08 Mar 2022

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International Women’s Day: Featuring Danielle Howell and Victoria Smithyman

Today is International Women’s Day. To celebrate this important day, Danielle Howell, a Partner in our Clinical Negligence team and Victoria Smithyman, Partner in our Personal Injury team, discuss why today is important to them, women that inspire them, plus much more…

For International Women’s Day, as people across the world come together for the day to champion the successes and achievements of women and call for gender equality, we’ve asked Danielle Howell, and Victoria Smithyman, two of our female partners here at Harding Evans, for their views on this globally important day.

 Q: Why is International Women’s day important to you?

Danielle: It’s a chance to reflect on the sacrifices that have been made by women throughout our history that have allowed us to exist today with cultural, political, and socioeconomic equality and opportunities.

Victoria: I think it’s important to recognise the continued contribution and achievements of women across the globe, no matter how small, as together their actions have helped to change the world and make it a better place for women today.

 

Q: This year’s theme is ‘Break The Bias’; what does that mean to you?

Danielle: A world that is diverse, equitable and inclusive.

Victoria: Taking away all stereotypes – it is the person and their achievements that count.  Everyone is an individual, irrespective of their gender!

 

Q: Who is a woman that inspires you?

Danielle: The actress, Emma Watson, really inspires me. I think she’s a very grounded role model for young women. Following her childhood fame in the Harry Potter films, Watson split her time between working on film projects and continuing her education, graduating from Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in English literature in May 2014. I really admire the fact that education was so important to her.

She was honoured by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2014, winning for British Artist of the Year. That same year, she was appointed as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and helped launch the UN Women campaign “HeForShe”, which calls for men to advocate gender equality.

Victoria: There is no one individual woman who has inspired me more than others, but generally, those who continue to fight for women’s rights, despite facing adversity, and do not give up. These are the women who I admire.

 

Q: What are your personal goals and career goals for 2022?

Danielle: Now that Covid restrictions are easing, I intend to travel and explore new cities as much as possible. In work, I am inspired to continue developing my legal knowledge and skillset within clinical law.

Victoria: To take more time for myself.  Like many other women, I have to wear lots of different hats – Partner, Manager, Mother, Wife, Friend – which leaves me with limited time just to be me.

 

Q: Do you have any advice for other women who are starting out in their career?

Danielle: Plan your path, develop your skillset, continue learning and always make the most of all business, marketing and networking opportunities that are presented to you.

Victoria: You can achieve your goals with hard work and tenacity.  We live in an age when equality is improving all the time and many of the barriers to advancing your career have been removed, so embrace that and you can achieve whatever you put your mind to.

 

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Danielle: The role is challenging but rewarding. Helping our clients piece their lives back together following injury and loss can be the most satisfying feeling. I also really enjoy teaching and training other team members, assisting with their role development.

Victoria: My role often involves dealing with people who have suffered serious injury or who have lost a loved one due to an accident.  Whilst we cannot take that pain away from them, our input can often help to make their lives easier or more bearable, and this is very rewarding.

 

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