In this edition, we celebrate the achievements of all those strong women who climbed the ladder and reached down to pull others in their wake. In particular, we celebrate the centenary of Frances Kyle BL and Averil Deverell BL, the first two women called to the Bar in 1921 and forged their way in what was heretofore a man’s world.
Our interview is with Oonagh McPhillips, Secretary-General to the Department of Justice. Sadly, she is one of only four women at this grade in the civil service at present, and she fairly points out that there have been fewer than a dozen at this level in the last hundred years. We are delighted to share her goals for the future and her views on equality and diversity. Here’s hoping that there will be many dozens more women to achieve this high-ranking post over the next century.
Elsewhere, we canvas the views of women in leadership roles at the Council of The Bar of Ireland and question their views on the ongoing issues surrounding gender equality. We analyse the steps being taken to improve mentoring of less experienced colleagues and to promote equitable briefing. One of our authors examines the moves towards flexible and remote working and questions whether new initiatives will advance the cause of gender equality.
While there is much still to do, these last 100 years have marked an extraordinary transformation. Women today can dream of things that our mothers and grandmothers could scarce imagine. We dedicate this edition to those mothers and grandmothers, many nameless and faceless, who never got the chances that we did, but who paved the way.