LILA was delighted to host a discussion on the barriers faced by women in the legal profession and the ways that these could be reduced and removed. The event, held in partnership with the Embassy of Ireland, was hosted at the Embassy by Mr Adrian O'Neill, Ambassador of Ireland on 25th January 2018.
The distinguished panel featured Hon Mrs Justice Maura McGowan (judge of the High Court of Justice), Senator Ivana Bacik (Reid Professor of Criminal Law and Fellow of Trinity College Dublin and member of the Seanad), Angela Rafferty QC (Chair of the Criminal Bar Association) and Siobhan Moriarty (General Counsel, Diageo).
All in attendance enjoyed the thought-provoking and inspiring debate, considering the present and future role of women in the legal profession, as well as concerns about diversity more generally. The discussion also considered the responsibility of women in the profession to champion diversity and to assist others in overcoming the barriers to progression that remain for women and other minority groups in the legal world.
The Panel and LILA Chair Gráinne Mellon with Irish Ambassador Mr Adrian O'Neill
The discussion was chaired by LILA Chair Gráinne Mellon. Panelists acknowledged the historic contributions made by many women to the fight for female representation in public discourse. The stories were particularly poignant given the current celebration of the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which afforded some women the right to vote. Next year will be the hundredth anniversary of the 1919 the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, which allowed women to enter the legal professional.
Senator Ivana Bacik speaks about her experiences as a member of the legal profession in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and her research on gender inequality in the legal profession.
The LILA Executive Committee would like to once again extend its thanks to the panelists. We hope all members enjoyed the night as much as we did!