Number of women lawyers overtakes men

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 25 Jan 2018, 8:02AM
The Law Society says that of lawyers currently practising in New Zealand, 6553 are women and 6550 are men. (Photo \ Getty Images)

Number of women lawyers overtakes men

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 25 Jan 2018, 8:02AM

Female lawyers are taking over the legal world in New Zealand - with the number of women now outnumbering men in the profession.

Out of 13,103 lawyers practising in the country, 6553 are women and 6550 are men, says the New Zealand Law Society.

Barrister and QC Marie Dyhrberg told Mike Hosking the retention rate for women has always been, and still is, a problem.

"When we look a the top of the profession the women aren't there, they don't remain so we have to find out why is that?"

LISTEN ABOVE AS MARIE DYHRBEG SPEAKS WITH MIKE HOSKING

Since the early 1990s the number of women admitted as lawyers has exceeded men, but it's only in the past few years that women lawyers closed the gap.

"I've been waiting with bated breath for a couple of years. I'm thrilled that we're here," says Law Society president Kathryn Beck.

"This reinforces just how important it is that we address the issue of equity and retention and promotion of women in the profession.

"I don't think the lack of the 50/50 parity was holding things back, but we all knew that we needed to be doing better than we were. Milestones like this serve to remind us and refresh our commitment to change," Ms Beck said.

Having a profession with women in the majority is timely as the New Zealand Law Society will soon introduce the Gender Equality Charter to the profession.

"The Charter is about all of the legal profession making a voluntary commitment to meeting a series of equality objectives to ensure that women lawyers, whether full time or part time, are given the same opportunities as men to reach senior levels in the legal profession," Beck said.