News

Men need to ‘step up and take responsibility’ for tackling profession’s gender imbalance problem

By on
41

‘They are a key part of the solution’, says Law Society president

Male lawyers need to play a greater role in tackling gender imbalance across the upper ranks of the legal profession, the Law Society’s president Christina Blacklaws has suggested.

Speaking in an interview with The Guardian yesterday, Blacklaws stressed the importance of keeping the discussion surrounding gender equality alive, particularly when it comes to recruitment and pay. “It takes a lot of undoing to think and act differently [otherwise] we revert to operating an old bias, which does lead to discrimination,” she warned.

Continuing, Blacklaws said “we need men to step up and take responsibility”, adding: “They are a key part of the solution.”

Research published in 2016 found that nearly two-thirds (62%) of female lawyers felt their gender had hampered their progression within the legal progression. This compared to just 16% of male lawyers. But almost half of respondents believed quotas — enforced or otherwise — were not the answer.

Elsewhere, Blacklaws cited a recent Law Society survey in which respondents identified the “masculine shape of the law” as a big disincentive for many women, while many admitted reaching senior positions by becoming “men-shaped women” — working late, drinking and playing golf.

Despite these findings, the Society president — who previously ran her own business and directed Co-Op Legal Services — remains confident that a career in law still presents a “really attractive” opportunity for women. She said:

“It’s intellectually stimulating and involves a whole range of emotional intelligence. There are various, really attractive career paths. And there’s the opportunity to be a boss and run your own business. I have loved every minute of it.”

Earlier this year, former magic circle lawyer turned legal entrepreneur Dana Denis-Smith called for the introduction of quotas to help boost the number of women in top legal roles. Her comments came amid growing frustration over the ineffectiveness of gender targets.

The 2019 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

41 Comments

Anonymous

Instead of pointing the finger at men maybe look towards the government who need to ensure women are not disadvantaged when choosing to have a family. Maternity pay is horrible and theres a lack of support for those returning to work. Its so easy to blame men isnt it.

(34)(3)

Anonymous

Identity politics at its best.

(14)(2)

Anonymous

I hear the patriarchy are also campaigning for a paternity pay rate that is vastly higher than maternity pay.

(3)(1)

Anonymous

Co-operative Legal Services was such a success, hey.

(14)(0)

Anonymous

Its not solipsism. Feeling that a thing is reality does not make that thing reality.

(18)(0)

Anonymous

Oh yes it does!

I feel like a woman, therefore I am one.

(7)(1)

Anonymous

Nor is it sympathetic magic.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

“many admitted reaching senior positions by becoming “men-shaped women” — working late, drinking and playing golf.”

Working late is hardly a male characteristic.

(48)(2)

Anonymous

No but it is disproportionately men who choose work long hours and overtime because they value earnings over free time.

(22)(13)

Anonymous

Nonsense, many women work exhaustive hours.

(17)(19)

Ann

“Ps are disproportionately X”

Progressive idiots: “Nonsense! Many Qs are X! Bigot!”.

I mean how fucking thick do you need to be to think this is a valid argument? And yet it’s what 99% of culture war debate amounts to.

(18)(10)

Anonymous

Ann has missed the point. Whoosh.

Anonymous

To say that men on average work longer hours than women is not to say that some women work don’t long hours as well or that any given women cannot choose to work long hours. It is just a factual assessment that men are more likely to work longer hours than women.

One should note this is the trend across every OECD country, including those with the most progressive cultures like Sweden, Iceland and the Netherlands – see data on pages 2 and 3 below:

https://www.oecd.org/els/family/LMF_2_1_Usual_working_hours_gender.pdf

the cause for this is harder to show statistically but it seems women on average tend to place a higher value of time away from work – see section 5 and figures 5-11 below:

https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/bolotnyy/files/be_gendergap.pdf

(14)(2)

Anonymous

Nowhere did I deny that some women work very long hours. But the factual reality is that in all countries, no matter how progressive (Sweden, Iceland, Netherlands etc.) men work longer hours than women on average – see:

https://www.oecd.org/els/family/LMF_2_1_Usual_working_hours_gender.pdf

(the fact that something is on average, of course, doesn’t mean that men or women can’t choose to not conform to the average, it just explains variations in employment patters).

(9)(2)

Anonymous

Apologies for duplication thought LC wasn’t going to publish my first reply!

Anonymous

I’m not sure how much sensible policy making can come out of how people “felt”. Probably why there are no concrete solutions offered by anyone aside from quotas and why everything else is vague platitudes.

Given client expectations of 24/7 service and long hours, the real question isn’t why do women leave the profession. It’s why does anyone stay?

No amount of firm culture change will change the fact that most people don’t want to operate in that environment for their entire lives apart from a small number of extremely competitive people who appear to be disproportionately men.

Good for all the sensible people who are smart enough to realise money isn’t everything and get out of the game I say.

(17)(0)

Lib Dem voter

I am a white male (sorry).

I suggest that men everywhere recognise the plight of oppressed female lawyers by immediately resigning. I resigned last week and I’ve never felt so empowered.

“Why should”, I thought, trying to restrain my innate colonial and patriarchal instincts to pillage and enslave, “why should white men like me continue to hamper the progression of oppressed middle class home-counties women?”

Guys we can’t help that we’re all power hungry sub-human filth. One day, if we grovel hard enough, the women might just forgive us and let us be in relationships with them.

Purely platonic, of course. I respect women.

(51)(4)

Penis Guillotine Man

You sound like a candidate!

(1)(0)

Outrage in tunbridge wells

Did you just refer to us, the readers, as ‘Guys’?!

You really are a chauvinistic bully boy, aren’t you?

(14)(0)

Lib Dem voter

Uh ‘boy’? Did you just assume my gender? I am biologically male, but I identify as an 18 month old French Bulldog. My pronouns are “woof” and “woofer”.

(21)(0)

Ziggy the Zebra

An ally to the cause!

Why is self-identification on gender now a given but when someone wants to self-identify as a different race, age or species people look at them like they’re mad?

(5)(0)

Anonymous

When litigated in the Netherlands, the case of the man who wished to identify as a 20 year younger man was disposed of by the District Court on the basis that ‘there are a variety of rights and duties related to age’ – i.e. voting, alcohol purchase etc.

This argument, of course, collapses if legal rights are tied to gender, which is the case in many countries and increasingly so in the west. If this is the best legal argument they have then good luck.

Bob

No. Not only is it not the problem of men it is not a problem at all.

(18)(2)

Anonymous

Ann is going to chase you down like she is channelling Omar from The Wire.

(4)(0)

Just Anonymous

“Continuing, Blacklaws said “we need men to step up and take responsibility”, adding: “They are a key part of the solution.””

it occurs to me that if such blanket assertions and implicit criticism were made of all women by a man, then such statements would be labelled sexist.

my response is simple.

I don’t think I am doing anything wrong. If you think I am, then tell me specifically how I should change my behaviour and why.

If you can’t, then I have no interest in what you have to say.

(21)(1)

Anonymous

Firms offer people partnership when there is a strong business need to share the equity with them e.g. they have a valuable client following or there is a need to expand a particular practice.

If law firms were offering people partnership simply because they are male at the expense of female candidates who can present a stronger business case for partnership would this not make the firm less competitive than other firms who promoted solely on merit?

This is why it seems unlikely that sexism plays a role in partnership promotions.

(14)(0)

Anonymous

Quite. The reply of a lefty would probably be (this is a bit reducto ad absurdum but not far from what they are forced to argue) that our patriarchal culture values mediocre male work above competent female work. Thus less qualified men get more clients (because clients value mediocre male solicitors more than competent female ones) and so those mediocre men get promoted to partner because the existing partners see their work as better (note this is essentially unprovable but is often deployed)

Either that or most women are forced out of the profession by ‘hostile work environments’ or ‘toxic male culture’ so they never get the chance to be considered (which I don’t think is true either but it is more plausible).

(7)(0)

Mr Realist

There is nothing stopping women from becoming senior fee-earners in law firms. Indeed, the majority of junior associates, and the people who study in higher education, are now women. Historically speaking businesses were dominated by men as women favoured having a family, thus leaving the workforce in their early thirties.

However women are now choosing a career over marriage and having a family, so we’re seeing a change. Nobody can truly say with a straight face that there is still a patriarchy that prevents women from succeeding; this is only something the pseudo-intellectual leftists tend to say in order to virtue signal.

If you can offer something of value you will be rewarded for it, regardless of the industry. It just depends whether you’re willing to work hard and to make sacrifices, and historically men have done this more so by being away from their families.

(17)(2)

Anonymous

F*ck off it is nothing to do with someone being left wing.

(2)(7)

Mr Realist

Swearing just makes you come across as being irrational and hysterical. Not the best manner to go by when trying to debate someone…

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Zero sh*tes given, I am still right. You c*nt.

(2)(4)

Anonymous

See

Anonymous

Sisters!

Jeremy Corbyn will mandate female majority boards!

Retire these white male dinosaurs at once!

Worker representation will increase BAME faces on boards!

80% income tax on city greed! Make the city troughers pay!

VOTE LABOUR, FOR THE MANY NOT THE FEW!

(3)(10)

Anonymous

Utter crap. The more accurate headline should be “women should step up in deciding not to take on a stressful job after having kids, especially those who marry rich men”.

(14)(0)

Fair geeze

I’ll stick my neck out for women in the office when they stop backstabbing me in the office. Women at work are just as ruthless and unpleasant as men, and I don’t see how it will be a good thing to have more posh private school educated birds in the office ( invariably those are the people who feel entitled and will pipe up about how discriminated against they are because life isn’t how it was on the hockey fields of JAGs).

(11)(0)

Anonymous

What is it that is being specifically proposed men should do?

Don’t forget, Dana Denis-Smith was roundly criticised for suggesting quotas – most people don’t want them.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Given one of the specific problems the article purports to identify is the “masculine shape of the law” it will probably be either (a) soft indoctrination labeled ‘diversity training’ or (b) attacks on anything that are labeled ‘patriarchal’ or ‘masculine’ like formal dinners, dress codes, drinks after work etc.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

“Masculine shape of the law” isn’t even particularly specific.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

The alleged gender gap and gender inequality is a multifaceted issue with a myriad of reasons that explains it’s existence — patriarchal arrogance and gender discrimination is perhaps a qualifying reason — however, to assume that it is the only explanation is an embarrassingly simplistic analysis. Why on earth should predetermined characteristics that have no material significance to one’s intellectual competence or qualities as a professional be pushed as a necessary means to even the playing field. Equality of opportunity does not necessitate equality of outcome — it is simply bizarre. Why don’t the same post modernist leftist nutjobs who push this agenda argue for the equality of women to even out the predominantly male prison population or the brick laying industry? It is a fact of human nature (observable in all human cultures) that there are differences in gender; some of which help explain why gender inequality exists — this does not make it an inherently bad and undesirable situation.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Gender imbalance only seems to be described as a problem when its in favour of men. We don’t read so much about the gender imbalance of those entering the profession, and when we do it isn’t generally described as a problem.

(7)(1)

Anonymous

‘Women need to take responsibility for the predominantly female intake into both law schools and training contracts.’ How about that ?

(8)(1)

Comments are closed.

Related Stories