find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Childcare challenges exacerbate female attrition

Childcare challenges exacerbate female attrition

The president of Australian Women Lawyers (AWL) has claimed that Australia’s inaccessible childcare system is stopping lawyers and barristers from returning to work after maternity leave.

Kate Ashmor (pictured) told Lawyers Weekly that anecdotal evidence suggests that an inability to access childcare, whether due to cost or limited places, is contributing to the attrition rate of women in the legal profession.

Female lawyers in small-to-medium firms are particularly vulnerable, she said. “Women in these roles are not high flyers ... they are on modest incomes.”

Even the profession’s high earners who can afford to pay for childcare – its price tag climbed by three times the inflation rate last year – are still constrained by the often impractical opening hours of childcare centres, she added.

Ashmor also singled out female barristers as a vulnerable group. She said many are forced to refuse briefs or leave the profession altogether because the childcare system can’t cater to their needs.

Female barrister numbers are already shrinking due to an increase in women being appointed to the bench, according to recent research by the AWL. There are currently 340 female judges in Australia, around 34 per cent out of a total of 1014, compared to about eight per cent in 1995.

Propping up female numbers at the Bar, as well as the wider profession, requires childcare reform at a government level, according to Ashmor. She urged the Federal Government to regulate nannies under the childcare system, which would attract the Childcare Rebate.

“I am very confident that this would positively address some of the issues facing women lawyers, including the attrition rate of women lawyers and barristers,” she said.

She also encouraged employers to be “reasonably accommodating” of women returning from maternity leave by avoiding setting meetings and deadlines between 8am and 9am or after 5pm – childcare pick-up and drop-off times.

“It might involve changing habits, but it’s not a big deal,” she added.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Childcare challenges exacerbate female attrition
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
Oct 23 2017
Lawyers slam rushed consultation for SA repeat offenders bill
The Law Society of South Australia has expressed concern for a proposal to roll out new laws amendin...
Oct 23 2017
The pursuit of happiness in the law
A panel of legal experts have explored how to define success in the legal profession, and how lawyer...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...