Today is International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day is an annual celebration of the achievements of women. This year’s theme is ‘Choose to Challenge’. The campaign encourages all of us to challenge the status quo, stand up for what is right and help create a more equal world. International Women’s Day is also an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the trailblazing women who helped make lasting change by choosing to challenge gender bias and inequality. This year’s International Women’s Day photo campaign asks people to show their support by raising their hand, to show they commit to the cause of choosing to challenge.
“A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change. So let’s all choose to challenge”International Women’s Day 2021.
The last year has been extremely difficult. The huge devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic changed so many aspects of our lives, whilst political unrest and shocking social injustices highlighted the ongoing challenges society faces.
However, amongst all the uncertainty, so many strong and brave women offered us hope and comfort.
At Crane & Staples, we are fortunate to be part of an inclusive team of women and men who always support each other.
We have asked our team to nominate the inspirational women whose achievements they would like to celebrate this International Women’s Day. From politicians, public figures, athletes and entertainers, to our own friends, family, and colleagues, we have nominated a diverse range of women who deserve recognition today – and every day!
Happy International Women’s Day!
Please note these are the personal views of individual staff members.
WiFLaw – I want to take this opportunity to celebrate all my colleagues and friends who are part of the ‘Women in Family Law’ group. I have had the privilege of working with such a diverse group of strong and inspiring women from different walks of life, ethnicity and class who practice in Family Law. All these amazing women with their own unique experiences and having faced challenges themselves are using their experience and skills to empower other women. So here’s to my powerful and inspiring sisters from WiFLaw!
I take this opportunity of also celebrating Hannah Markham QC. She is currently the Chair of Women in Family Law, and it is because of her that we exist. She pulled together an incredible team of women who practice in Family law and ensured that there was diversity and proper representation. Not only is she a brilliant QC, Mother and friend, she also works with and leads a number of other groups too numerous to list, but is also the Vice Chair of the FLBA and Head of Family at 36 Group. She is inspiring, fearless and a true friend to all women and I am proud to know her and to have the privilege of working with her work to try and make a lasting change.
I also nominate Kirsty Harrington, CAFCASS. Kirsty works for CAFCASS and before she was promoted, she was a full time Children’s Guardian. She held a full case load but always made the effort to know the young people she worked with. The pandemic has made things tough, but Kirsty and her colleagues have worked tirelessly throughout, to ensure that the Justice system has kept moving for young people involved in family proceedings. Thank you to Kirsty Harrington and her local CAFCASS colleagues who are working so hard.
Firstly, I would like to nominate all the women at Crane & Staples. I see how hard they work every day and how they juggle so many other responsibilities. In the last year, I feel we have all become closer; whether sharing a funny meme in a group chat or checking in to make sure everyone is okay, they have been a great source of support. Despite their demanding workloads, they always make time to engage with all my crazy activities!
Secondly, I would like to nominate Taylor Swift. She is an example of a woman who has chosen to challenge. She calls out double standards and has redefined her reputation. Last year, she released two best-selling albums – they were introspective and folksy and encapsulated the feelings of lockdown. She had a public battle with her former record label and she finally gets to re-record and reclaim ownership of her own work. She is a supporter of women’s rights, and an advocate for the LGBTQ community.
For IWD I would like to nominate a woman who I greatly admire and respect as a fellow solicitor. She is an outstanding lawyer, supportive friend and great business woman. She inspires others and is always ready to help and assist others in our team. She is my Partner, Danielle Peters.
Mary Seacole – History lessons celebrated Florence Nightingale, but I don’t recall ever hearing about Mary Seacole until last year. Mary Seacole was born in Jamaica over 200 years ago, the time of slavery. Mary’s mother was black and her father white Scottish. She was born a “free person” Her mother was a healer and Mary learnt her mother’s skills. Mary travelled to the UK and built up her knowledge of medicine. Back in Jamaica she nursed victims of a cholera epidemic and used her knowledge to try and save patients She was invited by medical authorities to supervise nursing service in Kingston. Later she returned to London and asked to be sent to the Crimea to help nurse wounded soldiers. She was refused. Nevertheless, she went anyway and established the British Hotel providing a place for sick and recovering soldiers.
My colleague Samantha Webb – a client has just phoned and was talking about Sam and saying how brilliant she was.
My Granny – a strong woman, who was a nurse before she had five children and made sure they were all educated and understood a woman’s role in society was as important as a man’s. She also listened and advised with her phrases about life “never let the sun go down on an argument”
Lots of patience explaining there s no recipe for guess work cake!
On behalf of my daughter Heather, I nominate Jacinda Ardern (NZ Prime Minister) for succeeding in doing one of the most important jobs in her country all whilst pregnant and with a newborn.
