To celebrate International Women's Day 2020, we asked our female colleagues how women have helped them progress and develop in their careers - and how they have returned the favour.

I've been lucky in my career to always have a female role model at work which has made such a difference.

Finding someone you respect and who supports you though is more important in my view than the gender of the role model. It has always been important for me to have senior female colleague to give me a bit of reassurance, a pat on the back and a firm nudge in the right direction (where needed).

I try to provide more junior female colleagues reassurance that the female senior colleagues have been where they are, to discuss ways to help manage the challenges of career progression, but also to reassure that it's always possible to do it your own way – there is no right and wrong –  be brave."

Mary Lawrence, Partner and Osborne Clarke Gender Champion.

When I was just 18, my senior colleague Rachel knew I wanted to take my legal executive exams, with a view to qualifying as a solicitor.

She made the time to take me out for coffee, to talk about the course, and how to balance this with working as a paralegal whilst studying, as she had done. We're still in touch more than 20 years later, and I'll never forget her kindness.

Since Rachel, I've always made the effort to ensure my door (even if working open plan), is open to talk to more junior female lawyers about their options to qualify, particularly to support anyone considering the route to qualification I did, as my part time courses had lots more women than men.

Recently, I've also been keen to encourage any women who wish to move away from fee earning and into a business related legal role, as I have done, and not to see that as second best to being a lawyer."

Fiona Boag, Legal Applications Analyst

Throughout my career I've been fortunate to work alongside many incredible successful women.

Alongside supporting my professional development, they've helped me to manage my home / work life balance and to learn that it's ok to compromise and prioritise depending on where the need is.

To have strong female role models who are successful professionally whilst managing a busy home life, has given me the confidence to do the same".

Louise Braithwaite, Business Support Manager

"As a young lawyer, it was very motivating to see how my female colleagues have become Partners while working part-time and juggling family responsibilities.

It is very inspiring and important to have these types of role models."

Sonja Riedemann, Senior Counsel, Osborne Clarke in Germany  

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