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Friday 8 March is International Women’s Day – an annual celebration of gender equality. Despite leaps in progression for a number of women, I still find it surprising how stereotypes continue to be challenged, even in 2019.
For example, it’s been nearly 12 months since the first companies began publishing their gender pay gap. One year on, it looks as though we are still quite a way to go as the newest round of pay gap snapshots hit the headlines. Kwik Fit, Npower and Virgin Atlantic were just three larger firms named recently as having some of the widest reported gender pay gaps of our time.
Of the companies that had reported by the morning of 19 February 2019 – almost one year on:
This tells us that there is still potentially a challenge when it comes to closing that gap and there is still some work to do to identify reasons as to why the gap exists in the first place.
According to the ONS, women who are either in full or part time employment is approximately 15,000,000 – roughly the same as approximately 18,000,000 men who are employed either full or part time . However, when trying to climb the ranks, women are still losing out. In an article published by the Guardian in 2018, the number of women in top boardroom positions has fallen – and remains at an all-time low . There are now just 30 women in full-time executive roles at FTSE 250 firms – down from 38 last year. The number of all-male boards has risen to 10.
I am perhaps one of the lucky ones, in that the legal profession is increasingly becoming a workforce for women. According to the SRA, women make up 48% of all lawyers in law firms. Female lawyers and other staff working in law firms account for around three quarters of the legal workforce. However, again, when you look at those women who are climbing the ranks, in 2017 the SRA claim 59% of non-partner solicitors are women – and just 33% making it to partner status. The gap has narrowed over recent years, but there is a lot more work to do if we are to truly leave behind gender inequality.
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