62% of women lawyers say gender hinders career progress

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Six in 10 female lawyers believe that their gender has impeded the growth of their careers, according to a new research by recruitment specialist Laurence Simmons.
In its latest survey, the firm found out that 62% of women lawyers felt that their gender had prevented them from getting the top roles in the legal profession, UK tabloid law website Legal Cheek reported.
In contrast, only 16% of male lawyers said their gender had acted as barriers in their careers.
The study, which polled more than 1,000 partner profiles, revealed that 21% of partners at Magic Circle firms and 19% of partners at Silver Circle firms are women.
Nearly half or 47% of the respondents said enforced or voluntary quotas would be “ineffective” in addressing gender inequality among the leading law firms.
The respondents suggested other ways to close the gap such as focusing on flexible working arrangements, retention of top female talent and leadership development programmes tailored to women.
While 42% of women lawyers supported quotas to ensure gender balance at partnership level, only 16% of their male counterparts agreed with them.
The Laurence Simmons report suggested that it will take 64 years to have equal gender representation at the senior level in law firms.
“Gender quotas are very much chicken before the egg and to truly solve the problem of gender equality in the legal industry we need to tackle the root causes of the issue, not just tinker with the results of a dysfunctional system,” Laurence Simons global managing director Clare Butler was quoted as saying in the Legal Cheek report.
“Key to overcoming the gender equality problem is setting up a forum in law firms, and amongst legal teams, where women feel comfortable discussing the attitudes and practices that might be holding them back,” Butler added.
  • Odie on 1/09/2016 6:21:41 PM

    Muh Misogyneeeee is showing, according to BH. What's next, a dose of "Patriarchy". Perhaps interspersed with a "check your privilege" or two. Should I feel ashamed to be a cis male, or should my shame stem mostly from being white? I did also enjoy the standard strategy of implying that I'm socially inept - gasp - simply because I disagree with you. Jesus, you social justice femitards all sound alike. By utilising your own process of reasoning, I assume then that you're an overweight lesbian with blue hair and a lot of cats? See, stereotypes go both ways. I did also still notice that you failed to present any compelling evidence to support your gender pay gap tosh. Hardly surprising.

  • Otto on 25/08/2016 6:23:53 PM

    Every your opinion makes sense. And if you want to know mine, there is no difference in gender if you are a professional in your area. Had a couple of cases in the past and I had been working with both men and women since then. Actually, this article helped me to meet them http://brunoboys.net/index.php/entry/injury-worries-and-not-just-in-your-fantasy-sports-line-up I’m completely satisfied with the cooperation with them.

  • William on 23/08/2016 5:26:50 PM

    Nikita states:

    “William that is certainly a self serving method of defining work!”

    Nikita’s comment is once again a defamatory comment. The scientific method is not “self serving”.

    In using the scientific method in assessing work by the unit of work ( “joules”) tasks can properly be compared. For instance, using the “time” assessment method means that a female’s “one hour of feather dusting” is equivalent to a male’s ”one hour of digging an agricultural trench”

    Nikita States:

    “And your last sentence is just completely wrong, the whole point is to quantify work done in and outside the home.”

    But, if that’s the case. The “joules method” certainly quantifies the work of both men and women very well.

    Its clear from the history of feminism that they have adopted a strategy where they remove issues from the context so that they can lessen a man’s contribution to the family unit and increase a woman’s contribution. The real story is that both contribute to the Family Unit as they both love the family.

    The feminists attempt to compare what men and women in the Family do is divisive as they intend it to be. History reveals that they want to cheat people and women out of a loving family and instead want women to be subservient to an employer.

  • Rashda Rana SC on 17/08/2016 9:29:22 AM

    There is such a forum - ArbitralWomen. We are leading the way in promoting women not just in dispute resolution but also the law generally. I agree there has to be a place to discuss, to find the words to lead change. In doing so, one must be inclusive since men will have to be a part of that change.

  • william on 16/08/2016 4:41:36 PM

    Nikita should perhaps do a course in organisational development. It is clear that neither competence nor gender is the essential ingredient in promotion. Clearly it is networking that brings out the result.

    The strongest networking is the bond between sexual partners and then it all goes downhill.

    The continued harping about the gender game is a technique used by feminists and minority groups to gain leverage.

    The amount of incompetent people in senior positions is exasperating but the truth is that the incompetency has nothing to do with gender difference.

    You might note the blinkered view of Nikita in only providing one scenario instwead of all the different kind of scenarios that lead to there being more men in those positions. Nothing is mentioned of the large amount of women who prefer to be with their families instead of working.

    It is a typical practice of this kind of minority group never to admit anything contrary to their own strategies. On that basis their strategies are doomed to fail.

  • LM on 16/08/2016 3:18:41 PM

    I am a millennial (although not proud of it) who has worked for the same small law firm for 7 years. I enjoy my job, and I think I am good at it. I trust and respect my boss, and I like to think I am one of his most valued employees.

