Bar Council accused of shirking women's issues

The Association of Women Barristers (AWB) is calling for a separate voice on the Bar Council.

Chairwoman Jacqueline Perry says that 22 per cent of the independent bar are women, and when current intake is split evenly between men and women they ought to be properly represented.

Perry stresses that this is not an issue of women being discriminated against, but of women's issues being ignored.

She says that there are certain lifestyle issues that need to be resolved, such as improved child care policies and maternity provisions. Many tenants, she says, are still required to pay full rents when on leave.

There is a high drop-out rate among women barristers which needs to be addressed, she says. “We can't all be superwomen, it's very tiring”.

A spokesman for the Bar Council says that in the past they had been very pro-active in promoting child care policies and that there are already Sex Discrimination, Race Relations and Equal Opportunities Committees.

However, he is quick to add that if the AWB has specific proposals, they it will be considered.