Women in the insolvency and company restructuring sectors have set up a UK branch of the the International Women's Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC).
The new network is part of an organisation started by New York lawyer Selinda Melnik of Rogers & Wells last year, and now boasts members in 20 countries.
Particularly strong in the US, Canada and Australia, the IWIRC offers membership to a wide range of lawyers, accountants, bankers, academics and others in the sector.
Men in the insolvency sector, rather than being banned, are welcomed as members as long as they support the central aims of promoting the interests of women in insolvency.
Judith Naylor, insolvency partner at Allen & Overy, Karen Silcock, partner at accountancy firm Touche Ross, and Nabarro Nathanson solicitor Marika Chalkiadis are responsible for establishing the IWIRC in London
“Our aims are to provide a forum for debate and promotion of women in the field, providing them with an opportunity for networking and business development,” says Naylor.
“We are certainly not here to wield 'petticoat power' or anything like that,” she adds.
More than 100 professionals from banks, City regulators, and private practice, including solicitors, barristers and top silks, attended the group's inaugural meeting.
IWIRC hopes to complement other organisations in the field, and will work alongside the Society for Practitioners of Insolvency and the International Bar Association. It will also seek membership of umbrella body INSOL.
Speakers at IWIRC's first meeting this autumn include Mrs Justice Mary Arden, Hilary Heilbron QC and Elizabeth Gloster QC.