Today is International Women’s Day and it seems, more than ever before, that there is growing support for gender equality. In the UK this is also the centenary year of (some) women obtaining the vote and for the first time being able to sit in the House of Lords.
Morrisons Solicitors LLP supports gender equality. Not only is this fair but it makes business sense too. Organisations that treat all employees fairly and encourage them to use their full potential will be those that attract and retain the best talent and outperform competitors.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, we are looking at how things have changed for women at our firm (see below) and throughout the day, the employment team are publishing short blogs on some ongoing key issues for businesses and women at work:
1993 to 2018 – 25 years of progress
The face of the legal profession has been going through a period of significant modernisation in the last 25 years. In terms of equality and diversity, the profession has come a long way, and we are proud of the progress made by our firm.
In 1993, the makeup of our Partnership was very different – 100% of the Partners were men.
In January 1995, Stephanie Calthrop-Owen (our current head of the family department) became the firm’s first female Partner. Reflecting back on that time, Steph commented:
“When I joined Morrisons in 1990, I was the only female solicitor. I knew that the career of a female solicitor in a regional practice wasn’t a very well-trodden path, but if I tried hard doors might open. Whilst I didn’t ever feel discriminated against, I did feel that there was a “glass ceiling” that I had to break through. I worked long hours and built relationships over many years, to establish myself and carve out a career path. Every day was a challenge and I loved it. I’m proud of my partners and of the whole firm and I’m particularly proud of how far we’ve come in the numbers and percentage of female solicitors here. Morrisons is almost unrecognisable from the cobwebby old fashioned firm I joined back in 1990.”
The firm has grown significantly since 1993, and with that growth the gender balance of the Partnership, the management team and the firm has a whole has changed dramatically.
- 47% of our Partners are women
- 5 of our 8 departments are headed up by female Partners
- 65% of our legally qualified staff are women
This means that experiences for women in the firm are now quite different to how it was for Stephanie back in 1990.
Jennifer Gray, our most recently newly qualified female solicitor, commented
“I joined Morrisons in 2012 as an administration assistant, before qualifying as a solicitor in September 2017. Without a doubt, I’ve had to work hard and overcome many difficulties in order to reach qualification but I never felt that being female even had the potential to hold me back. Probably thanks to Steph and the other women who have worked hard to dismantle some of the barriers”
At Morrisons we recognise both the progress made, but also the need to continue to make the playing field completely even for everyone, regardless of gender, race, background or sexuality.