Sexual harassment exposed in British Chambers

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On the 12th of July the Bar Standard Board (BSB), an organisation in charge of regulating barristers in England and Wales in the public interest, carried out a survey called Women at the Bar of more than 1 300 female barristers.

On the 12th of July the Bar Standard Board (BSB), an organisation in charge of regulating barristers in England and Wales in the public interest, carried out a survey called Women at the Bar of more than 1 300 female barristers.

 

Several problems emerged from the results with heavy consequences.

 

40% of respondents stated they had suffered from harassment at the bar, with more than 80% of them not reporting it. The two mains reasons for not speaking out were the fear of a negative impact on their career and the prevailing attitudes towards harassment and its reporting.

 

44.9% of respondents said they had experienced discrimination, and again 78.4% of them did not report it. Here again concerns about the impact on their career and prevailing attitude among the profession were the main reason for keeping silent.
Also among those who had reported discrimination, two thirds were dissatisfied with the response.

 

68.3% of respondents stated they had contemplated leaving the bar, and this number goes up to 79.5% for those who had experienced discrimination and harassment.

 

Even though the overall results are not uplifting there are some positive points :

  • recruitment is perceived to be fair,
  • most chambers have equality policies in place,
  • awareness towards maternity leave policies is high, yet even this last statistic is spoiled by the feeling that their parental leave had a negative impact on their career.

 

To address these issues the BSB has taken the initiative of writing to each of the chambers. 

 

J.S.B