IWD: Women in Criminal Law – we’ve made a start but we’ve a long way to go

Last night saw the launch event of Women in Criminal Law (WiCL), hosted in the beautiful Law Society Hall. The event featured inspirational speeches from eminent women lawyers including the organisation’s patron and current Vice-President of the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal, the Rt Hon. Lady Justice Hallett, the Chair of the Criminal Bar Association,Angela Rafferty and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders.

Next year will be the centenary of women being permitted to join the legal profession and it is clear from the illustrious line up of speakers at the event that women have come a long way in the legal profession in a relatively short time frame. It is evident however, partly demonstrated by the need for such an organisation to be created, that women still have a long way to go to attain equality within the profession at its higher echelons. The statistics show that the UK has the lowest proportion of female judges in the EU and under a quarter of partners in solicitors’ firms are women.

At Kingsley Napley we’re fortunate that women are given centre stage at the highest level and that our next Head of Criminal Litigation is a woman (Louise Hodges – who will take up the post in May), but sadly we’re nowhere near being the norm.

The WiCL’s aim is to provide a voice for the thousands of women who work in the criminal justice sector and to connect and promote women at all levels across the profession.

A very apt and inspirational launch on the lead up to International Women’s Day of an organisation created to encourage women in the criminal justice system to strive for equality and help them break down barriers to success.