Women in Law: It's hard to be what you can't see: A project celebrating the achievements of women working in the law in Northern Ireland who have forged a path

Susanne Rea, Kathryn McNeilly

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This project stems from the School of Law’s commitment to the Athena SWAN Charter for gender equality, and its recognition of the importance of celebrating the successes of women in a visible way. It marks both the centenary of women’s suffrage (1918), and one hundred years since the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act (1919); an amendment to the law which sought to ensure against the disqualification of women by “sex or marriage from the exercise of public function”. This commission therefore comes at a watershed moment and serves to celebrate the progress that has been made through the lives of a group of remarkable women – both professionals and students – who have forged a path.

The concept for the project was born out of a simple idea: to make these women visible in a way that is relatable to those who will follow in their footsteps. For the students who will pass through the halls of the School of Law at Queen’s University, it is perhaps difficult for them to imagine themselves in positions of responsibility, influence or power, where they could make a positive impact on the world. This project aims to show those young people that the judges, lawyers, teachers, politicians and policy makers of today were the students of yesterday, with the same aspirations, hopes and fears.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBelfast
PublisherQueen's University Belfast
Commissioning bodyQueen's University Belfast
Number of pages56
ISBN (Print)978-1-909131-89-7
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 May 2019
EventEducating Rita: Training and Education for Women - The Linenhall Library, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Duration: 2 Aug 202118 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Susie Rea was brought up in Belfast. She read History at Cambridge University before studying Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London. After living for almost a decade in London, she relocated home to Belfast in 2007, where she now lives and works. She combines her fine art and commercial photographic practices with teaching and research at Ulster University, Belfast, where she is currently studying for a PhD with practice.

The School of Law commissioned this project in 2018 as part of its ongoing Athena SWAN work. The brief was to create original artwork(s) to visualise and celebrate women working in all aspects of the law in Northern Ireland, including the future generation of legal professionals, as represented by the School’s student body. Working with Athena SWAN Champion, Dr Kathryn McNeilly, Susie Rea aims, through the project, to focus our attention on the importance of strong female role models, in their capacity as both pathfinders and leaders.


  • Women
  • Law
  • Lawyers
  • judiciary
  • Civil servants
  • activists
  • Women in Northern Irish Politics
  • Centenary
  • Suffrage
  • Art and Politics
  • Art
  • Photography
  • Susie Rea
  • Artist
  • Book
  • Companion text
  • It's hard to be what you can't see
  • women in law
  • leadership


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