“The House of Commons is not representative of the electorate,” began a high-minded letter in yesterday’s Guardian. The missive, whose signatories included Michael Mansfield QC, John Cavanagh QC, Sean Jones QC and Robin Allen QC, continued: “The House of Commons has 650 MPs. Of these 650, there are 504 male MPs, so women are seriously underrepresented.”
What the letter failed to address was the plight of women in the aforementioned barristers’ chambers – where underrepresentation of women at senior levels is far more acute than in the House of Commons…
Mansfield’s set, Tooks, has no female silks (all nine of them are men).
11 King’s Bench Walk, where Cavanagh and Jones practise, has just one, Elisabeth Laing QC. The other 18 are men.
Things are slightly better at Allen’s set, Cloisters, where two out of 11 (18%) silks are women. But that’s still worse than the House of Commons, where 22% of members are female.