Today (March 8) is International Woman’s Day, (IWD) a focal point in the movement towards women’s rights.
This year’s theme is #EachforEqual, which sees a number of missions to help forge a gender equal world.
Carrie Morrison qualified as the first female solicitor in 1922. Now, a century on and after various pieces of legislation giving rights to women, things should have improved significantly for women
However, gender discrimination is still an issue in the workplace. A staggering number of women are entering the profession, yet are still behind men when it comes to career progression.
In private practice 71 per cent of the partners are male, compared to just 29 per cent of female partners. In larger law firms less than 30 per cent of the partners are women, with some firms at the lower end of the scale having 14 per cent of the partnership being female.
Today, as a token of appreciation for some of the women at Watermans, we reveal some of our senior solicitor Heather Tierney’s mottos to live by and the changes she’d like to see in the industry.
What inspired your decision to become a lawyer?
I was always interested in standing up for others. When I was still at school I would start up petitions relating to environmental issues/pupil concerns. I started up my secondary school’s first ever student Council to voice the concerns of the students. I once spoke at the SECC on behalf of a fellow pupil who was also an asylum seeker and I really enjoyed making a different on behalf of someone who needed some support. I have always been passionate about helping others and standing up for what is right.
Are there any aspects of being a female lawyer that you feel passionately about?
We live in a society which is sadly still battling toxic masculinity and I’m keen to smash the patriarchy whenever possible. There are more women in the legal profession than ever before which is a major positive, but we can’t stop there. We need to do more to ensure equal pay and opportunities for women in the legal profession across the board.
Who is your role model and why?
I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had a role model in the legal profession but if I had to choose, it would probably be Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She is only the 2nd woman ever to become a US Supreme Court Justice. Throughout her career she has fought tirelessly to protect the marginalised and to promote equality.
What motto do you live by?
My notary public motto is “semper fidelis” which means always faithful.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
In terms of my legal career, I would say becoming a Law Society accredited specialist in personal injury work was my biggest achievement so far.
Are there any changes you’d like to see in the law industry for females in particular?
I believe there should be more strides forward towards equal pay and opportunities for all women in the legal profession. In particular, there should be a fairer representation of women at the very top of the legal profession.