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Happy International Women's Day

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Today we celebrate International Women’s Day - a time to reflect on the progress made in the movement for women’s rights and honour the achievements of women. 

2019 also marks 100 years since the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919, which allowed women to enter into the legal profession for the first time. 

In 1888, Eliza Orme was the first woman in England to earn a law degree at University College London but because of the legislation in place, had to unofficially ‘practice’. She did so out of an office in London’s Chancery Lane, where she and a colleague prepared the paperwork for property transactions, patent registrations, wills, settlements, and mortgages.

It took the First World War, when women ran so much of the agriculture and industry of the UK, to force change. Yet even during the Second World War the vast numbers of female construction workers who built Waterloo Bridge were simply ignored from the list of workers. 

Roll on 100 years and so much has changed, for the better. Women now make up 47% of the UK workforce and play a significant role in Outset’s success. Today, 77% of our legal and HR professionals are female and 27% of our team are working mums.

We embrace diversity and support flexible working arrangements. An approach which has helped us attract and retain several senior female colleagues who previously faced challenges returning to work after maternity due to inflexible employers. 

We also strongly believe that everyone should be treated equally. We therefore avoid hierarchy and status driven titles where possible and foster an inclusive, non-stuffy environment where each voice is heard and individuals feel respected, whatever their level of experience. 

Outset’s CEO Jonathan Gauton says “I am so grateful for how far we have come. In recent times we find ourselves in a country where racism and intolerance has been increasing significantly. There is still a long way to go to see a level playing field in the UK but I am determined that we will continue to do our part to address that.”