The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge – what does that mean for you in your work life?
There is no doubt that change is still needed to achieve gender equality. I have spent my working life as a professional woman believing that it should be obvious from my actions and those of many other women that there is no basis for inequality. It is clear to me now that this is not enough and that I need to choose to call out gender bias and inequality when I see it and to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements to make sure these get the same prominence of those of men.
Tell us about a woman who you believe has helped shape the legal profession since the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 allowed women to become lawyers?
There are many role models I could cite but one woman who has led from the front and achieved real change for women in the law in Scotland is Linda Urquhart, the former Chief Executive and Chair of Morton Fraser.
On the week of International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their a career in law?
Talent in the law is often defined by intellectual prowess and as such offers a good basis for equality. The law offers a wide variety of career options for women and many of these require strong interpersonal skills, which may even present a gender advantage! Go for it.
Which woman (or women) do you admire the most?
I am inspired by women who achieve their goals while remaining true to themselves and are thus relatable and impactful as role models. Role models can be high profile, such as Lady Hale or simply inspiring personal mentors – they all count and are much needed.
What has been your proudest moment in your career so far?
I think those are the moments when some form of adversity is overcome so I’ve experienced a few of those in the last few decades! For me it has always been as part of a team when I feel I have been able to make a positive contribution to the outcome. Leading Ryden through and out of the market crash of 2008 was a biggie in my professional career.