When Mr Bumble in Oliver Twist affirmed that the “law is an ass”, we can be pretty sure he was talking about a jackass (male) rather than a female jenny-ass. As this story brought home so disappointingly, women in the legal profession are still a long way from securing equal rights and pay as men.
The figures in the article are worth repeating: 61% of UK law graduates are women yet women account for just 28% of private practice partner roles. The gender pay gap is 30% compared to the UK average of 19%.
As the article makes plain, certain initiatives are improving things. Flexible working is just starting to gain the respect it demands, for one thing. Some women, meanwhile, are founding their own practices, such as Sarah Goulbourne’s Gunnercooke, which aims for a healthier approach to working that doesn’t discriminate against women.
Yet this going-it-alone is not going to fix the malaise. The onus must now surely be on those male 68% to show themselves not to be asses – nor stubborn mules for that matter – by getting behind diversity and working practice modernisation.