On behalf of my daughter Jacqui, I nominate Malala Yousafzai who inspires me with her persistence for worldwide female education, alongside her achievements of a Nobel Peace Prize and creation of the Malala Fund ,despite her childhood.
Professor Sarah Gilbert and all the women scientists who led the covid vaccination program.
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex – for being a great role model for girls and believing in equal rights whilst constantly receiving backlash from the media.
Chrissy Teigen – for sharing with the world her heartbreak of losing her son and raising awareness of miscarriages and stillborn babies.
Vice President Kamala Harris – she is the first female Vice President of America, the highest-ranking woman in American history, and the first African American and first Asian American Vice President.
Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge – advocate for mental health and worked last year to raise awareness about mental health issues for children.
I would like to nominate Sharon Montgomery. She is an incredible role model for aspiring female lawyers. She always has time for those just starting their careers and has lead this firm from strength to strength.
I would like to nominate my assistant Tracey Fenner because she is a wonderful person and constantly goes above and beyond to assist everyone in the department and ensure that conveyancing transactions progress smoothly.
I would like to nominate my mum because she is so strong and selfless. She inspires me every day and is my biggest supporter. She has taught me that nothing is impossible.
I nominate Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. Whatever your views on Brexit, I admired the professional way that she dealt with the situation.
The woman I’d like to celebrate is Diane Abbott. This is because she was the first black woman to hold a seat in the House of Commons when elected as an MP in 1987!
I would like to nominate my daughters. They are both Nurses working for the NHS and been the thick of it, during the Covid crises. Without any complaints
My daughter, Maahi – she’s had a strange start to secondary school with the pandemic and done exceptionally well in the circumstances. She has coped very well with homeschooling and continued to excel. She is growing up to be a very smart, outspoken (sometimes too outspoken) young woman who will shine.
I also nominate Jacinda Ardern. She is by far the best leader in the world currently that every other leader can learn from. Her empathy and leadership qualities are exceptional. She showed this during the terrorist attack in Christchurch, the earthquake in Wellington, and her handling of the pandemic.
I nominate my colleague Attia Hussain. Attia is fierce friend and passionate advocate. She consistently stands up for what is right and challenges inequalities in the hope of securing positive change. I have never known anyone work so hard! She is an active member of the Herts Law Society, her speech as President was groundbreaking and inspirational. She is a founding member of the Women in Family Law group. Then each and every day she fights in court to ensure the voice of the child is heard.
My nomination is Alex Scott MBE – she is a professional football player, and sport’s pundit on MOTD. In recent years she has spoken about women’s sport, women’s professional sport and the issues surrounding pay, and equality in sports and sports media. In February 2021 she ran a campaign about women’s physical and mental health. I am nominating Alex Scott as she has been a key campaigner for women’s issues in sports for a long time, and has been a part of some very important campaigns which inspire young girls and women to get involved with sport both at amateur and professional level.
I also nominate Janet Martland – a very kind, patient and supportive colleague who always takes time to chat and check in! A wonderful lawyer and brilliant mentor.
This year has been exceptionally tough on us all. I would like to celebrate all of us and hope that with 2021 comes better and brighter times.
I would like to give particular thanks to those women working in hospitals and other caring facilities, who are of course on the front lines. This past year has been… incredible to say the least and the efforts that those working in health care have meant that we have got through it much more unscathed than we would have otherwise.
My aunt, Debbie, is a nurse in a busy hospital, and so is my friend’s sister in law Emma, and I thank them both for their sacrifices over this year.
Others working in the care provision and the health field who we know personally include my husband’s niece Lucy, our friend Leigh, our friend Katy, and my old school friend Damandeep who is a doctor.
My nomination is for Alex Scott, the TV presenter, ex footballer and strictly contestant. She has successfully broken into the macho world of football punditry and regularly provides much better analysis than all her male colleagues. She’s put up with a lot of online social media abuse for what she’s done. I think she is a breath of fresh air.
On behalf of my daughter Issy, I also nominate Jesy Nelson, formerly in Little Mix. She is a talented performer who spoke out against online bullying. She chose to leave the group to focus on her own mental health and I respect that decision.
I’ll nominate Betty Suarez as even though fictional she followed her own path (working at a fashion magazine even though it was out of her comfort zone because she wanted to have her own magazine one day. She also went for what she wanted and didn’t let people tell her she couldn’t do something. She looked out for her family and colleagues and always tried to see the positive in everything.
I’d also say Buffy Summers because she had to save the world (a lot) and did so much to empower women. She showed that women could stand up for themselves, take on all sorts of horrors whilst also being vulnerable and human at the same time.
I would like to nominate Mother Theresa for her absolute dedication during her life to help others.
International Women’s Day Playlist
Songs celebrating womanhood, female friendship and trailblazing female artists, chosen by the staff at Crane & Staples LLP