Female attorneys, magistrates, judges and prosecutors gathered during the week of 24 to 28 April 2023 at various High Courts and Advocates’ Chambers, to celebrate the centenary of the promulgation of the Women Legal Practitioners Act of 1923, that allowed for the admission of women to the legal profession in South Africa.
One of these special sittings were held at the Pretoria Division of the High Court Gauteng. National Prosecuting Head, Shamila Batohi, who was one of the speakers at the event, pointed out that, while it was clear that progress had been made, many challenges still existed for women in the profession. “Women are now indeed joining this noble profession in their numbers, and also increasingly occupying leadership positions within the profession and also in key government institutions. I’m proud to be part of that collective of women who are leading government institutions” said Batohi.
A similar event was hosted by the Pretoria Society of Advocates, through the initiative of advocates Linda Retief and Kgaogelo Ramaimela. The theme for the evening was “yesterday, today and tomorrow”, celebrating the voices earned by female practitioners of the “yesterday” who, through their actions, ensured the passing of the now repealed act which barred women from practising law. The event was joined by over 170 female practitioners, saluting the “yesterday”, acknowledging the “today” and calling for footprints of continued change for “tomorrow”.