Helena Normanton and the opening of the bar to women


This volume looks at the life and work of England’s first woman practising barrister. Set in the early 20th-century, it describes how a childhood dream to join an Inn of Court – forged when visiting a solicitor with her perplexed mother – led to Helena Normanton’s determination to open the then exclusively male Bar of England and Wales to women. It tells how – largely lost to history – the press were quick to pigeon-hole, harass and publish stories about her, leading to disciplinary proceedings concerning the barrister’s cardinal sin of self-publicising. Once qualified and enmeshed in a world of men, Helena Normanton faced a constant struggle to establish herself against a backdrop of prejudice, misogyny and discrimination.

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