    I am married and my husband and I would like to have children soon. We both come from big families and we value the family unit and want that for ourselves.

    We both work to be able to afford the ridiculous Sydney rent prices, food prices, etc. We do not think it is possible to get by in a modest but comfortable way on my husband's salary alone. So the conclusion is that I will have to work.

    I would love (or think I would love) to be a stay at home mother. But the cost of living is so high, it does not appear to be an option.

    I am terrified about how having a child will impact my job. I have never seen a colleague return to work at my firm after maternity leave. I know that when I have a child I will no longer be able to work in the way I have been working for the last 7 years (11-12 hour days), and that this may lead to me losing my job. I think that would be a real shame, as I have in-depth knowledge of our areas of work, our in-house documents, our processes and procedures.

    I can't be the only person who is in this boat. I don't know what the solution is, but I do know that this is a problem.

  • Nikita Robertson on 16/08/2016 3:06:21 PM

    William that is certainly a self serving method of defining work! And your last sentence is just completely wrong, the whole point is to quantify work done in and outside the home.

  • Nikita Robertson on 11/08/2016 10:30:57 AM

    The point is that the best man or woman often doesn't get the job, very often a just competent man will get the job over an exceptional woman - that is the point. It happens time and time again.
    At least part of the problem is that people will recruit or promote people they are comfortable working with, which usually means who are like them, which means the same sex. This means the disproportionate number of men in top positions is self continuating. Quotas will redress the balance.

  • William on 9/08/2016 5:22:50 PM

    In regards to house work.

    The method of assessment of work ics incorrect and doesn't reflect the nature of the work completed by each gender.

    Scientifically speaking "work" is properly measured using "joules" because it means "heavy" tasks done in a short time carried out by an individual are taken into account.

    When using that method then the respective input into the household shows that men and women both do the same amount of work.

    In any case, men do household work by simp[ly going to work in paid employment.

  • BH on 11/07/2016 7:54:53 PM

    Sorry Odie, you must think we all came down in the last shower. Looking up a couple of American women paid by US based conservative think tanks to dispute feminist discourse on Wikipedia doesnt quite count as "research". And, when you have calmed down a little, you might want to read what I wrote again. I wasnt talking about the gender pay gap, I was talking about who does the lion's share of housework in AUSTRALIA, something the ABS does EVERY FIVE YEARS, and is reported by people (that's right Odie - the boys and the girls - even you) and has been unwavering in the fact that 70% of housework and childcare is still being done, accordingly to both boys and girls, by women.

    Nor do a few big words interspersed with references to me as a "pumpkin" and a "victim" do much to detract from the evident mysogyny in which you are embedded. It kind of discounts your rant even more and left me feeling a little sorry for you. Sounds like you have struggled to compete in this brave new world where women have joined the workforce. I hope things improve for you and I do hope, for your sake, that you are not left in the position of making those tragic life choices - there is a very long list of confused dads just like you waiting their day in the family court, just to get a chance to know their life choices. Best of luck with that.

  • william on 30/06/2016 4:10:02 PM

    Feminists chasing gender equality haven't done anything in regards to professions dominated by women. No gender equality debate there. (86% of teachers are women)

    There is also a larger number of men who are doctors. But, when Oprah asked an elderly black female doctor about her experience of discrimination the elderly black female doctor told her that she experienced no discrimination during her training sometime in the 1930's or 1940's.

    My experience with elderly female doctors aged about mid 80 was that both of them absolutely rejected the notion that there was any discrimination.

    the feminazi's will say anything to get their sympathies from others.

    If you wanted to see which coalition of power was most powerful in the workplace you need go no further than the private school elite who have dominated the legal system for hundreds of years.

  • Odie on 30/06/2016 9:09:55 AM

    BH, I see you're quoting the mythical gender pay gap to support your flimsy arguments.

    Here's a hot tip: the gender pay gap has already been disproved on more than one occasion. If you'd like to educate yourself, you should Google a lady by the name of Christina Hoff-Sommers. There’s also a book called “Why Men Earn More”. It is clear that the gender pay gap is a myth. Good luck trying to disprove that conclusion - plenty have tried and failed.

    And if you need any more help grasping the point, I'll pose you a simple question: if women do get paid only 70 cents on the dollar earned by men for doing the same work, then which employer in his or her right mind would ever employ men?

    I do also find some amusement at your amateurish attempts to smear any who disagree with you. This is the standard strategy for the social justice feminist types who agitate for gender quotas. You can’t meet the argument with plausible evidence, so you suggest that your opponent is unqualified to argue. Very tiresome. Very lazy.

    You know nothing of me, I know nothing of you. I do know, through your citation as evidence of the debunked gender pay gap, that you aren't very knowledgeable about important aspects of this debate. I've kindly directed you to some resources that should help you, good luck with your research.

