As a woman about to sit final-year law exams, I read the Bar of Ireland’s research into barriers facing women barristers with great interest and much hope that it signalled change.
Of all my classmates, I am the only woman considering a career at the bar. Women who do not plan to go to the bar cite the same reasons women have been citing in similar research down through the years – discrimination, childcare issues, and so on.
Friends of mine have told me they cannot speak up on these matters, for fear of being branded “difficult” and receiving even less work.
The Bar of Ireland’s research is welcome, but far from ground-breaking, and is almost unnecessary in that it reveals little new.
I hope, as I imagine do most women studying law, that it signals the beginning of a huge cultural change at the bar, because nothing else will suffice.
The time has passed for research, and the time has long since come for action.
Ciara Ní Ghabhann,