International Bar Association releases report on gender disparity in the Dutch legal profession

The report is the fifth in a series on gender disparity across the global legal profession

International Bar Association releases report on gender disparity in the Dutch legal profession

In Dutch law firms, women make up 49 percent of lawyers, but only hold 28 percent of senior roles, according to a new report.

The International Bar Association’s report – with a focus on the Netherlands – is the fifth in a series on gender disparity at senior levels across the global legal profession.

Overall, women make up 57 per cent of all lawyers across the combined legal disciplines surveyed in the Netherlands, but only 46 per cent of senior positions. This figure – alongside that for Nigeria (43 per cent) – is the highest percentage of senior female lawyers seen across the study to date. In Uganda it is 40 per cent, in England and Wales 32 per cent, and in Spain 31 per cent.

Further survey results revealed that in the public sector, 63 per cent of lawyers in the Netherlands are women. However, that figure dropped to 45 per cent when senior roles were examined.

With regard to the Netherlands’ judiciary, survey results indicate the least percentage drop and relative parity between men and women, with women making up the majority of the judiciary (61 per cent) and occupying 54 per cent of senior roles.

Results for the corporate sector show the greatest disparity between women working in the legal profession (58 per cent) and women working at a senior level (29 per cent).

Released in collaboration with the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation, the 50:50 by 2030: A longitudinal study into gender disparity in law – The Netherlands Results Report follows publication of examinations into gender disparity in senior roles across the legal profession – private practice, in-house legal teams, public sector institutions and the judiciary – in England and Wales, Nigeria, Spain. and Uganda.

“As a partner at Loyens & Loeff, the promotion of gender equality has been nothing less than a personal mission,” said Carola van den Bruinhorst, chair of the legal practice division and member of the IBA management board. “The findings in this report show that in the Netherlands, despite parity or even a female majority within the lower ranks, there are significant drops in gender parity levels in senior positions.

“To truly attract, retain and progress gender diversity, change is needed. This requires the support of those in the most senior positions in law firms, usually males, to take ownership of and responsibility for diversity initiatives. Let this report serve as a call to action for all stakeholders in the legal profession.”

The 50:50 by 2030: A longitudinal study into gender disparity in law project is a nine-year global project that aims to uncover the root causes of gender disparity at the top of the legal profession, examine the impact of equality initiatives, and produce a blueprint for gender equality at all levels. Unique in scope and duration, the next reports to be published focus on the jurisdictions of Chile and South Korea.

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