Women in Law Pledge
The Women in Law Pledge asks organisations to commit to seeing gender balance at all levels across the legal profession, tackling the gender pay gap and other inequalities that still affect women in law today.
- Samantha McLeish – Diversity and Inclusion Adviser at the Law Society of England and Wales;
- Chantal Davies - Professor of law, equality and diversity and director of Forum for Research into Equality and Diversity at University of Chester School of Law and Women Solicitors Network Committee member;
- Liz Turner - Head of legal at Sophian Limited and Women Solicitors Network Committee member
Since the Pledge was launched in 2019 by The Law Society in partnership with the Bar Council of England and Wales and Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), there have been positive signs of progress. Workplaces have started analysing their pay gap data in greater detail and publishing further data on partner pay. Steps have also been taken to ensure the gender diversity of newly appointed partners through recruitment/promotion targets and creating action plans to address inequality.
However, we must continue to work collectively to enact positive change for gender equality in the profession.
Women make up 53% of the practising profession and women partners increased by 1.9% reaching 9,101 in 2022, continuing the steady growth over the past few years. Despite this, women continue to experience barriers when attempting to reach senior levels.
Unfair allocation of work, unfavourable promotion structures, unacceptable work-life balance, and the lack of visible senior women role models are just some of the areas that need addressing if we want to see women in law thrive.
The Women in Law Pledge – what is it and why do we need it?
The Pledge, now in its fourth year, currently has 51 signatories committing to gender equality and inclusion through the setting of high-level targets for gender equality, either within organisations, or as champions for change.
The eight commitments ask the profession to support to the progression of women into senior roles by developing a clear action plan to achieve equality at these levels and to tackle workplace culture and bias that potentially results in differential outcomes for different groups of women at all levels.
These do not have to be policies or practices currently in place but should include those that signatories wish to implement.
Current signatories report that the Pledge has assisted with securing senior leadership support and acted as a catalyst for change for gender equality and increasing gender representation at the senior levels.
Signatories benefit from a wide support network in which they can collaborate and share best practice to progress their gender equality plans. We hold two virtual thematic roundtables per year which focus on key issues facing women in the profession and different aspects of the Pledge.
We will release our first annual Pledge report in 2024 which will highlight the progress made within the profession.
If you are interested in signing up to the Pledge please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.