#IWD2018: Who Inspires: Charlotte Lewis?

Thursday, 8th March 2018

Name: Charlotte Lewis
Job title: Solicitor
Company: Hill Dickinson

Charlotte is a Commercial Healthcare solicitor working with public and private healthcare organisations.

Which woman has inspired you most?

My Nanna – she’s the strongest woman I know. At aged 84 she continues to live a healthy, happy and independent life.

She’s not had it easy! She was born into a very poor family and grew up during the second world. Her mother died when she was in her late teens and as the eldest of 10 children, she had to take care of her siblings. Her husband (my grandfather) caught polio resulting in permanent physical disability which limited his ability to work. My Nanna worked her whole life (even with small children – not common when she was younger) to support her family.

She’s a very intelligent woman. She was the top of her class at school but never had the opportunities that would mean she could go to university. She tells stories of how she knew far more than the men she worked for but could never correct them. She’d drop hints and then when they realised they were wrong she would be there to pick up the pieces!

A few years after my granddad’s untimely death (aged just 64) my Nanna met her second husband and they settled down to enjoy a long and happy retirement together. However soon after he developed vascular dementia and once again my Nanna took up the role as carer until his death a couple of years ago. I am pleased to say that, after taking some time to mourn, she is now making the most of her incredible mental and physical strength and fitness and spends her time between gardening, holidaying and ‘getting the better of that laptop’!

It’s been said I take after her; I couldn’t be more proud. I will keep pushing for progress for my Nanna and women like her, who deserved far more than they got but kept going anyway. And I will keep pushing for all of the women and girls who will come after me, who need us to lay the foundations for them, as we needed women like my Nanna to do it for us.

Which famous/historical woman inspires you most?

Maya Angelou – her words never fail to inspire me. Her poems are food for the soul.

What does feminism mean to you?

Equality – pure and simple.

Have you found your industry to be particularly tougher for women? If so, how did you overcome this?

It’s broadly accepted that the legal profession is tougher for women. For me the biggest change has come about since working for a woman who wants to see progression in equality generally and in the legal profession specifically. We all need role models and having one I can learn from every day has been very powerful for my own development. The sooner we have more women at the top level to inspire the younger generation, the better.

This year’s #IWD2018 theme is #PressForProgress how do you feel, as women we can push for equality faster?

2018 feels like a tipping point. Feminism and gender equality are making the headlines. I feel that we need to make the most of this opportunity. Keep shouting, keep fighting and never give up until we have equality.