Adelaide Law School celebrates commitment to inclusion and gender equality

image of Dean of Law Judith McNamara

As we celebrated International Women’s Day Friday 8 March, it was timely to reflect on the Adelaide Law School’s commitment to inclusion and gender equality.

Adelaide Law School was the first Australian law school to admit women as students and did so from the founding of the law School in 1883. While our women law students weren’t always accorded the same opportunities as their male counterparts, either while studying or as they embarked on their careers, their perseverance and resilience made a difference to the experience of future female students and continue to be felt today.

Our female alumni include the trailblazing Dame Roma Mitchell who graduated in 1934, and went on to achieve many firsts for an Australian woman, including first female Queen’s Counsel, Supreme Court Judge to Governor of South Australia, to name just a few. 

Other notable female graduates include our present Chancellor and former chair of the Australian Human Rights Commission, The Hon Catherine Branson AC KC who is a graduate of the University of Adelaide in both Arts and Law. She is a former Crown Solicitor of South Australia and CEO of the Attorney-General's Department.

Vicki Chapman was our first female Attorney-General and Deputy Premier for the State of South Australia.

Not to mention the incredible Margaret Nyland who held many prominent legal positions including the inaugural Chair of the Commonwealth Social Securities Appeals Tribunal (for South Australia) and Chair of the South Australian Sex Discrimination Board.

And since our first female Law Dean, Marcia Neave in 1987, there has been an even distribution of male and female Deans of Law at the Adelaide Law School.

These incredible foundations will continue to provide a platform for us to provide opportunities for all members of our community, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or other status, ensuring inclusion and equity for everyone.Professor Judith McNamara, Dean of Law at the Adelaide Law School.


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