Women’s Rights Trailblazer Rebekah Wilson of Garden Court’s Family Team discusses her experiences of working in women’s rights, her inspirations and the barriers that remain.
“The first person to attend university in my family, I have always been driven by my commitment to equality and fighting discrimination. After completing pupillage aged 23, I went to work at Rights of Women (ROW) as a legal advice officer. I stayed involved with ROW on the management committee and in their work securing justice for women. Called to the Bar in 1998, my practice has focused on family law: protecting and empowering the rights of women in an area of law which so often impacts on women. In addition to my practice, I have worked in The Hague with the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, working for female victims in one of the first cases before the International Criminal Court.
Discrimination on the grounds of any protected characteristic has always inspired my practice, writing and work. I joined the Anti-Apartheid Movement aged 14. The idea that someone is paid less, has less opportunity, is treated unfairly because of their gender or the colour of their skin should inspire us all.
I have two beautiful young boys. The barriers I encounter most frequently are as a woman with children. I am always slightly saddened that it’s often other women who have the most hardened approach to positive action for other women … But then 52 % of white women voted for Trump, so maybe nothing is surprising. I was always worried children might be a career killer and I can see it’s really hard to compete without a partner/wife at home to organise the children. However, it’s 2017 and I feel that courts and practitioners need to work hard to ensure that women don't feel as though they’re left behind or that working is impossible.”
At Garden Court Chambers, we are celebrating International Women’s Day with a series of events featuring a lawyers, activists and academics all striving for gender equality.