Inspiring story of Lady Rae’s path to law included in 100 Voices for 100 Years project
The inspiring story of Lady Rae’s ambition to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather, who defied fascism during the rise of Mussolini, is just one of the pieces collected by Glasgow University as part of its 100 Voices for 100 Years project.
By International Women’s Day 2020 the project plans to have in place a digital exhibition – 100 Voices for 100 Years - featuring the voices of 100 women, past and present, who have a connection to the University of Glasgow School of Law.
Reflecting on her background, Lady Rae, Rita Rae QC, says: “The law is in my blood. My grandfather was an extraordinary individual whose story had a huge influence on me. He literally risked his life in the pursuit of justice.
“Italian, he was a lawyer in Naples during the rise of Mussolini. He was a principled man. He resisted the bullying and intimidation of the politics of the time, standing out, very publicly, against fascism.
“He refused to join ‘the party’ as a result of which my mother, his only child, was not permitted to attend school because of his views. Despite that, she was educated at home and attained university entrance standard.
“She planned to follow in her father’s footsteps, studying law in Italy, but the war intervened and like so many of that generation her dreams were shattered. One of her greatest gifts to me was to instill in me principles of honesty and integrity.”
Elsewhere she writes: “The attitude of some male lawyers was infuriating. I remember one very prominent advocate referring to female advocates as “advocettes”. Some years later, on the first occasion he appeared before me when I was on the bench, I permitted myself a wry smile.”