Criminal justice system ‘institutionally sexist’

first_img The legal profession – Fawcett Society recommendations:Equal pay audits should be conducted by all top-tier law firms. Maternity leave or career breaks should not impact on career progression. Flexible working practices should be implemented and promoted among female and male employees.The Queen’s Counsel Appointments Selection Committee should work with the Judicial Appointments Commission to share best practice and methods for increasing the pool of women applicants.Equality and diversity training should be made compulsory for all barristers as part of their continuing professional development requirements. A mentoring policy, particularly for women who take maternity leave or career breaks, should be adopted by all barristers’ chambers and relevant employers.For more information see: www.fawcettsociety.org.uk Women suffer widespread discrimination at all levels of the criminal justice system, including in the legal profession and judiciary, according to a report launched at the Law Society today by equality campaigners the Fawcett Society. Following a five-year investigation by its Commission on Women and the Criminal Justice System, the charity has concluded that the criminal justice system is ‘institutionally sexist’. Its recommendations include allowing government lawyers to apply for the judiciary to help widen the pool of women applicants. The society also wants to see UK law firms increase their proportion of female partners by 50% by 2020. The society’s report, Engendering Justice – from policy to practice , identifies inequality for female victims, offenders and those who work within the criminal justice system, in the police, legal profession, judiciary, prison and probation service. It outlines a ‘vision for a gender-responsive criminal justice system’. The 110-page report said the lack of diversity in the judiciary ‘has remained a major concern’. It wants to see part-time working available at all levels. Within government legal departments, women make up a high proportion of senior lawyers because a greater emphasis is placed on flexibility, it points out. The society wants to see UK law firms, ‘particularly those in the top 10’, increase their proportion of female partners by 50% by 2020. The report said ‘the numbers of women markedly decrease in senior positions’ within the legal profession. Women make up 19.6% of partners in the top-100 firms. This is a slight increase on 2006, when 19% of partners were women. The report adds: ‘This percentage further decreases within the top-tier firms. In 2008, just over 14% of partners in the top four firms were female and 15.9% of partners in the UK’s 10 largest firms were women.’last_img

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