise in the Courts: A Journey from Exclusion to Equality

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Women on the Rise in the Courts: A Journey from Exclusion to Equality

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BeCivil UK data projects women to constitute 50% of judges and advocates by 2030-2035

In the evolving landscape of the English courts, the changing role of women as judges and advocates becomes evident through historical shifts and legislative milestones. The journey towards gender inclusivity in the legal profession dates back to the early 20th century, marked by the pivotal Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act of 1919.

Before this landmark legislation, women faced barriers in both becoming solicitors and barristers. The 1919 Act dismantled these obstacles, ushering in a new era for women in the legal profession. Carrie Morrison, breaking ground in 1922, became the first woman admitted as a solicitor in England. Simultaneously, Helena Normanton achieved a milestone by becoming the first woman called to the Bar in the same year.

The Act not only opened doors for women but also challenged the pre-existing norms that excluded them from practicing as barristers. Prior to 1919, notable figures like Cornelia Sorabji and Helena Normanton spearheaded efforts to challenge this exclusion.

The enactment of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act was a critical stride towards gender equality in the professional sphere. It aligned with a broader movement triggered by the socio-economic shifts following World War I, where women took on roles traditionally held by men. The Act paved the way for women to enter professions and public offices previously closed to them, marking a watershed moment in the history of women's rights in the UK.

Looking ahead, the BeCivil UK dataset offers a compelling forecast. It predicts that women will comprise half of all judges and advocates between 2030 and 2035, symbolising a significant stride towards gender parity in the legal arena. This projection highlights the transformative impact of legislative changes and societal progress over the past century.

While the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act of 1919 was a ground-breaking milestone, subsequent legislations such as the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 have further strengthened the foundation of gender equality in the professional realm. As we anticipate a future where women play an equal and influential role in the legal system, it is essential to recognize and celebrate the strides made, acknowledging the resilience and determination of those who paved the way for a more inclusive legal landscape.

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