Last week, Alma-Constance Denis-Smith, the seven-year-old daughter of Obelisk Support CEO Dana Denis-Smith, stepped up in front of almost 750 guests at the British Legal Awards to give a speech about her mother’s charity, the First 100 Years, which aims to inspire future generations of female lawyers by raising awareness of success stories from the past. With Dana’s permission, here is the speech in full
Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I am Alma-Constance Denis-Smith. I am seven years old and both my parents are lawyers.
I was three years old when my mummy, Dana Denis-Smith, started the First 100 Years – so it has taken over half my life.
First 100 Years starts in 1919. Then, women were just starting to be allowed to work as lawyers. A long time ago, women could not work, as men kept telling them that they had to stay at home with their children. Which is just ridiculous – why would women not be allowed to work?
If I was born then and I was not allowed to work, I would be absolutely sad. Especially if I wanted to be a woman like Brenda Hale, or in Parliament – not just being at home to feed the children. When I grow up, I want to work and get money for the whole family.
I am happy that now women are working, because some people encouraged them to work and to build their careers.
That’s why my mum’s First 100 Years is important to me. When I watch the films, I feel that I understand better how it was before me, when ladies could not work as lawyers, and some of the silly reasons that were used to stop them.
For me, the big lesson of the project is that it is important for a woman not just to start a career, but to have a whole legal career. It is not enough to draw a building on a notepad – you have to build it to make it of any lifetime use.
I am here to represent the next generation that will benefit from this project – your daughters and your granddaughters. You should encourage them to work as lawyers. You should help them to have a whole career in law.
I want to make sure that the project that my mummy created will inspire thousands more women. I want more cash from you. Thank you.