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Celebrating International Women’s Day

International women's day 2024

Celebrating International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a significant occasion that highlights the achievements and challenges faced by women around the world. On this day, we should celebrate the strides made in the direction of women’s empowerment and gender equality, but we should also take time to critically reflect on those achievements and work to accelerate the global movement toward gender equality. The day dedicated to empowering women also shines a light on the current state of women’s rights. This calls attention to problems including violence against women, reproductive rights, and gender equality. To this day, women encounter a number of difficulties and this blog briefly looks at how women have been discriminated against historically and in more recent years.

The difficulty for divorcing women dates all the way back to the1800s. The Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857 is a classic illustration of this. According to this law, a man might dissolve a marriage if his wife had an adulterous relationship, but a woman wishing to do the same would also need to provide evidence of another marital infraction, for example desertion, cruelty, incest or bigamy. In addition to this, the law asserted that a mother had no legal rights to her children if she was divorced due to adultery! Thankfully, times have changed significantly since then, yet stereotypes of women and divorce still persist. Examples of this include stigmatising single women, pinning the blame on them for ‘breaking up the family,’ or criticising them for moving on ‘too quickly.’

The renowned White v White case from 2000 changed the rules, with equal distribution now serving as the foundation for divorce settlements. Prior to this case, wives of wealthy men could not have hoped to successfully argue for parity, or anything close to it. The decision in White to treat the contributions of a breadwinner and homemaker equally when allocating the marital assets was what made it so revolutionary. It was once presumed that the husband would provide the lion’s share of the income, but as society and times progress, female breadwinners are becoming more and more prevalent. Women now have the ability and choice to become more career focused, perhaps having children later in life, and instead pursuing their career first, a decision that was not as readily available to them as it is now.

At Maguire Family Law, equality of gender is not something we have ever had to strive to address, with the majority of our family team being made up of women, we strongly encourage women to speak up, celebrate achievements and stand by one another as a team. As family solicitors, we have experience with a wide range of family dynamics, meeting people from all walks of life, we aim to empower each and every one of our clients by providing the legal guidance they require in order to make a well-informed decision. We believe that so many positive relationships are fostered by empowered women in both their families and in society.

Whilst there is a great deal to celebrate there are still strides to be made. We would love to hear your views on how discrimination still exists in the law and what you think we could do to make change. We commonly experience the traditional relationship where perhaps husband is the ‘breadwinner’ and wife feels financially trapped. With any real legal aid a woman in this scenario might be left to represent herself in court.  We would recommend always taking advice from a family solicitor to discuss options available.

Here’s to the incredible women who continue to break barriers, inspire change, and shape the world around them. Happy International Women’s Day! As we celebrate the strength and resilience of women around the world, may we continue to uplift, empower and support one another.

For specialist advice on any family law related issue contact Maguire Family Law by email: or telephone:

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