No one is saying it's going to be easy. As women we face many challenges, both internal and external.
Miriam's first two tips, "Don't rule yourself out" and "Speak openly about your ambition" refer to our internal struggles.
Many women weren't raised to be confident risk-takers, whether that was our parents intentions or not, women are often taught to value perfection over taking risks. As such, many women fear stepping outside their comfort zones, fear making mistakes and fear rejection. I believe this is why women don't apply for jobs or promotions if they can't confidently say they fulfil all the desirable qualities listed on the job description. I attended a lecture given by Lorna Fitzsimmons who said: "Men will apply for jobs 2 years before they are experienced enough, whereas women wait until 2 years after." If we keep ruling ourselves out and don't voice our ambition, men will keep beating us to the punch and the struggle to establish a pipeline of women business leaders will continue to hamper progress in the boardroom. Women can overcome the Imposter Syndrome feeling: Feel the fear and do it anyway. And if this seems impossible to do alone - find a mentor or a sponsor, or even a group of supporters - an independent voice who will push you to fulfil your potential.
Miriam's third tip refers to external barriers. Things such as unconscious bias, firm culture and structural rigidity that prevents you being successful in both your personal and professional life. Although, these things may feel like they are out of your control - they are not. There a plenty of law firms out there who do support women in both their working lives and their home lives. Don't feel trapped - find a place where you can flourish irrespective of your gender.
What are your top three tips for female lawyers looking to become partners? Don’t rule yourself out Speak openly about your ambition If after you examine the situation in a self-critical manner, you think you are not getting there only because you are a women, then quit your firm. There are tonnes of other places where you can have a better career. Why is it important that women go for such roles and what are the best bits of doing them? I do not think the issue is whether going for those roles is important ‘for women’, it is whether it is important ‘for you’. Not everybody (man or woman) wants to rise to the top of a particular profession – but if you do and you deserve it, the fact you are a woman should not be an obstacle.