    The issue here is that third wave intersectional feminism has misled men and women into a number false assumptions; the most common and damaging of which is the notion that you can "have it all." When you combine this with the suggestion that stay at home mothers are somehow inferior (true "choice feminists" are now an endangered species), you create a cohort of misguided souls who believe that society must make way for their personal decisions. You also have a dogma driven modern feminist movement which relies on a steady flow of “victims” to further propagate its existence. It’s in their interests for you to think you are somehow being victimised.

    Sorry, pumpkin, but if you want to have kids, then someone in the family - mum or dad, maybe even both - is going to have to make a sacrifice to care for them. If you don't want to sacrifice your career, don't have kids. Pretty simple. If you want to take more time off or have more holidays, the same applies.

    What is now being proposed by third wave feminists and the social justice movement is that employers should be forced to pay for people’s own personal decisions. Let me make something clear if you believe in the above, these are your life decisions. Neither your employer nor anyone else in society owes you a damned thing. Your colleague who has elected not to have children or has ensured that their own lifestyle choices were least disruptive, and who has built greater experience and practical acumen than you owes you even less. That person also deserves career advancement ahead of you.

    The sooner you realise that, then the sooner you can understand how actions lead to consequences.

  • BH on 24/06/2016 9:07:04 AM

    Really, we have lawyers who actually believe that the world will just change if the "best person" is chosen for the job? This is apparently a reflection of intelligence? So, who is doing the choosing? And on what criteria? When I see the men gathering at drinks at Allens reminiscing about their wonderful golf games and offering to bring each other in on big matters, I do wonder about that so called "best person selection" criteria.

    It seems to have a lot more to do with whether we stroke each other's egos in the right way and, if Odie's resentful comments are anything to go by, its kind of obvious that women arent even welcome at those discussions. As the ABS statistics keep revealing, the only difference between the "Mad Men" era of the 50s and today is that the fact that we are much cleverer at concealing our prejudices and biases against women and people of colour. Even though 70% of women are employed in some capacity, they still do the lion's share of housework and childcare. Men still earn 3 times more for doing the same work - particularly in manufacturing, but this has to do with the fact that women work part time. Why do they work part time? Because they are doing the lions share of the child care and the house work. So what has changed since the 50s? Women work harder is all.

    Pat - this trickle down effect - that really worked for South Africa for so many years didnt it?

    As for Odie's "personal choices", the sad truth is that you were someone's personal choice once. Let's hope your mother was not a single mother and that her limited earning capacity by reason of her "personal choices" did not affect your chance to live in a decent area, attend a decent school, go to university and stay healthy.

    No, by all accounts it sounds like you were raised in a secure, well off, cloistered privileged environment and your sense of entitlement is bigger than Ben Hur.

    I am no longer surprised by the level of unconscious bias and prejudice I see and hear amongst Australians but I have to say it is disheartening to know that no amount of education fixes it. The fact that a bunch of men, who stand to lose from affirmative action, can so confidently assert an argument without acknowledging their inherent conflict of interest - says it all.

  • Pat on 22/06/2016 12:06:50 PM

    Nikita I'll bet you are a millennial. Assuming this nobody owes you anything, you aren't a victim and whatever you want you have to work hard for.
    As an intelligent person surely you can see the effect of quotas. It is a way of dumbing down society. The best person, man or woman, should get the job.

  • Frankly on 21/06/2016 10:19:58 AM

    No, Odie understands exactly.

  • Nikita Robertson on 20/06/2016 3:29:18 PM

    Odie - I guess it's hard to understand unless you've actually experienced it first hand.

  • BH on 15/06/2016 3:08:17 PM

    I just love the many euphemisms this country is capable of generating for its discriminatory and racist practices. It is like living in an apartheid era where everyone claims the policy is all about public safety!

    The few women who made it in magic circle firms did so on informal quotas - ones driven by their male colleagues who, for nepotistic or image related reasons, pushed their cause.

    They were often the most difficult to work for because they were trying to behave like the boys while juggling family responsibilities and pretending they werent. That meant that they were either emotionally under a lot of strain or unreasonably demanding of their staff. So no real mentoring going on there and if anything, they preferred male staff who could commit the time and effort and they turned younger women off from working in the law altogether.

    Ironically, these are now the very women who do not think a quota would help! If 50% of the firm had to leave by 6pm to get their kids out of care, a few things would happen to keep profit margins afloat; either the partners will develop family friendly and flexible working arrangements, or they will hire more staff and accept reduced working hours as the norm (and lowered profit margins) or the women will marry men capable of sharing in household and childcare responsibilities.

    It really isnt that complex.

  • Natalie on 15/06/2016 2:15:31 PM

    The only way an "old" profession such as law will change quickly is through force. I would support the forced quotas so that more women are in the top positions driving and forcing the change in the legal firm culture.

    Focusing on flexible workplace arrangements etc is fantastic however it isn't fantastic when those same flexible workplace arrangements negatively impact on the career progression of a woman by the males who sit on top of the corporate structure and are responsible for the promotion of those women.

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