WIPR Influential Women in IP 2020
Diversity in law www.worldipreview.com
Since you joined the company, do you feel
that the environment for minority groups
in your workplace has:
Improved Stayed the same
Worsened No answer
Agree Neither agree
Do you agree that being part of a
minority is a barrier to progression?
Women are paid less than men for the same work. I’m
not going to cite all the figures here, but since 2018,
companies with more than 250 employees have been
required to publish figures on their gender pay gap.
Little progress has been made since then.
In-house teams are certainly not exempt from
this. US-based male counsels’ average base salary
was $19,000 more per year than that of their female
counterparts, according to an April report from legal
research firm Major, Lindsey & Africa. The gap widens
when taking into account total cash compensation,
including bonuses, with male counsels’ annual cash
compensation 11.4% higher than their women peers’.
It’s more difficult to source figures on the
ethnicity, sexuality, socioeconomic and disability pay
gaps in the legal profession but a few firms in the UK
have voluntarily published their pay gaps. Again, you
can see the divide.
Not only are women and minorities generally paid
less than their white male counterparts, but they’re
offered fewer opportunities to advance.
“You Can’t Change What You Can’t See:
Interrupting Racial & Gender Bias in the Legal
Profession”, a report from the MCCA and the
American Bar Association’s Commission on Women
in the Profession in 2018, found that gender and racial
bias existed in all seven basic workplace processes,
including promotion, fair performance evaluations
and access to networking opportunities.
The South African lawyer says that the studies
indicated that the women and minority lawyers
felt that a lack of exposure to high worth cases and
relegation to low worth assignments limited their
ability to progress through the ranks.
At the same time, the women surveyed felt that
they are held to higher standards than their male
colleagues. For female minority lawyers, it’s a double
whammy as they indicated that there is no margin for
error and that mistakes are unforgivable in their case.
These findings compounded their stress levels and
resulted in their leaving law firms.
The MCCA’s report states that women and men
of colour, and white women, believe they have to go
“above and beyond” to get the same recognition and
respect as their colleagues.
Attributes prized in men can often be quite
to why women
are leaving the
in droves and
there’s no simple
way to halt it.