Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

Women in Law

About the Project

The ultimate aim of the project is to develop a set of recommendations to advance the position of women in the law.

The project will comprise two main elements. First, it will entail a detailed empirical study of the position of women in the law, that is legal education and academia, the legal professions, employed lawyers and judges. This empirical study will employ a variety of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Secondly, based upon the results of the empirical study, recommendations will be put forward in order to enhance gender equality.

Actions to achieve that aim:

  • Conduct empirical research (statistical survey, questionnaires and interviews) to:
    • Create database of women in the law
    • Identify extent and causes of women’s under-representation in the law
    • Identify extent and causes of gender segregation within the law
    • Identify extent and nature of discrimination against women in the law
    • Identify extent and nature of difficulties in reconciling family and work life in law
    • Examine difficulties involved in enforcing employment equality measures within framework of hierarchical employment, self-employment and individualistic culture.
  • Conduct scholarly legal research to:
    • Identify literature on women's experiences as lawyers
    • Identify limits of legal redress in anti-discrimination law
    • Identify the limits of anti-discrimination law and the development of positive action and mainstreaming strategies, in light of these limitations.

  • Particular consideration will be given to identifying and remedying the limits of legal redress. It is anticipated that cultural norms, and social and economic disadvantage, will be found to be significant factors in under-representation of women at different levels within the legal structures. The recommendations must address the potential inadequacies in legal remedies, and will attempt to find alternative routes of redress.
  • Hold brainstorming sessions with interested parties prior to the completion of the report.
  • Develop a set of strategic recommendations to address the issues and problems identified by the empirical research, scholarly legal research and brainstorming.
  • Publish a report of all aspects of the research findings and recommendations.
  • Disseminate publication to legal professional bodies, universities, career guidance bodies, government departments, educational policy makers, professional associations of other regulated professions, trade unions and employers' organisations and women's organisations
  • Hold conference with participants from all of above groups, in order to disseminate research and recommendations to contribute to mainstreaming.
  • Make database available to professional bodies.

Report Findings



Professor Ivana Bacik, School of Law, House 39, New Square, Trinity College Dublin 2

Catherine Finnegan, School of Law, House 39, New Square, Trinity College Dublin 2

Project Co-Ordinators
Professor Ivana Bacik
Dr. Eileen Drew
Ms Cathryn Costello


Pictured above at the launch front row from left - right: Geraldine Clarke, President of the Law Society of Ireland, The Hon. Ms Justice Mella Carroll, High Court, Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform, Michael McDowell TD, The Hon. Ms Justice Catherine McGuinness, Supreme Court, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC. Back row : H.E. Sir Steward Eldon, CMG, OBE, British Ambassador, Dr Eileen Drew, Dept of Statistics, TCD, Prof Ivana Bacik, Law School, TCD, Cathryn Costello, Law School, TCD , Mr. Tony O'Reilly, British Council.

As part of the project, we have set out to create a comprehensive bibliography of references to scholarly research and reports on the issue of women in law. Below are the preliminary findings of this literature review. All suggestions and additions are welcome.

1. Journals
2. Reports


    1. Brockman J., 'Gender Bias in the Legal Profession: A Survey of Members of the Law Society of British Columbia', 17 Queen's L.J. 91, (1992)

2. Tahmindjis, Philip, 'The International Bar Association Resolution on Non-Discrimination in Legal Practice', 18 Australian Bar Review 1, (March 1999)


3. Brockman, Joan, 'The Use of Self-Regulation to Curb Discrimination and Sexual Harassment in the Legal Profession', 35 Osgoode Hall L.J. 209, (Summer 1997)

4. Brockman J., 'Resistance by the Club to the Feminization of the Legal Profession', 7 Can. J.L. & Soc'y 47, (1992)

5. Curtis, Carole, 'Alternative Visions of the Legal Profession in Society: A Perspective on Ontario', 33 Alberta Law Review 787, (1995)

6. Fromm, Delee and Marjorie Webb, 'The Work Experience of University of Alberta Law Graduates', 23 Alberta Law Review 366, (1985)

7. Kay, Fiona M. and John Hagan, 'The Transformation of the Law Firm and the Changing Opportunities for Partnership', 32 Osgoode Hall Law Journal 413, (1994)

8. Mossman, Mary Jane, 'Lawyers and Family Life? A Review of the CBA Task Force on Gender Equality', 7 Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 238, (1994)

