Regular readers will have clocked that the Sex Disqualification (Removal Act) 1919, which allowed women into the legal profession, has a significant birthday this year.
What to get this centenarian?
Over at the Legal Aid Agency, they’ve hit on the idea of taking their sexist robots in hand.
A friend of Obiter’s was moved to write to the LAA, pointing out that its client and cost management system still uses ‘Dear Sirs’ as the ‘default salutation in all correspondence’. ‘Historically, women would never receive official correspondence, so it made sense to use a generic male salutation,’ our friend writes. But she adds sternly: ‘These days women outnumber men – as the Law Society confirms.’
Replying, the LAA’s person managed a ‘Ms’, and continued: ‘A change is being implemented to tackle this particular issue and update the salutation that is used.’
The agency has plumped for ‘To Whom It May Concern’, though templates for automated responses ‘are still in the process of being changed’.
It is by small but not imperceptible tweaks such as this that the patriarchy will finally be humbled.