The issue of gender equality is one which transcends almost all others in the world of business, particularly in the male-dominated worlds of law, medicine, and technology; in fact even more recent studies have confirmed that top positions, such as that of CEO, manager, and judge, are more likely to be held by men than women. The subject of women’s progress in such fields is often hotly debated; however, the tables appear to be turning, slowly but surely, as more women than ever before are choosing to enter these male-dominated playing fields.
The impact of women in law
Gender equality and independence within the workplace, as well as the right to be recognized in their own field, is something that women have been campaigning tirelessly for. Investing in employees, regardless of their gender, is perhaps the most important aspect of equality, ensuring that the future of a business is secured. It is no longer a man’s world, and women are finally being encouraged and inspired to reach higher.
The legal profession is perhaps one of the best known for its traditional values; it is a sector usually dominated by men, but is now one in which women are making the biggest impact with representation at every level. Young solicitors, barristers, and lawyers, as well as those in administration roles, are now more likely to be women for the first time in legal history; the legal profession is now an attractive and plausible career for women, rather than an intimidating one. The idea of women progressing in the legal profession has come to be celebrated rather than derided, with their successes and achievements honored, not ignored. Showcasing women’s accomplishments is perhaps the biggest positive in the quest for gender equality.
There are a number of women who have paved, or are currently paving, the way for their associates in the legal world, such as the first African American female lawyer Charlotte E. Ray, the first female judge Florence Allen, Supreme Court judge Sonia Sotomayor, and French-Canadian human rights lawyer Louise Arbour. Women now have their own communities and associations within the legal profession, such is their prevalence in the profession. It isn’t just in the West where changes are being heralded, though; in Africa and other developing nations, law is becoming more and more gender-equal, allowing women to carve a career in this most male of sectors for the first time. Indeed, Jennifer Atiku-Abubakar, the wife of former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar, was called to the Nigerian bar in November 2014, adding a legal qualification to her journalism and scholarly experience and PhD. The blog of Jennifer Atiku reads as a long list of triumphs and proficiencies, and her success in the legal field can only serve as inspiration to the young women around her. Inspiration and encouragement are perhaps two of the most important aspects of gender equality; successes can inspire young women to follow their predecessors’ footsteps into the legal profession.
The future of gender equality in the legal profession
The issue of gender equality is now one that is being hotly debated at the highest levels, showing that the role of women in the legal profession is being taken more seriously than ever. Law is often seen as a very male dominated profession, with women portrayed as weak-willed, easily influenced, wicked, or even sly in many media representations of their rise through the courts. However, women’s merits are now being recognized more often than their femininity. Their womanhood is no longer a barrier or even a talking point in their rise through the ranks, paving the way for full equality.
While there is still a long way to go, the times are indeed changing, evidenced by the fact that the issue of gender equality in the legal profession is up for debate, as well as the increasing numbers of strong, successful women now occupying previously ‘male’ roles. Gender equality in the highest of corners is on the rise, leading the way for other professional quarters to follow suit. Where there were once male-dominated environments, there are now more level playing fields for both sexes.