By DebbieH 16 Mar 2018 7 min read

Law Society takes closer look at gender equality in legal profession

The Law Society has conducted the largest ever international survey of gender equality in the legal profession. 7,781 responses were collected (5,758 women, 554 men, 20 other, and 1,449 unknown).

Christina Blacklaws, vice president of The Law Society said: “While more and more women are becoming lawyers, this shift is not yet reflected at more senior levels in the profession. Our survey and a wider programme of work during my presidency in 2018-19 seek to understand progress, barriers and support remedies.”

Key figures from the report:

  • 60% of respondents said that they were aware of a gender pay gap in their place of work. However, only 16% of these reported seeing visible steps being taken to address the gender pay gap.
  • There is a difference in perception of progress on gender equality over the last five years by gender. 74% of men feel that there has been some progress on gender equality whereas only 48% of women felt the same.
  • 91% of respondents felt that a flexible working culture is critical to improving diversity in the legal profession. This opinion was shared by both men and women.

Other questions tackled issues such as barriers to career progression for women with 52% citing unconscious bias as the top reason that women are outnumbered by men in senior positions. 49% felt that an unacceptable work/life balance is demanded to reach senior levels and 46% felt that traditional networks/routes to promotion are male orientated.

Blacklaws added: “With our women in leadership programme, the Law Society is committed to giving women and men in law the tools to make positive changes towards gender equality. Every law firm, solicitor and client will benefit from greater equality in our places of work. I believe our justice system will also be stronger if the legal profession better reflects the values we uphold.”

To see the full results, go to The Law Society’s website.