Bar Council stats show women still lagging behind

Women account for nearly half of all new barristers each year, but are still failing to make up ground in the profession as a whole. This sobering news comes courtesy of the Bar Council’s annual statistical report, which is a more gloomy affair each year.

The overall percentage of women at the bar crept up by 0.6 per cent between 2004 and 2005. Female barristers are better represented in the employed bar than self-employed.

The most sobering statistic is that the number of female pupils dropped last year to 47.6 per cent of the 527 lucky bar students to find a pupillage. That figure is yet another drop, going down by 8 per cent from 2004.

Meanwhile, the number of barristers from an ethnic minority has barely changed, with ethnic minorities making up just 10.2 per cent of self-employed practitioners.

It will naturally take some time for larger numbers of women and ethnic minorities to reach the top of the profession. But the bar needs to make sure that they make it by ensuring that anyone who wants to can keep on practising.