International Women’s Day 2020

Celebrating the achievements of women

This Sunday 8th March is International Women’s Day. The motto this year is #EachforEqual and one of the themes is ‘celebrating the achievements of women’.

We have asked our staff to suggest some women whose achievements they would like to celebrate. This has been a fun and educational activity, where we have got to know more about our colleagues and the women they admire.

Please see our list below of the friends, family, co-workers, celebrities, activists, athletes and historical figures that we will be celebrating on International Women’s Day!

Alistair Williams – Office Manager

I would like to celebrate the achievements of the journalist and writer Martha Gellhorn, she is considered one of the great war correspondents of the 20th century.

Annabel Andreou – Trainee Solicitor

I am celebrating the literary achievements of Jacqueline Wilson, who has successfully allowed young readers to explore and challenge various topics, and issues. With a career spanning nearly 50 years, Wilson has written on familial difficulties, adolescent concerns, friendships, bereavement, coming of age, love, heartbreak, humour, and so forth.

I read The Story of Tracey Beaker nearly 15 years ago, and very recently completed my family seat which concerned legal issues such as adoption, foster care, and broken families.  Wilson deals with real issues, which I’m sure many of her readers can relate to through one book or another. It can’t be overlooked how many readers find a ‘safe-space’ through literature, and with over 100 titles, Wilson undoubtedly offers this to so many young girls (and boys, but mainly girls as that seems to be her target audience).

Attia Hussain – Senior Associate Solicitor

I am celebrating the achievements of Hannah Markham QC for being such an amazing role-model and inspiration. She visualised, inspired and put together a team to set up the Women in Family Law group, she has worked so hard to make it a success. She has done this all while not only being a busy Silk, Joint Head of her (again busy) Chambers, but also as the Vice Chair of the FLBA (oh and a full time parent by the way!).

Chris Brewis – Partner

I would like to nominate my Mum Rosemary for always being there for me, my wife Sophie for always putting her family before herself and my daughters Poppy and Skye for reminding me what is really important.

Eileen Ismay – Consultant

I would like to nominate the late Mary Chambers of Cambridge, who was one of the first elderly clients I met as a newly qualified solicitor in the 1970s.    Mary had read mathematics at Cambridge University and as she was born in 1900, she was probably one of the first women to do so and possibly the first woman to get first class marks in the final exams.   However in those days women weren’t able to take their degrees.   Mary went on to work for the Applied Economics Department of the University, providing matrices and other mathematical tools the Department needed before the advent of computers.  She taught me many a lesson useful in my profession, not least the vital one that physical frailty does not mean intellectual frailty.     To conflate the two in Mary’s case was unwise, bless her!

Eleanor Brick – Accounts

I would like to celebrate the achievements of the incredibly talented singer, songwriter and civil rights activist, Nina Simone.

Gerrit de Bruin / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

Freya Shailes – Letters Administrator

Harriet Tubman who was enslaved, and escaped slavery and helped others gain their freedom with the Underground Railroad. She is also considered to be the first African American women to serve in the military in the American Civil War.

Catherine of Aragon who was appointed regent of the UK, Wales, and Ireland, in the 1500s when King Henry went to attack King Louis XII. And who was also influential in the making of the Church of England as a way for Henry to Divorce her. One of the three out of six wives to survive marriage to Henry.

Florence Nightingale for her role in the Crimean War, and who was also a trailblazing figure in nursing.

Gaby Williams – IT Projects and Documents Manager

I would like to celebrate the achievements of the late Joan Rivers. She was controversial and polarising but was a pioneer for women in comedy. She was the first woman to have her own late-night talk show in America. She had a tumultuous life, facing difficulties including losing her job and the death of her husband, but she always bounced back. She also supported charitable causes including HIV and AIDS, mental health and animal rights. Joan Rivers was known for her self-deprecating and satirical jokes, saying “never be afraid to laugh at yourself, you could be missing out on the joke of the century”. I wish she was alive today to comment on current events!

John Mathew Smith & www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel  Maryland, USA / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Janet Martland – Solicitor

I am celebrating the achievements of my colleagues Attia Hussain and Sian Churchill, without them I could not do my job. I am a mum and a solicitor and they help me do both! Last week I was busy with Court hearings and my little one was ill, with Attia and Sian’s support I was able to juggle both. I am part of the best team of strong and supportive women.

Katie Smits – Trainee Solicitor

I would like to nominate Laura Kenny CBE as GB’s most successful Olympic female competitor in any sport, winning four Olympic golds in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic games. She grew up in my local area and I used to drive past the gold post box on my way to the station every morning whilst studying for my GDL and LPC. She is an inspiration to young women who pursue careers in sport and has also campaigned to introduce female cyclists into the Tour De France, a completely male sporting event.

Maggie Kerr – Solicitor

Rosa Parks an African American woman known for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus in Montgomery in 1955.  Inspirational because she stood up for herself and for all who were suffering the indignities of racial discrimination I cannot imagine what strength that took at that time in history. She continued her campaigns throughout her life.

Manish Patel – Senior Associate Solicitor

I would like to celebrate my wife and daughter for keeping me sane, grounded and on the straight-and-narrow and my mum for nurturing me during her own trials and tribulations.

Matt Clibbon – Accounts

Ellyse Perry – In the second WT20I match of the Women’s Ashes, Perry became the first player, male or female, to score 1,000 runs and take 100 wickets in Twenty20 International cricket.

Maxine Agombar – Senior Conveyancing Assistant

I would like to celebrate the achievements of my friend of 40 years, Victoria Eagle, for being awarded eBay Business Person of the Year. An Entrepreneur who took the plunge to leave the 9 to 5 London fashion job to set up her own Wedding stationary business on eBay and has never looked back. She needed something she could do from home that fitted around her family life and gave her a sense of independence.

Michael Scutt – Partner

Vivianne Miedema – Forward for Arsenal and contender for Women’s footballer of the year.

Nadia Miah – Trainee Solicitor

I would like to nominate my mum, for always being there for me and supporting me with everything I do. She is a fantastic role-model for me and my siblings.

Samantha Webb – Partner

I am celebrating the achievements of environment activist Greta Thunberg. At just 17 years old, she has brought global warming and climate change to the forefront and gained support from young people all over the world. Go Greta!

European Parliament from EU / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Sara Dobson

I would like to nominate my mum Alison Dobson for always believing in me and for always being there for me no matter what, she is an inspiration herself and I always look up to her.

I would like to nominate my fellow northern colleague, Janet Martland who is always very friendly and approachable. Janet works hard to achieve the best outcome for her clients and deserves to be recognised for this.

I would also like to nominate my favourite artist Beyoncé because she is extremely talented and promotes equality.

Sharon Montgomery – Partner

Everyone at Crane & Staples is celebrating the achievements of Baroness Hale of Richmond. She served as President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom from 2017 to 2020 and is one of the most successful and inspirational women in British legal history.

University of Salford Press Office / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Although her opinions are sometimes controversial and I do not always agree with her, I am celebrating Jameela Jamil because of her social media activism and campaigns to promote positive body image.

georgedarrell / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

A fantastic writer and actress, Phoebe Waller-Bridge is one of my nominations because of her work writing the subversive and thrilling ‘Killing Eve’. She writes well-rounded and complicated women characters and I can’t wait to see her work on the new James Bond film.

MTV International on YouTube / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

Sheryl Hartigan – Legal Secretary

I am celebrating the achievements of my mum as she is such an inspiration to me. She’s always there for me and always encourages me to be and do the best I can. She also worked so hard in her professional life and I don’t know how she did it all!

I am celebrating the achievements of Geri Horner (Halliwell) for being a leading figure of girl power!She is such a determined woman and never let anything stop her from achieving what she wanted to do. She also dealt with the loss of her father as a young woman and walked away from Spice Girls when they were so successful when it got too much for her. She’s local to us, being originally from Watford and is part of one of the biggest girl bands in the world!

Gerihalliwell.jpg: https://www.flickr.com/people/emutree/derivative work: Tabercil / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

I’d also like to mention Elle Woods as even though she’s a fictional character, she’s a leading woman in law. She initially went to Law School just to win her boyfriend back but found that not only did she come to enjoy law but she was also brilliant at it. She proved “first impressions aren’t always correct … and [not only should you have faith in other people, but] you must always have faith in yourself”. Plus, in the film, her hair care knowledge helped win her the case!

GabboT / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Sian Churchill – Solicitor

I would like to celebrate both my mother, Tracy, and my mother-in-law, Tracey (yes really both are Tracy/Tracey!). Both have significant health issues but view life positively, and they are fun, caring, and loving people. As someone with a number of (at times) serious health issues myself, they have been wonderful role models to me.

Sue Mabey – Senior Letters Administrator

I would like to celebrate the achievements of my father-in-law’s aunt, Dr Cicely Steer. She qualified as a doctor in December 1933. Cicely studied at The London School of Medicine for Women, the first UK institute to admit women to train as doctors. Her specialism was child care, gaining a diploma in Child Health. She worked with children all her life as the visiting doctor at schools and clinics throughout Bedfordshire.

Vasoula Televantos – Associate Solicitor

I’m celebrating the achievements of my mother, Irene Televantos, who came to England with my father as refugees in 1975, and she has shown me that, no matter your background, with determination and a lot of effort, you can be successful both in terms of having a career and a family.  My mother is a fantastic role model.