Profession heads for female majority
8 March 2016
Queensland Law Society celebrates Queensland Women’s week by highlighting and heralding the achievements of women in the legal profession.
Society deputy president Christine Smyth said the Society was cautiously optimistic about achieving gender equity in the legal profession, though much more needed to be done in balancing participation once in established careers.
“To that end QLS has had in place programs for many years, in some cases 10 years or more,”she said.
“And in that time we’ve seen a significant increase in participation of our female members at the highest levels from, achieving specialist accreditation to appointment as principals of law firms and senior management and board roles, to judicial appointments.”
Ms Smyth said some of the initiatives included: the Equal Opportunities and the Law Committee, the Equity and Diversity Award, the Agnes McWhinney Award, a Flexibility Working Group, as well as numerous publications on gender equality.
“Women now make up 47.9 percent of our full members, which is an increase of 0.7 percent from 2014-15,” she said.
“Early career lawyers are surging ahead, with 61 percent of those with five years or less post-admission experience being women.”
Society president Bill Potts said QLS had been leading the way in the diversity and equality space for many years, with women holding key roles in the organisation.
Mr Potts said proof of QLS’s decade long effort was reflected by the fact the Society’s current and previous chief executive officers, Amelia Hodge and Noela L’Estrange, are women and that the majority of the council’s 13 members are also female -– including deputy president Christine Smyth and vice president Kara Cook.
“But more can be done and so QLS will set up a working group to work closely with the Queensland Bar Association to consider the Law Council of Australia’s proposed Opportunity Briefing Policy for Female Barristers and Advocates,” he said.
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