2017 Women in Law evening

NDSLS President Madeleine Goodsir and NDSLS Education Director Esther Adeyinka

6 November 2017

Despite a high number of women joining the legal industry there is still a gender imbalance that exists within the profession today, a group of law students were told at an annual Woman in Law event on Thursday 26 October.

Speaking at the event - hosted by the Notre Dame Sydney Law Society (NDSLS) - a panel of successful women spoke about the gender pay gap and the lack of women represented in senior roles.

This year’s panel featured four very accomplished women in the field, each specialising in a different sector of the legal profession:

  1. Renée Bianchi (Barrister)
  2. Dr Virginia Marshall (Principal Solicitor/Director)
  3. Magistrate Lisa Stapleton
  4. Justice Rachel Pepper (a justice of the Land and Environment Court)

“There are still a number of issues facing women in the legal profession, including a gender pay gap, inflexible work practices, and equitable briefing,” said Bianchi.

Therefore she said, “it is important for there to be discussions about women in the law so others can see that firstly, there are women in the legal profession and who stay in the profession, and secondly that there are people challenging the profession to make it more inclusive for all.”

The panellists also spoke about the challenges they faced in their careers and offered advice on how female students can develop job pathways to a fulfilling career in the industry.

The Hon. Justice Rachel Pepper said: “ Events such as these are important not only to get exposure to women, who despite a myriad of obstacles, have managed to achieve a measure of success in law, but also to appreciate the diversity of women in the law.”

While there was discussion on the many improvements that could be made for women in the industry, Esther Adeyinka, NDSLS Education Director, said the overwhelming message was encapsulated in Bianchi’s statement that she has “never seen my gender as an issue”.

“It was very inspiring to hear from an esteemed group of women who have been able to navigate their own pathways to a role within the legal profession,” said Esther.

Media Contact – Antonia Maiolo +61 2 8304 4141 | 0431 856 077 | antonia.maiolo@nd.edu.au