The coronavirus pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on all our lives. The Next 100 Years seeks to gain an insight into the impact on women working in the legal profession by examining their experiences and evaluating the long-term consequences for the profession.
We have so far created and shared two online survey taken by women from across the legal profession- one in May and one in October 2020. You can find out the results of our surveys below.
October 2020 Survey Findings:
Taken by over 400 women in law.
1) Wages and work
Alarming news as income, working hours and job cuts affect significant proportions of women in law. Out of 419 women:
Despite this, and the positive side, there is widespread confidence in how the future will pan out in this area:
2) Health and caring
The pandemic continues to take a toll on mental health for most women in law and has increased the caring responsibilities of most of us:
3) Impact on those with children under 16
4) Remote working
May 2020 Survey Findings:
Taken by 900 women in law.
1) Confidence in Business
The positive news is that the findings revealed overall confidence that firms were handling the crisis well and that business would eventually return to normal. Out of 870 women:
- 91% of women questioned were working from home
- 77% felt that their firm or chambers were handling the crisis well
- 70% were expecting their businesses to bounce back once the crisis is over
- 20% had volunteered or acted pro-bono during the crisis
2) Alarming consequences for mental and financial health
However, the survey highlighted some alarming impacts on both mental health and income, with both taking hits in the face of the crisis. Out of 870 women:
- 66% of women said the crisis is having an impact on their mental health
- 37% were experiencing a drop in income
- But only 6% of employers reduced respondents’ formal work hours & 3% of respondents requested reduced hours
- 67% reported that their employer had furloughed staff
3) Increased childcare responsibilities and difficulty juggling these
A large portion, 350 respondents, had school age children at home. The vast majority of these were taking on more childcare responsibilities and most were struggling to juggle this alongside their work responsibilities. Out of these 350 respondents:
- 91% were taking on extra childcare and home schooling responsibilities
- 32% were forced to reduce their working hours to do so
- 49% said they were taking on more childcare responsibilities than their partner
- 73% were finding the situation hard to juggle
4) Concerns for equality and diversity
Lastly, the survey revealed a couple big concerns moving forward. It is clear that many women in law are concerned about the impact the crisis will have on equality & diversity. However, there is a sense that the take up of flexible working may increase in the future. Out of 870 women:
- 65% of respondents were concerned that the lockdown was exaggerating existing inequalities between men and women
- Over 50% voiced concerns that the diversity initiatives will fall by the wayside as financial pressures grow post-crisis
- 83% expect an increased acceptance of home working or flexible working after the crisis is over
- COVID-19: PRESSURES FACED BY WOMEN IN LAW UNDER LOCKDOWN, New Law Journal
- Crisis exaggerating gender inequalities, survey suggests, Solicitors Journal
- Third of women in law see drop in income during pandemic, Scottish Legal
- Third of women in law see drop in income during pandemic, Irish Legal
- ‘Completely exhausted’: women in law highlight Covid-19 struggles, Law Gazette
- Covid-19 “exacerbating” inequality in profession, Legal Futures
- 50% of working mothers in the law are taking on more childcare responsibilities than their partners during the Covid-19 lockdown, Practice Source
Thank you to those who took part!
We would like to thank everyone who took our survey for sharing their input and helping us understand the impact of this crisis.