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Celebrating a Century : 25 September 2019

Celebrating a Century of Equal Opportunities – Keynote Speech and Celebratory Dinner

Celebrating a Century of Equal Opportunities – Keynote Speech and Celebratory Dinner

Commemorating the past, embracing the future, an event series marking 100 years since the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 was enacted on 23 December 1919.

2019 is the centenary year of the enactment of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 which enabled women to join the legal, accountancy and veterinary professions, and also take up senior roles within the civil service for the first time. 100 years ago, in December 1919, the first piece of equal opportunities legislation entered the statute book.

Prior to 1919, under the common law, women were not considered to be “persons” for the purposes of entering most professions, or from holding civil or judicial office. In addition to the professions present here tonight, women were disqualified from participating as jurors and in senior civil service roles. This Act removed that disqualification.

The year ahead will be an exciting time as we continue to celebrate the impact of the legislation on society, acknowledging the contribution of all people to these professions. As equals, it will be interesting to speculate on what the future might hold over the next hundred years.

King’s Inns in collaboration with The Bar of Ireland, the Law Society of Ireland and the Irish Women Lawyers Association, are delighted to be organising a series of events that recognise the impact this Act has had on society over the last 100 years, and to set the scene for the future. 

On Saturday 30 November 2019, we will host a cornerstone event to launch the commemoration programme. For our keynote speech, we are privileged to welcome Dr Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland who is also an Honorary Bencher of King’s Inns. We hope the attendees on the night will reflect the contribution by both women and men from a range of disciplines who are shaping their professions for a brighter and better future.

Event details available here.