Women in Law

International Women’s Day 2019: How the Legal Community will be Celebrating #BalanceforBetter

With less than a week to go until International Women’s Day 2019, we take a look at some of the ways the legal community around the world will be marking the occasion.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter. Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive, and the message being driven home this year is that balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue.

Here in the UK the legal community will be marking an historic year for women in law in the country celebrating 100 years since women were first admitted to the bar. And all around the world law faculties, regional organisations and law societies will be celebrating with film screenings, business breakfasts, panel discussions and many more events featuring women in law that reflect on women’s position in society throughout history to today.

How will you celebrate women’s achievements on Friday March 8th, while calling for a more gender-balanced world? Whatever is happening in your local legal community, we hope you have an uplifting, inspiring and energising experience, knowing that you w we all continue to work towards better balance for a better world.


First 100 Years #womeninlaw Photography EventThe First 100 Years will have a photographer capturing portraits of #womeninlaw – all legal roles, all seniority levels, all firms, chambers, judges, magistrates or legal execs. Come and be photographed on March 8th, 2019 at any time between 10am and 5pm – takes about 5 minutes per portrait to capture a moment in time and you get a digital copy of your photograph that you can re-use professionally.

  • The Law Society of England and Wales, 113 Chancery Ln, London WC2A 1PL
  • The Law Society of Scotland, Atria One, 144 Morrison St, Edinburgh EH3 8EX
  • The Law Society of Northern Ireland, 96 Victoria St, Belfast BT1 3GN
  • Cardiff. Location to be confirmed.
  • Other regional events will be announced on The First 100 Years’ Twitter feed.

March4Women – March 3rd, London

This year’s March4Women in London will be marking 100 years since the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919. While it will be a celebration of that momentous change, there will be recognition that, 100 years later, industrial levels of inflexibility are still present in so many workplaces, hindering women’s progression in law. First 100 Years are supporting the march, with Lady Hale, President of the Supreme Court of England and Wales, making an appearance as a speaker along with a number of celebrity guests at Central Hall Westminster.

The Law Society International Women’s Day Seminar – March 8th, London 

Led by Law Society president Christina Blacklaws, the Law Society’s flagship IWD event will feature panel discussing the outcomes of the research so far conducted as part of the Women in Leadership in Law project. The event will also feature the launch of the Law Society’s report on gender balance in the legal profession, following a series of roundtables held in the UK and internationally with senior women and men working in law.

International Women’s Day Lecture 2019 – March 8th Belfast, Northern Ireland

The Bar of Northern Ireland is hosting a free lecture by Lady Arden of the UK Supreme Court and Ms Justice Finlay Geoghegan of the Supreme Court of Ireland. Lady Arden was the third woman to be appointed to the UK Supreme Court bench, and served on the court of appeal since 2000. Ms Justice Finlay Geoghegan was nominated for appointment in 2017 having previously practiced in the areas of constitutional law, European law, administrative law and commercial law.

A Balanced View from DLA Piper – March 6th, Edinburgh, Scotland

A breakfast event hosted by DLA Piper will discuss the hugely complex role of unconscious bias in creating imbalances in the workplace. The panel will feature speakers from across the business spectrum and will ‘discuss unconscious bias, both in terms of biases they have witnessed and exploration of their own potential biases that may have gone unnoticed’.


Women on Supreme Courts – March 5th, Galway, Republic of Ireland 

The National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway will be hosting this public event to coincide with the visit of the Supreme Court to NUI Galway. The panel discussion will focus on the contribution of women to judiciary in the superior courts, and speakers will include Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness, former Supreme Court of Ireland Judge, Mrs Justice Matilda Twomey, Chief Justice of Seychelles and School of Law graduate, Mr Justice John MacMenamin, and Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne, current judge of the Supreme Court of Ireland.

Women in Europe – March 4th, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

Hosted by the Irish Society for European Law will be discussing the role of influential women in Ireland and Europe will be speakers Patricia O’Brien, the Irish Ambassador to France and Ms Justice Ann Power-Forde, a judge of the Kosovo Specialist Chamber and Senior Counsel of the Law Library. The event will be chaired by The Hon. Ms. Justice Marie Baker, of the Court of Appeal.

Women in Fraud – March 13th, Geneva, Switzerland

This event will be celebrating the achievements of female litigators, investigators, members of the Bar and asset recovery practitioners involved in landmark fraud cases. It will be also provide insights and practical solutions for addressing the question of ‘how to promote leadership and diversity in the legal field of complex, international fraud cases, asset recovery and white collar crime.’ Speakers on the day will be Elizabeth Baker Head of the Proceeds of Crime and International Assistance Division Serious Fraud Office UK, Claudia Götz Staehelin Attorney at Law and Partner Kellerhals Carrard, and Amy Conway-Hatcher Partner Baker Botts USA.

#8marsaubarreau – March 8th, Paris, France

This event will celebrate achievements of activist women changing their community, including  Fanny Benedetti,Executive Director of the French Committee for UN Women, Fatimata Mbaye, solicitor from Mauritius, Olga Johnson, General Secretary Energies for Africa, Leïla Aïchi, Parliament member, Maria Pernas, Group Legal Department and Senior Vice President at ATOS.


Raise Women Up –  March 4th, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

DWF Middle East LLP is hosting a short play called #RaiseWomenUp in appreciation and celebration of International Women’s Day. The aim of the event is to ‘raise awareness of topics such as women’s empowerment, women in business, working mothers, gender pay gap and unconscious bias whilst facilitating conversation and connecting professionals in the region’.


TrustLaw Cafe Pro Bono – March 6th, New York, NY

The Thomson Reuters Foundation initiative TrustLaw, in partnership with the Women’s Initiative Committee at Kramer Levin, will host a Café Pro Bono with women’s and girls’ rights organisations based in New York and assess their legal needs through TrustLaw’s Legal Health Check. The workshop will help lawyers to learn more about social issues affecting women and how pro bono assistance can help organisations achieve their social mission and advance women’s initiatives.

Women’s Equality Around the World: Laws and Culture – March 6th, Washington DC 

Asking the question ‘How do we (finally) achieve equality for women?’, the Women’s National Democratic Club will host prominent filmmaker and activist Kamala Lopez, who will show her new short film Legalize Equality and lead a panel discussion of gender equality in the US in the context of the battle for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The panel will include feminist artist and EME Co-Executive Director Natalie White, Equal Means Equal (EME) VP John Belluomini, EME Legal Counsel and National Women’s Rights expert, Wendy Murphy, who will discuss the relationship between inequality and violence against women, and Dr. Kent Davis-Packard, Founder of the SAIS Women Lead Practicum.

Check out the official International Women’s Day website for more information on events around the world.

By Kayleigh Ziolo

Kayleigh Ziolo has a background in magazine publishing and is writer and Commissioning Editor at Obelisk. She specialises in the subjects of workplace wellbeing, flexible working practices and gender equality.