All hail, Baroness Hale, a woman who be­lieves abil­ity trumps di­ver­sity

The Sunday Telegraph - - Features -

All hail Baroness Hale of Rich­mond, Pres­i­dent of the Supreme Court and Bri­tain’s most se­nior judge. Hav­ing climbed to the very top of the judicial greasy pole, 73-year-old Lady Hale has also, fi­nally, made it onto the pages of Bri­tish Vogue. But in­stead of moon­ing over how won­der­ful it is to be cheekby-jowl with fash­ion icons, or ut­ter­ing the usual plat­i­tudes about in­spi­ra­tion and girl power, the splen­did Baroness has ex­pressed … hum­ble amuse­ment. “A 73-year-old woman like me in Vogue? Hi­lar­i­ous,” was her ver­dict.

But it was her more sub­stan­tial com­ments that I found cheer­ing. In a cli­mate in which tick­ing the right “di­ver­sity” box counts as much – or more – than merit, it was heart­en­ing to hear that her sense of pro­fes­sional duty is not pri­mar­ily to her gen­der, but her work. Be­com­ing top dog of the courts was “not what I set out in life to be – but it’s where I hap­pen to be,” she said, adding she felt she needed to set a good

ex­am­ple by “do­ing a good job” full stop, re­gard­less of gen­der.

Lady Hale is one of three fe­male Supreme Court jus­tices, along with Lady Ar­den and Lady Black. This, she said, is a good thing – not so the fe­male trio can stick to­gether and form a fe­male front, es­pous­ing women’s views (as if there were any such thing), but so that they show the op­po­site: that women don’t all think the same, just as all men don’t.

“One of the rea­sons that it’s very good is that we are each very dif­fer­ent from one an­other, just as the men are dif­fer­ent from one an­other,” she told Vogue. “If it’s only you, peo­ple tend to think, well that’s the woman’s per­spec­tive, that’s how women think, and, of course, we women don’t all think alike.”

In other words, gen­der is a blunt in­stru­ment for lump­ing peo­ple to­gether, and – like all iden­tity group­ings – fails to ac­count for the truly im­por­tant form of di­ver­sity: the ide­o­log­i­cal kind. Hear­ing this from a woman of 73, at the top of her game? Far more in­ter­est­ing (and in­spir­ing!) to me than the usual PC stuff about the virtues of fe­male role models.

In­spi­ra­tion: Baroness Hale

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.