Women Lawyers For Greater Representation At Bench And Bar
The women lawyers have vowed to push for affirmative action to ensure greater representation at bench, bar and senior managerial level position.
They also called for an enabling environment sensitive to needs of female lawyers – including day care facility, maternity benefit and leave, and separate bathrooms – and mentorship and training of young lawyers, particularly women.
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According to a press release, they agreed to these points during the fifth session of the ‘women in law dialogue series’ titled ‘From Access to Advancement: Enhancing Women’s Representation in Law’ in Islamabad.
The dialogue series was launched in Lahore in 2016 with the objective of highlighting the challenges and opportunities faced by female lawyers and to understand and address their barriers to progression in this field.
Whilst previous sessions laid the ground for access, equality, inclusion and diversity in the legal profession, session 5 was focused on advancement, progression and representation of women in the field.
“We launched the series in 2016 to provide a platform for female lawyers to come together to address their common challenges, however, since then, the series have grown into an initiative on its own and we felt that having talked about access and inclusion, it was important to address the glaring disparity in more representative positions within the profession that occur at a more advanced stage,” said Nida Usman Chaudhry, the founder of the initiative.
“At present, only five out of 106 judges in various high courts across the country are female, women hardly reach senior partner level positions in law firms and you seldom see them practice in areas such as criminal law which are considered hard.” she added.
Advocate Benazir Jatoi highlighted that the “disparity is so high that any reform or change towards advancement has to come through policy and affirmative action.”
The event was well attended by lawyers, practitioners, students and development experts from Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Attock.