October 11 is UN International Day of the Girl Child, a day where we together recognise the unique challenges girls face around the world and seek to advance the rights of girls and women.
In honour of this day, Pearce IP has given a generous donation to A21, a charity chosen by the Pearce IP team, whose mission is to end slavery by breaking the cycle of trafficking.
We asked our CEO Naomi Pearce some questions about the challenges she faced as a girl. The challenges she faced in the 1970s and 1980s remain contemporary. With three university degrees and more than 25 years of legal practice Naomi discusses her life goals as a young girl, the gender challenges she has overcome, and advice she would give to the young version of herself, given the chance.
When you were a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A medical missionary, living in a mud hut in Africa, treating the poor and vulnerable with life saving medicines. [Not entirely unrelated, as a pharmaceutical patent lawyer & attorney, I am proud to have supported clients supplying life saving medicines around the world for more than 20 years.]
Can you share an example of when someone tried to limit you because of your gender, and you proved them wrong?
My sisters and I were blessed to be raised by a fiercely intelligent and successful mother, who instilled in us at a young age that we could be anything we wanted to be if we set our minds to it, and I whole-heartedly believed her. My gender just never seemed relevant to whether I would succeed… except when I signed up for the local cricket team at age 11, and I was told that I was not allowed to “under the constitution” because I was “not a boy”. Undeterred, I convinced the grown-ups to amend the constitution to allow girls to play! (In parallel I “punished” them for their “stupidity” by never joining the club!). Too often law firms present as a “boys club”, with subtle and perhaps subconscious cultural norms mirroring those of that cricket club in the 1980s. As a woman I am still working toward changing the rules so that female lawyers can shine and thrive!
If you could give the young you some advice regarding gender inequality, what would it be?
Your mum is right.
Why are you passionate about encouraging and enabling girls (in particular) to thrive?
I recognise that not everyone has Mum’s wisdom, and many little girls receive and live by a different narrative. I am passionate about seeing girls and women SHINE, unconstrained by the limits others would seek to impose on them because of their gender. I love it when wise and secure people enable and further the opportunities of the worthy, and look forward to the day when -truly- gender is irrelevant to opportunities and success.
Pearce IP’s CEO and Executive Lawyer and Patent Attorney Naomi Pearce says:
“We are really proud of Pearce IP’s overachieving and successful women, and celebrate their incredible resilience and success. The vast majority of Pearce IP’s leaders and team are high achieving women. Women currently make up 84% of our firm, 100% of our Executive Lawyers and 83% of our non Executive Special Counsel/Director level leaders.
In honour of International Day of the girl Child, it is a privilege to give to A21 today, to support the plight of victims of human trafficking, and to be part of a movement to end slavery.”