Oldham Law Society highlights 100th anniversary of historic change for women entering legal professions

Female members of Oldham Law Association at Annie Kenney statue in Oldham. PIC shows Fiona Goode (Oldham Law Association and President and John Birkby & Co), Victoria Marshall (Pearson), Niki Polymeridou (Pearson), Gillian Hawley (Pearson), Sarah Watson (Garratts), Hannah Pearson (Pearson), Louise Graham (Garratts), Nazrin Azad (Platts) and Uzma Nareen (Garratts).

OLDHAM Law Association marked the 100 th anniversary of a historic change in the law which paved the way for women to work as solicitors and barristers.

Lawyers from different legal firms gathered at the new Oldham town centre statue of local suffragette Annie Kenney to highlight the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act and hear about pioneering women in law, including pioneering local magistrate Ada Summers.

Led by association president Fiona Goode, of John Birkby & Co, the gathering heard how, in 1888, Eliza Orme was the first woman to gain a law degree. However, it was not until when the 1919 Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act came into force that four women with first-class degrees from Cambridge University were allowed to pass law exams and become lawyers.

Oldham-born Ada Summers becomes the first British woman to sit as a magistrate in 1919. She was sworn-in on December 31, 1919, one week after the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act was passed.

Joanne Ormston, managing partner at Pearson Solicitors & Financial Advisers, said:

“Through this law association event, we wanted to recognise and raise awareness of local women’s pioneering work and achievements by bringing together contemporary Oldham female legal professionals.”

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