In June 1892 Cornelia Scrabji from Bengal was the first woman at Oxford University to study for a Law Degree. However, she could not be awarded her Degree for another 30 years after the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919. That Act of Parliament opened the gate for women to become lawyers.
1922 saw the first 2 female Barristers being called to the Bar.
A year later in 1923 the first 4 female Solicitors were admitted to the Law Society.
It was not until 1949 that the first woman Barrister was instructed to appear in Court on a murder case.
The next notable date was in 1963 when the first female County Court Judge was appointed.
It was not until 1981 that the first female partner in a Law firm was appointed and the first female Court of Appeal Judge was appointed in 1988.
How times have moved on, there has been a significant increase in the number of women in law over the last two decades. There are now 18,000 solicitors qualified to work in England and Wales with women now accounting for nearly half of that number.
For women Solicitors aspiring to become Judges the Judicial Appointments Commission which appoints Judges has published its ‘Equal Merit Provision Policy’ which puts in place tie break positive action in favour of women and ethnic minority candidates so in other words where there are two candidates of equal merit, one male, one female, the application of the female is more likely to succeed.