Time for (more) change
By Suzanne Keenan – Associate Director, Head of Employment. Published 7 February 2018
You may be wondering why you are seeing so many articles in the media about gender equality these last few days.
The news today features Tesco embroiled in a record £4 billion equal pay claim by a collection of affected staff (the majority of those being women), Birmingham City Council recently settled an equal pay claim for £1 billion, and the BBC has faced recent media attention for their equal pay dispute.
It is no coincidence this more recent media attention comes around the 100 year anniversary of the “Representation of the People Act 1918” which was the beginnings of women achieving full voting rights – the 100 year anniversary was yesterday, 6th February.
So what have we achieved in 100 years? Here are just a few of the many milestones:
Women over 30 can vote – 1918
Women can stand for election as MPs – 1918
Women permitted to practice law – 1919
Women achieve full voting rights – 1928
Women permitted to sit in the House of Lords – 1958
Europe’s first female elected head of state – 1979
First female President of the Philippines and the first female president in Asia – 1986
First female High Court Judges appointed in Northern Ireland – 2015
And what is yet to come… first female President of the U.S.A.? Equality for women in every workplace?
You may have learned about the suffragettes in school, some of the names of the original pioneers for women’s rights may still ring a bell with you, such as, Emmeline Pankhurst, Emily Davison or Millicent Fawcett.
Who will be the pioneering names from our generation? Will you be one of them?
It is days like yesterday that make me proud to be a young woman practicing law and I am reminded of how far society has come to make that possible. I am proud to be part of a progressive firm that ensures and promotes gender equality, and ‘the proof is in the pudding’ with an equal 50:50 split of men and women at Senior levels here in MKB Law. I am proud to specialise in employment law, an area that involves advising and assisting both employers and employees on issues around gender equality.
Reading the news these last few days, I can see that the work is not finished and it is time for more change.
I hope to be part of it. Do you?