The numbers never lie. Women in the legal profession are still financially discriminated against as compared to their male counterparts with the same qualification and experience. Very few females in the legal profession are brave enough to come out and criticize the widening scenario. Perhaps they’re worried they might lose the job they’re fully depending on. Despite the fact that very few people address the presence of a gender pay gap in the legal profession, it is still very much present. Below are 4 indicators showcasing this existence.
Women “Peak” Earlier Than Men
Women are said to be active up to during their mid-30s. After this period, their concentration starts to shift from work-related issues to family and other personal issues. This, therefore, affects their pay and hence, their pay rise in the field. Men are believed to be at their peak even after 50 and as the women continue to earn less and less salaries, their male counterparts continue seeing pay increases. At 50s, when women in the law field are earning an average of $50,000, the males with the same qualifications are earning an average of $75,000. This is an alarming difference clearly showcasing the existence of a gender pay gap in the legal profession.
Larger Pay Gap Exists with Executive Positions
The wages of the executives in most firms are not controlled in any way, unlike other firms where the executives are under controlled compensation factors. And in these situations where there’s no control of the compensation factors, there’s a possibility of even higher gender pay gap. There are situations where female executives earn up to 32 percent less than their male counterparts. The women will still be earning lower than men despite the high roles they’re given to undertake.
Marriage and Children Are a Disadvantage to Women
Men are considered more stable and reliable when they get married and have children. This increases their chances of being given promotions and pay raises. On the other hand, women lawyers who get married and have children are considered unreliable. Many law firms are convinced that the women with families are more likely to put family before their career. Women with children have lower labor force participation as compared to men. These women are, therefore, more likely to bill less hours as they spent fewer hours at the field, unlike male lawyers whose performance are hardly affected by such family issues.
Areas of Specialization
The law profession, just like any other wide field, consists of different practice areas. And the different areas vary in their set of average wages and the difference in the standard male to female ratios required. Over the past years, women more often opt to practice in areas like family law, property law, and employment law. These practice areas have low average wages as compared to the average wages in areas like commercial litigation, M&A, banking and finance, which are male-dominated areas.
The gender pay gap is a serious concern in the legal field even among high-skilled professionals. In most legal firms, men dominate high-rank and high-paying jobs despite the significant excess number of women than men in the legal profession. Most legal firms hide behind their improved diversity and compensation policies to avoid being criticized for giving their female lawyers less pay as compared to their male counterparts.