FAQs on the Next 100 Years

What is the Next 100 Years’ mission?
The Next 100 Years is a project dedicated to achieving equality for women in law.
The legal pioneers of the last 100 years have left an enduring legacy for us to build on. Much has been achieved but the pace of change is too slow. We need to accelerate change so that significant progress is made in the next ten years.

The Next 100 Years is focused on encouraging collaboration across the profession, improving the visibility of women in law and supporting the women lawyers of the future. This important work is only possible because of the donations we receive from individuals, businesses and other prominent organisations from across the legal profession. There are plenty of opportunities for those interested in supporting the project so please take a look and find out more about how you can get involved [link to ‘Get Involved] and help create equality for women in law.

Why do we need change?
More women than men now enter the legal profession, but they are still underrepresented at the top, whether that’s amongst judges, QCs, partners in law firms or in management Positions.

Many organisations in the legal world are succeeding in creating a better working environment for women, in which discrimination and harassment are not tolerated and family friendly working patterns are at least a possibility. Things are moving in the right direction, but we don’t want to wait another 100 years for equality.

What will the Next 100 Years be doing in practice?
Collaboration is important and real change will only be achieved when the profession comes together to act and remove barriers to the progression of women in law. We plan to set up a cross-profession taskforce, bringing together senior individuals, both men and women, from across the legal professions and their representative bodies to discuss the key barriers to equality in the legal profession and formulate recommendations for change.

Women lawyers of the past and present need to be more visible. Having just one or two high profile women in your organisation is not enough, we need rock bands, not rock stars. We plan to hold an annual lecture series, featuring women who are leaders in their field. The legal profession needs to support the next generation of women lawyers, looking to open up to those from underrepresented groups. We are also looking at ways we can help improve accessibility, including bursaries and a mentoring scheme.

The First 100 Years began with the intention of creating a legacy. Now that the centenary has passed, does that work finish?
The project has spent the last five years gathering and creating an archive of material charting the journey of women in law. Our exhibition mapping out that journey was seen by 2.29 million views in the run up to the centenary in 2019 and the project was central to the profession’s centenary celebrations.

As well as premiering over forty films featuring pioneering women in the legal profession, the centenary saw the publication of a book charting the journey of women in law, the launch of a podcast series, the commissioning of an artwork which is the first hanging in the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom to depict a woman, and a series of guided walks around London for those interested in learning more about the history of women in the profession.

We are ensuring that our archive is preserved for future generations. At the same time, we will continue the work of the First 100 Years, capturing the inspirational stories of today’s pioneering women lawyers and educating the public on the legacy of the legal pioneers of the past.

How are you funded?
Our work is made possible by the support we received from professional bodies such as the Law Society, Bar Council and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) as well as law firms, chambers and other businesses operating in the legal profession who support our activities through donations and corporate sponsorship.