At the end of 2022, England and Wales celebrated the centenary of the first qualified women solicitors entering the profession. This International Women’s Day, we look back on some of the key developments in these first 100 years in our jurisdiction and also within Haynes Boone.
1920s: The Firsts
- On 18 December 1922, Carrie Morrison, Maud Crofts, Mary Pickup and Mary Sykes led the way for us by becoming the first women to pass the Law Society examinations and be admitted to practice as solicitors.
- This important year also saw the first women to be called to the English Bar: Helena Normanton, who became the first woman to practice as a barrister in England and Ivy Williams (who never practiced).
The passing of the Sex Qualification (Removal) Act in 1919 enabled women to join the Civil Service and the judiciary, which they previously were prevented from, by virtue of them being women or married. Women were not even classified as "persons" under the Solicitors Act 1843! The 1919 Act was short but had profound effects on the abilities of women to participate fully in society.