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International Women's Day 2019

Better the balance and better the world. That’s the theme for International Women’s Day 2019: #BalanceforBetter. On March 8 this year a number of individuals and businesses including Shine Lawyers will be celebrating women’s accomplishments – cultural, social, political and economic – while working towards a more gender-balanced future. Events are held worldwide, from concerts and speaking events to fun runs and festivals. You can find out about these events and even publish your own on the official International Women’s Day website.

Women in law

"I am so lucky to work in a place where I truly have never even thought of my gender as a barrier. It means the world to me that I can celebrate my achievements as a female lawyer, and also know that the work that comes my way does not depend on my gender.

I saw a photo recently at the Bar Association Conference in Queensland – the speakers sitting at the table were all women, including the Chief Justice of the High Court, the Chief Justice of Queensland, the Attorney General and the President of the Bar Association. It is amazing to see so many women achieving to such an extent in the law." Leanne McDonald on what it means to her to be a woman in law.

Shine Lawyers work to benefit the entire community and aim to fight for fairness for all people regardless of factors like gender and sexuality. One of the remarkable women at Shine is Leanne McDonald, a Toowoomba-based solicitor who is one of Shine’s National Special Counsel. Leanne has been involved in many cases in her time at Shine and most recently has been involved with the re-opening of the tragic murder case of Annette Mason and representing the Mason family without taking a fee. This particular case is currently ongoing through a second Coronial Inquest.

There’s still a lot of work to be done in Australia before women achieve true safety and equality. On average, one woman a week is killed by a current or former partner and one in three women have experienced physical violence since age 15.

According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, men working full-time earn $25,717 more on average per year than women working the same number of hours.

Lawyers like Leanne aim to work towards a better future for everyone. A future based on safety, human rights, equality of opportunity and #BalanceforBetter.

Celebrating women

I'm a mum, sister, daughter, and friend to loads of awesome women. There is nothing better than spending time with my girl tribe, doing the things that we love to do. Professionally again is about time spent. I love to mentor young lawyers and also collaborate with my more experienced colleagues. Leanne McDonald

Leanne’s Story

Leanne has always been passionate about standing up for those in need and “really couldn’t imagine doing anything else”. This may be why she’s had a legal career for over 20 years and has been with Shine Lawyers for more than a decade. Over that time, she’s held a number of roles including acting for victims of institutional abuse, managing numerous teams and leading training initiatives, including courses for senior litigators.

On top of helping thousands clients over the course of her career, Leanne also undertakes volunteer work focusing on refugee issues.

The Annette Mason Case

Annette Mason was only 15 when her life was tragically cut short. In 1989, she was bludgeoned to death in her family home in Toowoomba, Queensland. No-one has ever been charged with her murder.

In November 2018, the inquest into Annette’s death was re-opened after 29 years. Leanne McDonald, who grew up in Toowoomba, is representing the Mason family for free. Annette’s murder tarnished Toowoomba and the person who killed this young woman was never prosecuted. Leanne wants to ensure that after all these years, justice is finally served for the Mason family.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: March 5, 2019.

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