Empowering Women in Law: Insights from our InvestHER Event

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Yesterday we commemorated International Women’s Day 2024 by hosting our #InvestHER event in partnership with the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre (SWRC) and the Strathclyde Law Clinic for the students at the University of Strathclyde, members of the third sector and professionals from the legal community.  

Amidst the inspiring atmosphere, distinguished speakers shared invaluable insights, fostering solidarity and empowerment for women not only in our local communities but also across Scotland. 

The event commenced with a warm welcome from Kate Laverty, Director of the Strathclyde Law Clinic, setting the tone for the day’s proceedings. Recognising the significance of showcasing support for women’s rights, she emphasised the importance of solidarity in advocating for gender equality. 

One of the highlights of the event was Rebecca Coltart‘s address, solicitor at Macnabs and integral member of the SWRC pro-bono network. Coltart highlighted the pivotal role of training provided by SWRC in equipping solicitors with essential skills for supporting survivors of various forms of injustice. She also highlighted the importance of effective communication and empathy, the significance of asking the right questions, actively listening, and validating survivors’ concerns. 

Nicola Mooney, advocacy worker at the SWRC, then demonstrated the functionality of the FollowIt App, a groundbreaking tool designed to aid survivors in documenting stalking incidents and gathering evidence. The event also featured Hannah Fergusson, solicitor at Brodies and member of the SWRC pro-bono network, who shared her inspiring journey from law student to legal practitioner. Fergusson’s passion for family law was palpable as she reflected on the dynamic nature of her profession, acknowledging the challenges while underscoring the immense rewards derived from making a meaningful difference in people’s lives. Amy and Hannah from Strathclyde Law Clinic then introduced a compelling video featuring testimonials from past and present student volunteers. Their reflections on the transformative impact of their experiences underscored the invaluable role of mentorship and hands-on learning in shaping the next generation of legal professionals.  

The event culminated with a powerful address by Lady Sarah Wolffe, Professor of Practice at the University of Strathclyde and the first woman appointed as a Commercial Judge in the Court of Session. Reflecting on her illustrious career, Wolffe emphasised the progress made in promoting gender diversity within the legal profession while acknowledging the ongoing challenges that demand collective action and the need for a systemic change.  

“We’ve come so far but there’s a lot more work to do”, she said. Her words resonated deeply with the students present at the event, serving as a poignant reminder of the journey ahead towards achieving true gender equality. 

Our InvestHER event served as a beacon of hope and inspiration, uniting students, legal professionals, advocates, and allies in the shared pursuit of gender justice. As we reflect on the achievements of women in law and society, we need to reaffirm our commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable future for all by standing in solidarity, amplifying women’s voices, and striving for a world where every individual has the opportunity to thrive, irrespective of gender.

Together, we can break barriers and build a brighter tomorrow for the next generations of human rights defenders.  

JustRight Scotland is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SC047818) which provides legal services through its limited liability partnership, JustRight Scotland LLP which trades as JustRight Scotland (SO305962). This firm has been authorised to act as solicitors by the Law Society of Scotland (Registered No 53703).

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