For the past few years we have been pleased to have the opportunity to share our thoughts to mark 8th March being International Women’s Day. 

Gender equality, or rather in some cases, inequality has become a virtually inescapable subject area in the news over the past year or so. Whether this relates to gender imbalance in top jobs, gender pay gaps, or gender balance in award nominations (to name a few) there is no denying that the call for equality is here to stay. A quick online search will provide many insights into the subject area and the BBC News website even has a dedicated thread for Gender related articles.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “#EachforEqual”. The idea behind this is that if we each take positive steps towards achieving gender equality then collectively, we will be able to impact society. 

The legal profession is an industry which has historically been seen as a male-dominated industry. While there have been improvements over more recent years there is admittedly still an imbalance when you look at the overall picture. 

For example, the Supreme Court, as the highest court in the UK, out of 12 Justices, only two are female. We must of course acknowledge the input of Baroness Hale who, prior to retirement in January 2020, was the first and, to date, only female President of the Supreme Court. 

Amongst legal circles, albeit in the more colloquial commentaries, Lady Hale has even been referred to as the ‘Beyonce of the legal profession’ which gives an idea of the influence and reputation which she gained throughout her career. 

While steps are being taken in the right direction, gender equality is still very much a prevalent subject, with the Law Society Gazette publishing an article in January 2020 reporting on the rise of female Partners in city firms.

At Fiona Bruce we acknowledge the contribution of each member of the firm, regardless of gender or any other factors. At this time in 2020 the gender split in the firm is almost 3:1 in favour of the women across the firm. Following the appointment of Tim Grainger as a partner in 2019, the firm has 3 male and 2 female Partners. Overall the split of our Solicitors is 7 men and 8 women. 

In recognition of International Women’s Day 2020 we have asked some of our female members of staff to contribute a few words on their experiences of gender balance in their legal training/profession and what equality for women means for them. 

“I believe equality is the point regardless of the profession. In the legal sphere, gender equality still has work to do. It will take many years for the shift to occur at the top level of the profession. There may be a place for training to be given to encourage awareness of gender equality issues and the benefits of equality in all aspects of the profession. I believe there is still a tendency for certain areas of the law to be filled by men which may be a throwback to the myth that women can’t do contentious work. Any training that helps remove the myths that women can’t do an area of work or that gender equality doesn’t exist anymore can only be a good thing”

“Although, women make up half of the practising solicitors in the profession the profession continues to be led largely by men and there is still an important need for gender equality in the legal profession.  I am grateful to work for a firm that recognises gender equality as it is very important to me that everyone has the same opportunities, rewards and resources, which is reflected in our workplace and management here at Fiona Bruce & Co LLP.”

“I appreciate working at a firm that champions both male and female lawyers. I believe it is so important to be a member of a firm that supports and develops both I and my colleagues to enhance our legal knowledge and encourage progression, without reference to gender. Sadly even though we are now in the year 2020; nearly a decade after the Equality Act, not all female lawyers can say the same. I hope that as the profession continues to develop, the positive changes continue, to help and support all of our colleagues in the workplace.”

To find out more about International Women’s Day and what you could do to be #EachforEqual, visit the website.

The contents of this article do not constitute legal advice and are provided for general information purposes only.

The contents of this post do not constitute legal advice and are provided for general information purposes only