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“I was ready to go to prison, indeed I longed to do so…”

The Abbey School hosted the landmark pop-up exhibition ‘100 Years of Women at the Bar’ and staged a showcase evening for young people in the town to promote a career in the legal profession.

The exhibition was previously on display at the Royal Courts of Justice and the Supreme Court. It features women judges and pioneers in the legal field and celebrates the centenary of Dr Ivy Williams’ as the first woman to be called to the English Bar in 1922.

Over 400 students and parents from six schools attended a private viewing of the exhibition and heard from keynote speakers, Court of Appeal Judge Lady Justice Geraldine Andrews DBE, Founder of the First Hundred Years Project Dana Denis-Smith, and Barrister Samantha Woodham. The speakers shared career highlights and discussed the various challenges they have overcome.

One student said, “As a female student who wants to choose law as a career, it was inspiring to see and learn from the women who had fought hard to earn their right and importance within this profession.”

Students participated in three theatrical performances inspired by the true stories of legal pioneers featured in the 100 Years exhibition – Helena Normanton, Dame Linda Dobbs and Tribunal Judge Thaira Bibi.

The evening concluded with networking and breakout rooms, giving students the opportunity to engage directly with judges and the legal profession.

“The students thoroughly enjoyed the project and were really keen for it to continue and to be involved again” – John Madejski Academy

An ARCH collaboration with the First Hundred Years Project.