In celebration of International Women’s Day, The Mount School hosted an online Question and Answer session with Baroness Hale of Richmond. Pupils from Year 6 to College II were joined by pupils and staff from local Schools, over Zoom and given the chance to ask the Baroness questions about her career and inspiration.
After a warm welcome by The Mount’s Principal, Adrienne Richmond and a kind greeting from Lady Hale, our Sixth Form College Leadership Team led the proceedings. Elise led by sharing a few words about Lady Hale’s career, and Georgia invited questions from each of the participating schools.
Lady Hale listened to each question and gave thoughtful, encouraging answers which included excellent advice. She shared stories of her career and her life. The students came away understanding that nowadays things are better for women. However, more needs to be done in a way that people feel included, not excluded. Diversity is important in achieving this.
At the end of the session, Denva from the College Leadership Team gave an excellent summary. Lady Hale complimented her and Ms Richmond closed with thanks to Lady Hale and all the participating schools.
Speaking afterwards, Denva and Naomi, who is also a College Leader, shared their reflections from the Q&A.
“Baroness Hale was approachable and such a lovely person. Listening to her inspired me. I’d love to give her memoirs a good read. Her experiences and the idea of taking up opportunities really stuck with me. The fact that she was coped against sexism in the past and overcame it to become the first female President of the Supreme Court it was genuinely inspiring.” – Denva
“Baroness Hale was so real. She was laughing, she was making jokes. Her points were impactful because she didn’t appear high and mighty or as if she were above us all. That made her many achievements, while they obviously were difficult, seem more realistic, and that became really inspiring. I started thinking, “Oh, maybe I could do this.” We were all aware of the fact that can’t have been an easy process, and she highlighted that well. The positives were there and she showed me that these things are possible. – Naomi
Questions asked by girls at The Mount included; What impact has an all-girls education had on your career? Is democracy in danger in the United Kingdom? A broad conceptual question and Many people think that your job area is meant for men (although it is not). Were there many people who opposed you being in the Supreme Court and how did that affect your job choices and achievements?
About Baroness Hale
Brenda Hale grew up in Scorton, Richmond, attending Richmond High School for Girls. She subsequently became the school’s first girl to attend Cambridge and the first ex-pupil to read Law. Following graduation, she moved to Manchester to teach at the university, qualifying as a barrister in 1969.
In 1984, she became the first woman and youngest person to be appointed to the Law Commission. In 1989 she was appointed Queen’s Counsel and in 1994 she became a High Court Judge, the first to have made her career as an academic and public servant rather than as a practising barrister. In 1999 she became the second woman to be promoted to the Court of Appeal. In 2004 she became the first woman Law Lord, taking the title of Baroness Hale of Richmond.
Lady Hale’s career culminated in being appointed the first female president of the Supreme Court. She became the focus of public attention when the Supreme Court ruled that the government’s decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue parliament in September 2019 was unlawful.
During her career, she has written significant books on mental health law, family law and women in the law.
Baroness Hale retired from the Supreme Court in January 2020 and was due to spend a month last year sitting in the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong but that, like many other engagements, fell victim to the pandemic.