Accessibility Links

Gender bias and the pay gulf – why more needs to be done

Posted by: Laurence Simons 23/03/16
Data released by the United States Census Bureau has revealed that full time female lawyers earn 77% of the pay of their male counterparts. Worryingly the pay gulf had increased for all law related jobs with women earning 51% of the pay received by their male counterparts.

According to John Barker, Census Bureau spokesperson, this gap could be because women are more likely to be paralegals and support workers then men, both areas with lower levels of remuneration. However even in these roles, women are paid less than their male counterparts. The report also highlighted that judges, magistrates and other judicial workers earned 29% less than their male counterparts.

Laurel Bellows, president of the American Bar Association, commented on a general bias in the industry saying “Are women good negotiators? Yes. But women are often labelled as greedy and aggressive and not team driven when asking for a well-deserved raise and bonus. Men who ask are viewed as strong and good negotiators hard workers worthy of consideration for an increase.”

Gender bias is a prevalent issue in many high paying professions but more needs to be done not only to close the pay gulf but also level out an endemic gender imbalance. In a recent study conducted by the Florida Bar more than 25% of female lawyers claimed to have resigned from a positon due to a lack of advancement opportunities or insensitivity from senior staff - if the sector fails to adapt, it may risk losing some of its top talent.