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Gender inequality in Chilean legal profession unveiled

Gender inequality in Chilean legal profession unveiled


A study highlights gender imbalance in senior legal roles, pushing for inclusive reforms globally

The International Bar Association (IBA) is gearing up to unveil its latest research, focusing on gender inequality within the global legal field, specifically centered on Chile. Titled the "50:50 by 2030: A longitudinal study into gender disparity in law – CHILE RESULTS REPORT," this report marks the sixth in a series developed in partnership with the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation.

According to survey findings, although women represent 39 percent of lawyers in Chile's law firms, they hold a mere 18 percent of senior positions. Jaime Carey, IBA Vice President, stressed the need for robust support from leaders, particularly men in positions of power, to drive gender equity initiatives. Despite slow progress, Carey emphasized the report's potential to ignite actionable change.

Comparative analysis in the Gender Report revealed that Chile has a lower representation of women in senior legal roles (34 percent) compared to other jurisdictions such as the Netherlands and Nigeria (46 percent) or Uganda (40 percent). England and Wales reported 32 percent, and Spain stands at 31 percent for women in similar positions.

Additionally, the report highlighted that the corporate sector in Chile demonstrates a higher proportion of women in senior roles (54 percent) than the overall number (52 percent) of women within the sector. This trend was unique to the Chilean legal profession, as per the survey respondents.

Further insights from the Chile report revealed that initiatives such as flexible work arrangements and unconscious bias training have varying effectiveness among respondents. Moreover, efforts are underway within Chile's public sector and judiciary to encourage greater female representation in leadership positions.

The IBA's 50:50 by 2030 project aims to identify root causes and potential remedies for gender disparities across the legal profession globally. With six reports released so far and South Korea's legal profession as the next focus, this nine-year project aims to offer a blueprint for gender equality.

Almudena Arpón de Mendívil Aldama, IBA President, initiated this project in 2021, emphasizing the legal sector's responsibility to address discriminatory obstacles hindering women's advancement to senior positions. The IBA seeks to drive tangible change aligned with the UN's Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality.