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First Women Lawyers in England, Wales and the Empire Symposia at St Mary's

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First Symposium, Wednesday 9 September 2015: ‘Establishing the Known and Unknown’ The First Women Lawyer’s Symposia, organised and led by Dr Judith Bourne lecturer at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, held its inaugural symposium on Wednesday 9 September 2015 in the Shannon Rooms at St Mary’s. The symposium was the first of a series of five annual symposia on women’s struggle to enter the legal profession. The aim of the symposia is to unite researchers and scholars in this area in order to both explore and record the journey of those first women lawyers. The proposed output of the symposia will be a collection of published essays examining the struggle to join the legal profession and an annual journal. Thirty delegates attended, with a great deal more interested. Three plenary papers were presented by Professors Mary Jane Mossman (Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto), Pat Thane (ICBH, KCL), and Rosemary Auchmuty (University of Reading). A further three delegates presented their papers by Skype: Professor Kim Rubestein (ANU College of Law, Australia), Juliette Brodsky (Australian documentary maker and journalist) and Associate Professor Merike Ristikivi (University of Tartu, Estonia). The remaining papers were given by Dr Mari Takayanagi (Senior Archivist, Parliamentary Archives), Dr Caroline Derry (London Metropolitan University), Mrs Frances Burton (Buckinghamshire New University), Lady Elizabeth Cruickshank (Solicitor), Charlotte Coleman (RHUL) and Dr Judith Bourne . Next year’s symposium will take place at St Mary’s on Thursday 30 June 2016 in the Waldegrave Drawing Room and will focus on: ‘Pioneers: Those who tried and “failed” and the quasi-lawyers’. This meeting will focus on early individual struggles as well as establishing and recording the activities of the women's movement pre 1919 and their contribution to the 1919 legislation. Papers are particularly welcomed from other countries in order to place the campaigns in England and Wales in an international context. Confirmed plenary speakers: Dr Anne Logan (University of Kent) and Dr Cheryl Law. Abstracts from Symposium (PDF) After 2016 the timetable will run as follows: 2017 Symposium: ‘Individual struggles of the “successful”– Williams, Morrison, Normanton and the rest of the 1922 cohort’. 2018 Symposium: “The Road to 1919”. This meeting would celebrate the anniversary of the vote and look at its effect on the road to the 1919 legislation. It will explore the extent to which it gave impetus to women such as Normanton to make renewed attempts to join the profession in 1918. 2019 Celebration of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919. 2020 Symposium: 'Legacy' The 2015 symposium was delighted and extremely grateful to receive an award from the Society of Legal Scholars to host the inaugural meeting.    
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