Only 4% of Men Assume Someone Working in Law Will Be Female

New research reveals one in four people still assume a legal professional to be male.

A shocking number of people automatically assume legal professionals to be male, according to new research from The University of Law (ULaw) ahead of International Women’s Day on 8th March.

The university’s study revealed that only 4% of men picture someone working in the legal industry to be female, while almost half (42%) said they picture someone in the industry to be male.

Using the research findings, ULaw illustrated what the British public assume a legal professional to look like in 2021, highlighting some stark preconceptions.

A staggering 48% of people said when they pictured a legal professional, they automatically thought of someone white, while 25% said male. Interestingly, over a quarter (28%) said they would expect a lawyer to wear natural or very little make up, compared to 8% who said they expect them to have a full face of makeup.

The research also revealed that only a quarter (25%) of females see themselves fully represented in the legal system, with one in ten (10%) females stating they do not feel represented in the legal system at all. This is unsurprising, as only 6% said they expect someone in the legal industry to be from a working-class background.

Patrick Johnson, Director of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at The University of Law commented on the findings: “This research has highlighted British people’s perceptions of those working in the legal industry, however, this year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Choose to Challenge’, so we wanted to challenge these perceptions and encourage others to do the same.

“We want to demonstrate that a career in the legal industry is open to anyone, no matter their background. Whilst there’s always room for progress and improvement in the industry, looking at our current students provides a promising picture for the future of our profession. Amongst our current cohort, 77% of undergraduate and 67% of our postgraduate students are female.

“We’re committed to impacting change in our industry. We’re investing in initiatives such as our upcoming Diversity Matters events and working with leaders in equality and diversity to continue amplifying voices that need to be heard.”

 

To find out more about women in the legal industry, please visit: https://www.law.ac.uk/resources/blog/harini-iyengar/

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