Celebrating International Women’s Day

Date published:

Tuesday 8 March 2022 marks International Women’s Day, a day to globally celebrate the achievements of women culturally, politically, economically and socially. The theme for 2022 is #BreakTheBias, calling for everyone to be part of a movement towards a more equal, diverse, equitable and inclusive world.

To celebrate the day and recognise some of our remarkable leaders at NHS Resolution, we spoke with Janice Barber, NHS Resolution Non-Executive Director, who was appointed to the role in January 2022.

What is your role at NHS Resolution?

I am a newly appointed non- executive member of the NHS Resolution Board.

What inspired you to get into your chosen career?

My chosen career was as an NHS lawyer and my inspiration was twofold: I wanted to enter a profession and thus

a.     acquire a degree of autonomy over my working life

b.     practice, in some fashion, within the NHS

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

International Women’s Day gives society – here and overseas – an opportunity to pause and consider whether they are doing enough to realise the potential of approximately half of their human capital.

Why is it so important to have more senior female leaders working in and around the NHS?

It is important to realise the potential of all women working in and around the NHS. In some cases that will be in leadership roles, but the most important thing is to enable all of them to have fulfilling professional lives that makes the most of their talents.

What are you doing to support other women?

I was fortunate to work in a practice that not only had no “glass ceiling” but actively promoted women. I understand I was the first female Managing Partner of any firm within the top 100 practices and later one of the relatively few female Senior Partners. As such, women in our practice (Hempsons) had no doubt that if they wanted to, they could rise to the top of the firm.  Indeed, Hempsons’ current Senior Partner is Anne Ball.

Are there any women, either in your field or outside of it, who you admire and why?

I admire many, many women within the NHS medicine and the law – a few current examples: Carolyn Regan – the Chief Executive of West London NHS Trust who leads a Trust that provides engaged and compassionate care for all of its patients and service users (who range from patients of Broadmoor to those receiving care as outpatients in the community), which, despite all the challenges, has remained in financial balance.

Lesley Regan (another newly appointed Non-Executive Director of NHS Resolution) an outstanding Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology who has been a clinical leader for most of her professional career with too many achievements to comprehensively list but one in particular stands out – Lesley was the first female President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in decades.

Dame Nicola Davies QC, now a Judge in the Court of Appeal, who started her career representing clinicians in the General Medical Council (GMC) and defending clinical negligence claims. Nicola was a fearless advocate who (in the language of litigation lawyers) “took no prisoners” and many of my clients benefitted from her grit, determination and skill.

If you could go back in time, what one’s piece of advice you would give your 16-year-old self?

It will be worth it.

What would you say to women who are just starting in their careers?

Remain open to all challenges and opportunities.