Updated: Aug 19, 2020
We need a strong, intersectional alliance of women at the Bar.
In 2019, 83.3% of QCs were male, 16.2% female; 87.4% were white; 0.2% of practitioners at the Bar that year reported that their gender identity was different to that assigned at birth.
And yet, as barristers, our duty is to represent members of a society that is immensely more diverse than we are.
As women, we experience the struggle for equality on our very skin. It is a struggle that we share with other minorities - it joins us to others who are trying to build a profession within an environment that has for centuries excluded us.
We launch Themis to create the space and conditions necessary to join our voices and work together to think about, address and reform the structures that inhibit us as minorities at the Bar.
The better we understand how identities and power work together from one context to another, the less likely our movements for change are to fracture – Kimberlé Crenshaw
Intersectional feminism, and how that makes our experiences as women at the Bar both different and similar, provides the foundation for our outlook and our work.
Themis’ initiatives will be guided by the understanding that patriarchal structures are but one expression of a dominant form of power that inhibits our ability to fulfil our potential, personally and professionally.
We want to run activities that will give us the chance to achieve structural, systemic change. We want to share information about best practices, to foster debate and discussion amongst members and to actively lobby the BSB and sets of Chambers for change. We want to push for equal opportunities, equal access to the Bar and equal progression within the profession, and we want to link up female claimants with barristers from our network, to make sure that the right fights are fought. We want to make sure women have reason to remain at the Bar, and to shape our initiatives to cater towards the caring responsibilities that women too often shoulder alone. We want to work with others who share our values to increase the impact of our work.
Above all, we want to be open to suggestions, we want to promote ideas and initiatives born within our network and we want to facilitate the advancement of those who self-identify as women, at any stage of their career and from all walks of life. We know other organisations exist focussing on specific experiences and identities. We're keen to work together with other organisations in the interests of all women at the Bar; we don't want to duplicate efforts or step on any toes!
When and How?
We are launching Themis on 18 September 2020.
Our launch event will involve a short introduction to Themis and its partners, a keynote address and a thought-provoking debate, followed by an informal opportunity to chat and get to know each other. If you are interested in attending the event, please join us through our website, or follow us on social media. We will be advertising the zoom link via those portals. We hope to see you there!
Following our launch event, we will hold our first AGM in October 2020. Committee members will be elected anew, so keep an eye out if you are interested in filling a committee role. Otherwise, if you have any comments or ideas, or if you would like to be involved more actively with us before our first AGM, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.