Tell us about the influences that inspired you to get a Higher Education?
I was the first generation in my family to attend university and the first female. My grandfather arrived in England as a teenager after leaving Sicily following the war and he worked as a coalminer and later as a factory worker. My mother is one of five siblings and she left high school to work full time as an office worker. She raised me as a single mother and always encouraged me to take the opportunities that she never had growing up. She always saw education as the key to unlocking a fulfilling and successful life and always encouraged me to attend university. With her encouragement and support I was accepted at Oxford University to study English Language and Literature. Oxford was an eye-opening experience for me, and it helped me see just how wide and varied my career options could be.
What is your advice to women who are seeking to further themselves or their career through study?
Further study can be a scary prospect and requires a significant investment of time and money. When I started my LLM, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to find enough time to study and that it would be difficult without face-to-face contact. I was also concerned that living in Myanmar - where a constant supply of electricity and access to the internet could not always be take for granted - would make things difficult, but the LLM programme included all the materials that I needed, including journal articles and case law.
As women, we tend to have lots of commitments to juggle, and so we can sometimes neglect our own aspirations. Of course, distance learning is hard work - it takes discipline and commitment, but it also opens so many doors. Further study allows you to develop your expertise in a subject that you are passionate about and enriches your practical experience.
My advice for any women who are feeling hesitant about further study is to never underestimate what you are capable of. If you study something you are passionate about, you will be motivated to open up the books when you get home from a long day at work, or to set the alarm an hour early so that you can read a case before breakfast. You can set your own pace for studying and sitting examinations and can spread the cost of the course, making it more accessible to women who have other commitments.