Bar Nursery North: Second crèche opens up for barristers’ babies in bid to boost gender diversity

Leeds childcare scheme follows success of legal London venture

lead

The Bar Council is taking its barrister baby nursery up north, opening up a new crèche to lawyers’ offspring.

In a bold bid to help out its stressed out barristers, the Bar Council is now offering childcare services in Leeds. This will accompany the London-based Bar Nursery — which is just a stone’s throw away from the Old Bailey.

The Bar Nursery at Tiny Tree Day Nursery is located close to central Leeds and will be available to barristers at a discounted rate. Open from 7.30am to 6pm and providing childcare for kids aged six weeks to five years, the nursery hopes to ease the lives of lawyers, who are so often hit by stress and fatigue.

Speaking about the nursery’s launch, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC — chairman of the bar — said:

The nature of a barrister’s career means that they work often unpredictable hours, are expected in court at short notice, or have to take a long break from their careers in order to be able to manage childcare. Most barristers are self-employed, which can make balancing childcare with your work challenging.

She continued:

Becoming a parent should not be a bar to a career as a barrister. The Bar Nursery is just one way the Bar Council is trying to make life easier for those practising barristers who are parents.

While the nursery will help all barristers with young children, the expectation is that it will be particularly useful for female practitioners — on whom childcare responsibilities typically fall.

Currently the senior ranks of the bar are dominated by men, with 42 out of the 50 chambers featured in Legal Cheek‘s Chambers Most List containing less than 25% women QCs. 26 out of 50 do not surpass a tenth female silks, and nine out of 50 chambers do not have a single one.

In the latest QC appointment round earlier this month 23% of new QCs were women.

14 Comments

Not Amused

The original plans were brilliant.

What was actually produced by the endless committees was complete rubbish. A negotiated discount from a professional provider is not a ‘Bar Nursery’. Once again the Bar Council demonstrated what a thriving hive of incompetence it really is. Pretending it did achieve is risible.

Plus, FYI Katie, if you perpetuate the mythos that child care falls on women then you are part of the problem. We used to have a cultural myth that cooking duties fell on women. Only by breaking that myth did we enter a normal state of being where both men and women cook. Childcare is absolutely no different.

(15)(15)
Young White Male Tory

This article doesn’t perpetuate the “mythos” that responsibility for childcare *should* fall on women, but merely observes the fact that that responsibility *does* fall on women. Just because we want to change the fact, doesn’t mean we can’t take palliative steps to make it easier to cope with it while it lasts.

(13)(3)
Female pupil

Oh ffs. It is not a myth that women do more childcare. Pretending that it is does a huge disservice to women, as it suggests that the gender wage gap, men’s overrepresentation in the higher ends of most professions and so on are not down to the fact that women are dropping out of (or scaling down their time in) the workplace after having kids while simultaneously relieving men of domestic and childcare duties so they can spend more time on their professions.

I’m not criticising individual choices, but I do massively resent the suggestion that men’s overall higher professional achievement is not correlative with women’s taking on of domestic chores. I don’t know of a single male barrister in my commercial set who has children and does not have a stay at home partner.

Shutting your eyes and pretending that all these QCs who work 60 hours a week are also doing half of all the domestic work when that is plainly not the case is just ridiculous. And frankly only a fantasist could deny the fact that there are strong social pressures on both men and women which means that it is absolutely not a coin-toss situation as to which member of a het couple with kids gets to become the QC and which gets to be the homemaker.

Personally, although I wouldn’t criticise any individual choices, I think that both men and women will benefit as these social pressures ease. But that doesn’t equate to pretending that they don’t now exist in the face of all evidence to the contrary!

To put it bluntly, if you deny that social differences exist, you are the reason they are not changing.

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2011/oct/25/stay-at-home-dads-fathers-childcarers (suggests one in seven fathers are the main childcarers, a quarter of couples share childcare equally, meaning about in 60 pc of couples the mother does more childcare; primary data linked at the bottom of the article).
http://www.ippr.org/files/images/media/files/publication/2013/04/great-expectations-gender-equality_Mar2013_10562.pdf?noredirect=1 (see esp pp 29ff)
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lmac/participation-rates-in-the-uk-labour-market/2014/index.html (compare women’s participation to general participation)

(6)(1)
Anonymous

I bet the stay at home partners whom benefit from their male counterpart’s annual salary from these commercial sets aren’t complaining about being at home…

(1)(2)
Anonymous

I’m sure you’re right but that has nothing to do with my point.

(1)(0)
Mumsie

I wanted to stay at home and do the childcare. I was (and still am) in a low paid job I hated whilst my wife loved her well paid job. Financially and emotionally it made more sense for me to stay home. Wife said no. She spends all her time in coffee shops and expects me to do all the housework when I get home. Also life’s to moan about having no money as my salary isn’t enough to live on. Moral of the story? Some women don’t want the presumption of female childcare to change because they are lazy self obsessed shits.

(1)(0)
Anonymous

Ffs it is not a myth that most childcare duties fall on women, and what does women a disservice is to suggest that there is no correlation between male career success and female shouldering of household duties. Insulting to sahms and women who go part time after having kids to pretend that their hardworking professional husband does half the childcare, insulting to all women to suggest that the men dominating the upper echelons of all professions have achieved their success while also undertaking an equal amount of the domestic tasks as their wives. I don’t judge any couple’s choice as to how to distribute work in and out of the home – but let’s not devalue domestic labour by ignoring those who undertake it.

(7)(1)
Miss Ogynist

I’m surprise Katie was allowed out of the kitchen to write this article.

(10)(3)
Quo Vadis

Has anyone really stopped to think about the consequences of a sub-replacement birth rate amongst working professionals? Or about the fact that having children, and giving them a decent quality of life, is now almost impossible in London?

(1)(1)
Not Amused

I believe a Mr Malthus had some ideas on the subject which led to some curious thinking – but it hasn’t proven true just yet so I shouldn’t worry.

As it turns out children born poor actually have some value to society.

(0)(3)
Anonymous

Some ‘poor-born’ children have value to society? But not the ones who stay poor presumably. Sorry, that’s a really disgusting attitude NA.

(3)(2)
Quo Vadis

I detect a heavy hint of sarcasm on the part of our original commentator.

(0)(0)
ey you what?

I think poor children are very useful. I need someone to be a whipping boy for little Henry when his tutor is cross with him.

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.