We use cookies to make your experience of our website better. Some of these are set by third party Google Analytics to help us analyse website traffic. To comply with privacy regulations, we require your consent to set these cookies. If you continue to use the site without selecting an option we will assume you are happy for us to use cookies.

#BalanceforBetter. When women succeed, we are all lifted up.

#BalanceforBetter. When women succeed, we are all lifted up.

On Friday I had the great privilege of attending the Street Soccer Women Inspired Gala Lunch in Edinburgh to mark International Women’s Day 2019. Before doing so, I stopped in at the Law Society of Scotland to have my photo taken as part of celebrations to mark 100 years of women in law. As I left the photo shoot, I pondered how far we have come since women were first admitted to the legal profession in 1919.

Women now make up the majority of practising solicitors in the UK, we have our first female President of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale, and we have more women in senior positions in law firms than ever before. But we have a long way to go. The gender pay gap in the UK legal profession persists, reflecting the continuing imbalance of female representation at senior and partnership levels within law firms.  

But my reflections were soon put into sharp perspective…

Over the Women Inspired lunch, we heard first from Dame Ann Gloag on her work in Africa to help treat women suffering the terrible effects of obstetric fistula and to provide care to orphaned children there. An estimated 2 million women and girls in Africa are suffering from obstetric fistula caused by prolonged, obstructed childbirth and lack of access to maternity care. Freedom from Fistula Foundation provides free surgery to heal women and girls from their fistulas and provides maternity care to prevent them.

It is estimated that there are currently over two million orphans in Kenya, nearly half of whom are thought to have been orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS. Kenya Children’s Homes’ orphanage in Nairobi is home to up to 200 orphaned, destitute and abandoned babies and children at any one time, providing them with much needed care, protection and education.

But Dame Ann’s latest mission is perhaps her most worthy yet. With the constant Brexit news cycle it may have escaped you, as it had me, that in February Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio declared rape and sexual violence in the country a national emergency with life imprisonment for perpetrators attacking minors, after an outcry over the level of sexual violence in the country. 

Yes, you read that correct – rape on minors, a national crisis. There are simply no words. But there can be action, and Dame Ann is taking just that by raising awareness of this horrifying situation.

Hot on the heels of Dame Ann, we heard from the brilliant Babs Geddes, Street Soccer volunteer and Scotland Women’s Team Captain for the 2017 Homeless World Cup. With remarkable candour and humour, Babs told her story of addiction and mental health issues, of her recovery journey and of the difference Street Soccer has made to her life. In turn, Babs now volunteers in Street Soccer’s Street 45 free fitness and personal development course for females over 16, and helps others to overcome challenges similar to those she has faced.

There was hardly a dry eye in the house as we heard Dame Ann and Babs tell their stories. In quite different ways, each does truly inspiring work to help women and to lift other women up. I left the lunch inspired, with a renewed determination to do my bit to help achieve better balance for women at home and abroad. 

When women succeed and when we hear of women succeeding, we are all lifted up. At Burness Paull we are proud to lift our women up. As our firm’s Managing Partner, Tamar Tammes, toasted in her closing remarks at Friday’s lunch:

“Here’s to strong women. 
May we know them.
May we be them.
May we raise them.”

And, as Tamar added, “May we support them”.

Burness Paull are proud partners of Street Soccer Scotland.

Read more about the work of the Freedom From Fistula Foundation and Kenya Children’s Homes.

Click here to set up your preferences so we can send you the insight you need to stay precisely informed

Burness admin