Search

Barrister Justine Thornton says sexism still a problem for women lawyers at Camden school talk

15:44 12 March 2014

Justine Thornton (Ed Miliband wife) taking part in

Justine Thornton (Ed Miliband wife) taking part in 'Inspiring women' event with other lawyers at Parliament Hill School

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Top lawyer Justine Thornton – wife of Labour leader Ed Miliband – has spoken out about sexism in the legal professions at a talk to schoolchildren to mark International Women’s Week.

Justine Thornton (Ed Miliband wife) taking part in 'Inspiring women' event  with other lawyers at Parliament Hill SchoolJustine Thornton (Ed Miliband wife) taking part in 'Inspiring women' event with other lawyers at Parliament Hill School

Ms Thornton, an environmental barrister, said she realised how important it was to have events dedicated to women’s issues as, after 20 years in law, she attended her first court case where all the legal professionals involved were women only this month.

She became even more convinced after overhearing a court clerk say that the case should be named “the battle of the babes”.

Ms Thornton, who lives with Mr Miliband in Dartmouth Park, made the comments at a legal careers event for 12 and 13-year-olds at all-girl Parliament Hill School, in Highgate Road, on Friday, the day before International Women’s Day.

“When I was thinking about what to say to you all, I wasn’t sure if we needed a women’s week,” she told the group of 40 Year 8 girls.

Justine Thornton (Ed Miliband wife) taking part in 'Inspiring women' event  with other lawyers at Parliament Hill SchoolJustine Thornton (Ed Miliband wife) taking part in 'Inspiring women' event with other lawyers at Parliament Hill School

“There are quite a lot of female lawyers and 176 female QCs have been appointed as of last year, a lot better than the two female QCs appointed in 1949 – the first time women were appointed.

“But then you realise that 1,034 men have been appointed as QCs and that in the last 65 years, only 15 per cent of the top barristers in the country are women.”

Ms Thornton, along with seven other female lawyers, took it in turns to speak to tables of pupils on the last day of the school’s Women of the World Week.

Each group had about eight minutes to ask the women how they got into law and what their jobs entail, before the lawyers moved to a different table at the speed-networking session.

Margaux Pignet-Mayer, 13, said: “It was kind of inspiring to meet them and it has given me a lot of ideas about how it all works.”

The session was hosted by charity Inspiring the Future, a free service that organises visits by professionals to state schools to talk about their jobs.

Anna Peduzzi, deputy headteacher, said: “The idea is that we are extending our careers education and provision across Years 7, 8, 9 and upwards.

“We wanted to inspire the Year 8 girls and to give them an understanding of a wide range of professions and we want them to experience it by having women in powerful positions big them up.”

0 comments

Latest News Stories

Jude Goodall,10, Sawdah Mohamed, 11, with headteacher Kate Frood collect money at the school gate to help pupils at their Ebola-hit sister school in Sierra Leone. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Schoolchildren in Kentish Town are on the frontline of a fight to save an Ebola-hit school in Sierra Leone from permanent closure

Yesterday, 18:12
Ian Campbell outside Hendon Magistrates' Court. Picture: Polly Hancock.

A man who threatened to burn down a bus packed with Jewish women and children has been jailed for five months for his anti-Semitic tirade.

Yesterday, 17:00
Left to right: Jeremy Clynes, Deborah Warland, Hetty Colchester and Jonathan Seres, who all helped to set up Garden Suburb Community Library. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Campaigners who took over running their local library to save it from closure fear that new multi-million pound cuts will “decimate” Barnet’s library service.

Yesterday, 16:45
Will Jenkins, of Highgate School, was a finalist in the 11-14 category at the 50th Wildlife Photograher of the Year Awards

When an 11-year-old Highgate schoolboy leapt out of a swimming pool to capture a striking dragon-like iguana on camera, he had no clue the snap would class him among the best young photographers in the world.

Most read news

The billionaire businessman is joining his team in the Mojave desert.

“Space is hard and today was a tough day.”

One pilot is dead and another seriously injured after the craft exploded over the Mojave desert.

One pilot has died and another is seriously injured after a rocket belonging to billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism venture crashed during a test flight. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket came down in the Mojave Desert in California. An eyewitness reported that the craft exploded in flight after ignition. A Virgin Galactic spokesman said the […]

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition