Yesterday, I was privileged to be part of the Laurence Simons team as we attended the launch of Voice and Vote, an interactive exhibition Westminster Hall will be hosting between 27 June and 6 October 2018, celebrating 100 years since women got the vote, and covering the campaign for votes for women and the representation of women in the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
Invited to the celebrations last night were all the wonderful businesses who come together to create the weighty tome, Voice and Vote, including our very own CEO Clare Butler, who on page 207 talks about the importance of ‘Sisters in Law’, and how Laurence Simons takes an active role in diversity and talent retention.
As I am only in my first week at Laurence Simons, it feels rather surreal to be allowed to stroll into Westminster Abbey and rub shoulders with MPs and Lords. Surely it would be sensible to leave the intern at home for such a prestigious event as this?
However, Clare explained to me that it is this inclusion of Gen Z and young people in exactly these types of historical events that fosters a drive and desire to be part of something bigger – a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with. While I cannot pretend that we live in a world of total equality, it is clear that we are a million miles away from women having to crowd into ‘The Tomb’, the nickname given to the Lady Members’ Room office, which wasn’t ventilated and had MPs having to do their paperwork on the floor.
It’s no secret that being a woman in work presents challenges, but that is exactly why Laurence Simons is encouraging the legal world to embrace ideas such as part-time work and flexible working to help couples share out the childcare load while still keeping their careers on track. As well as this, the team are going into primary schools, motivating girls from an early age to aspire to a career in law, which certainly could never happened without 100 years of women’s suffrage.
The work of Laurence Simons to help diversify the legal field is an exciting move, and as I took photos in Westminster Abbey with Clare, a successful and inspirational woman, and listened to speakers talk about the history of women and how it is up to the next generations to make it count, I definitely felt the message was getting across.