How We’re Breaking the Bias

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Breaking the Bias

 

This International Women’s Day, ExpertsDirect would like to urge those in the legal sector to continue to break the bias.

In legal practice and expert witness work, pay and promotion biases in favour of men remain stark: although women now outnumber men in the legal profession, women only comprise 35% of principals and partners in private practice in NSW;[1] 91% of expert witnesses are men and in only 10% of the cases worldwide requiring a sole expert witness, parties or the court engaged a woman expert witness.[2]

ExpertsDirect believes that governments and businesses play a crucial role in undoing gender bias.

On a global scale, we advocate for fairer opportunities for and attitudes towards women expert witnesses by remaining a signatory of the Equal Representation for Expert Witnesses Pledge (‘ERE’). As a supporter of the ERE initiatives, we join thousands of other international legal firms and individual legal practitioners across the globe in ensuring the equal visibility and fair representation of women expert witnesses throughout the expert witness sourcing, candidature, selection, and engagement process.

We are confident that our support of the Pledge will effect a rise in the number of appointed women expert witnesses; the ERA was formed as a sister pledge of the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge (‘ERA’), which, since 2015, has in fact contributed to a significant rise in the number of women acting as arbitrators.

We urge other legal firms and practitioners to become signatories to the ERE in the hope of bringing the same standards of fairness and parity to the expert witness space as those which resulted from the popularity of the ERA.

Within our own company, we have implemented a resistance to gender bias through fair employee candidature representation and have subsequently seen our business go from strength to strength. In the same year that we will celebrate the 11th anniversary of our company, more than 70% of our staff will be female, with the roles of women covering all levels and departments.

The culture and accomplishments of ExpertsDirect are reflections not only of the professionalism and skills of our women staff, but also of the efficacy of hiring on the basis of merit and demonstrated capabilities.

We look forward to a future in which governments and firms continue to advocate for gender parity and equal opportunity — not only for its just aims but also for the innovations and successes that it will bring in the workplace.

To find out more about developments in gender equity in the legal sector, read our International Women’s Day 2024 booklet. The booklet contains interviews with women in senior positions at firms across the Asia Pacific region, along with coverage of developments in the legal sector related to gender parity, including university matriculation rates, pay gaps, and work culture and opportunities.

 


1 https://www.hcamag.com/au/specialisation/diversity-inclusion/addressing-gender-inequality-in-the-law-profession/466795
2 https://www.expertwitness.co.uk/articles/journal/women-appointed-or-testified-as-sole-expert-witnesses-in-just-10-of-disputes-worldwide-in-2022-new-survey-from-ere-reveals

 

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