Only 85% of high court judges men

// 7 October 2008

The number of female High Court judges is set to rise to “record levels”, reports the Independent.

While this is good news, don’t get too excited – 85% of them are still men.

Baroness Prashar, JAC [Judicial Appointments Commission] chairman said: “I am delighted that we are making progress and that our strenuous efforts are beginning to show results.

“We expect the composition of the senior judges will gradually come to reflect society more closely.”

Comments From You

Soirore // Posted 7 October 2008 at 2:17 pm

How can this try and disguise itself as good news? How gradual will the changes be? Very slow probably.

And why do they list Baroness Prashar as the JAC chairman? Can they not acknowledge that she’s female? Would it be too radical to call her a chairwoman or chair or chairperson?

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 7 October 2008 at 5:04 pm

Oh well only another 500 years or so before we have 50% female and 50% male which consist not only whites but also represent other ethncities and groups.

Yes indeed correct terminology for Baronness Prashar is Chairperson not chairman. Remember language is very important and using male-dominant language reinforces belief women are not human but are subsiduaries of male-dominant language.

Graeme Cook // Posted 15 October 2008 at 5:00 pm

And in the family courts, 75% of court welfare advisors (the real decision-makers) are women, as are two-thirds of the 6,000-or-so family lawyers. You won’t find these figures published in the MSM; I obtained them directly from the relevant professional bodies myself.

Soirore // Posted 16 October 2008 at 12:29 pm

Graeme – The figures you have quoted are not really comparable.

The reason that there is a higher proportion of women in family court is that a higher proportion of female lawyers choose to go into family law. The gender imbalance is reflected at all levels and could be solved by more male lawers pursuing family law instead of more lucrative and prestigious areas.

The high court is not representative of the proportion of women in the legal profession and there are qualified women (and minority groups) who don’t get appointed as high court judges as it is very much an old boys club at senior levels. Family court is not an old girls club but a representation of how the legal profession continues to be very gendered in an old fashioned way. Until men realise that family law is important enough to spend their careers on it will continue that way.

Qubit // Posted 16 October 2008 at 1:34 pm

Why do you feel these industries are so female dominated? Is it because men don’t apply for jobs in them or is it because men are often rejected at interview stage and unfairly treated?

I think if there was an easy solution towards equalling a profession most would be equal by now however having women dominate family law is obviously a problem. It makes men feel like they aren’t being represented and aren’t getting a fair deal and it is as important to tackle this as it is women not getting positions as high court judges. I would speculate that the solution might be easier as well. It may seem a silly question but would paying these positions more help?

Sarah // Posted 16 October 2008 at 2:16 pm

I would suggest it’s because the men in a profession tend to dominate the higher paid specialisations – you see the same thing in medicine and finance and teaching. Of course it would be wrong if men were facing unfair discrimination in applying for jobs and pursuing their careers, however it’s a funny coincidence that it’s always the lower paid and less prestigious jobs where this discrimination takes place.

Soirore // Posted 16 October 2008 at 4:27 pm

The low male numbers is almost definitely from the lack of prestige attached to family law in comparison to other areas of law as well as gendered notions of the domestic being women’s realm.

Also two thirds of family lawyers being female does not constitute the same imbalance of power that 85% of judges being male does. Graeme Cook’s comment was clearly an attempt to distract our (feminists’) attention from the more important issue and it is my fault for engaging. There is most likely a reason that he didn’t list the figures for family court judges (the people who make decisions). Is it because they are NOT mostly women?

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