I am so pleased that Hertford has decided to celebrate its women in this original way and I am honoured to have been asked to participate.
Hertford in the late 1980s was for me a politically, as well as intellectually, vibrant place and women’s rights were the subject of much discussion as we sat around over our Baileys Irish Cream late into the night. With friends I was involved in setting up a women’s group and I took a particular interest in feminist legal theory. I ignored my mother’s advice not to put these interests on my CV when applying to the Bar. At a scholarship interview at Lincoln’s Inn, one member of the 12-strong panel of elderly white men looked down his nose and asked me sarcastically whether the existence of the women’s group indicated that Hertford women were an “oppressed minority”. I told him we were definitely a minority and that we were “working on the oppression bit”.
Things have changed in lots of ways – the Bar is a much more diverse and inclusive place now than many people realise. But I feel we still need to “work on the oppression bit”. I hope this exhibition will help the current generation of women at Hertford realise just how much they can achieve, and what a big part their experiences at Hertford, both academic and non-academic, will play in that achievement. I wish them all the very best of luck.