By Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr
In celebrating 100 years since women were admitted to the legal profession, the WOZA Leadership Academy (WLA), in partnership with Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH), paid homage to the women who carved the paths for current and future female lawyers, at a luncheon at the CDH offices in Cape Town on Wednesday, 12 April 2023.
“Whilst we celebrate the enormous strides for women in this profession, it is important that we tell the story of the legacy of women in law. It remains a work in progress to guard against the barriers to progression which impedes women from reaching top positions and turn around the slow pace of gender transformation in the judiciary,” said Rehana Khan Parker from WLA.
Despite significant strides having been made for parity over the years in the legal sector, the representation of women in key leadership roles remains a challenge.
“As women, our ability to multitask is one of the most sophisticated and valuable attributes we share and we should never allow this to be downplayed as an old cliché,” added Megan Rodgers, Head of the Oil & Gas sector at CDH.
“We juggle the demands of work and family life on a daily basis, but there are times when we need to focus that energy toward the achievement of our personal goals and we should not feel guilt or shame in doing so – it is not selfish behaviour, it is deserved,” she continued.
Megan completed her LLB and LLM degrees at the University of the Western Cape. Whilst completing her LLM degree she took up a graduate lecturing assistant position at the institution. She trained as an upstream Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) lawyer and for the past decade has been making waves in a unique area of law.
“The M&A processes in the upstream oil and gas sector are unique, technically complex and highly specialised. As an oil and gas lawyer in the upstream oil and gas sector, I work with frontier energy companies, major and supermajor energy companies and develop a skill set which is cross-border and translatable. I have had the opportunity to work on transactions and oil and gas development projects in over thirteen countries across four continents,” said Megan.
WLA believes that it is the duty of women in law to consistently develop a cadre of women who will be trained to offer support and ensure that candidates are well-equipped as they progress in their careers. At present, the judiciary is still male-dominated and whilst South Africa has made substantial strides to elevate women, more needs to be done.
Statistics show that out of approximately 256 judges in South Africa, only 114 are women.
The WLA’s 100-year milestone celebration is extended across the country and aims to commemorate the achievements and to help nurture a new generation of female lawyers to reflect the depth and diversity of the parts played by women lawyers since their first admission 100 years ago.
About Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr:
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is a full-service law firm – with an extensive reach across Africa – consisting of more than 350 lawyers and a track record spanning over 169 years. We are able to provide experienced legal support and an authentic knowledge-based and cost-effective legal service for clients looking to do business in key markets across Africa.