9. Nova Scotia Barristers' Society, 'Rule 24: Discrimination', The Legal Ethics Reporter, (February 1998)

10. Nova Scotia Barristers' Society, 'Rule 24: Discrimination', The Legal Ethics Reporter, (July 1998)

11. Pothier, Dianne, 'On Not 'Getting it', 33 Alberta Law Review 817, (1995)

12. Pothier, Dianne, 'A Comment on the Canadian Bar Association's Gender Equality Task Force Report', 16 Dalhousie Law Journal 484, (1993)

13. Ross, June et al., 'Women in the class of 1979: Thirteen Years Later', 30 Alberta Law Review 843, (1992)

14. Tennant, Chris, 'Discrimination in the Legal Profession, Codes of Professional Conduct and the Duty of Non-Discrimination', 15 Dalhousie Law Journal 464, (1992)

15. Thornhill, Esmeralda, Ethics in the Legal Profession: The Issue of Access, 33 Alberta Law Review 810, (1995)

New Zealand

7. Murray, Georgina, New Zealand Women Lawyers at the End of the Twentieth Century, Sociology of Law Conference, Warsaw, (July 1999)

United Kingdom

8. Barton Catherine and Catherine Farrelly, 'Woman Lawyer Conference, Women in the Legal Profession', New Law Journal, (24 April 1998)

9. Bundock Michael and Trevor Cooper, 'Woman Lawyer Conference, Sex Discrimination and Trainees' Salaries', New Law Journal, (24 April 1998)

10. Fisher David, 'Women in the Law, Equal in law? The Case of the Female Lawyer', New Law Journal, (14 May 1999)

11. Goodsir, Jane, 'Legal Profession: It's Still a Man's World', New Law Journal, (November 1992)

12. Harvie, Dominique, 'Discrimination- Equal Opportunities in the Solicitor's Profession', New Law Journal, (27 May 1994)

13. McCabe, Margaret, 'A Proactive Approach to Equal Opportunities', 145 New Law Journal 482, (1995)

14. McGlynn Clare, 'Women Lawyers, A Different Voice?', New Law Journal, (31 May 1996)

15. Nott, Susan, 'Legal Profession: Women in the Law-1', New Law Journal, (2 June 1989)

United States

16. Allen Babcock, Barbara, 'Western Women Lawyers', 45 Stan. L. Rev. 2179, (1993)

17. Benke, Nikolaus, 'Women in the Courts: An Old Thorn in Men's Sides', 3 Mich. J. Gender & Law 195, (1995)

18. Bisom-Rapp, Susan, 'Scripting Realities in the Legal Workplace: Women Lawyers, Litigation, Prevention Measures, and the Limits of Anti-Discrimination Law', 6 Colum. J. Gender & L. 323, (1996).

19. Decker, Amy E., 'Women in Corporate Law: Rewriting the Rules', 4 Am. U. J. Gender & Law 511, (Spring 1996)

20. Epstein, Cynthia Fuchs et al., 'Glass Ceilings and Open Doors: Women's Advancement in the Legal Profession', 64 Fordham Law Review 291, (1995)

21. Fontaine, Valeriem, 'Progress Report: Women and People of Color in Legal Education and the Legal Profession', 6 Hastings Women's Law Journal 27, (1995)

22. Foster, Elizabeth S., 'The Glass Ceiling in the Legal Profession: Why do Law Firms Still Have So Few Female Partners?', 42 UCLA L. Rev. 1631, (August 1995)

23. Fox, Eleanor, 'Being a Woman, Being a Lawyer and Being a Human Being Woman and Change', 57 Fordham Law Review 955, (1989)

24. Garrison, Marsha, Brian Tomko, and Ivan Yip, 'Succeeding in Law School: A Comparison of Women's Experiences at Brooklyn Law School and the University of Pennsylvania', 3 Mich. J. of Gender & Law 1 (1996)

25. Grant Bowman, Cynthia, 'Bibliographical Essay: Women and the Legal Profession', 7 Am. U.J. Gender Soc. Pol'y & L. 149 (1998-1999)

26. Guinier, Lani, Michelle Fine, and Jane Balin, 'Hey There's Ladies Here!!'' Reflections on: Becoming Gentlemen: Women, Law School, and Institutional Change', 73 N.Y.U.L. Rev. 1022, (June 1998)

27. Hensler, Deborah R., 'Studying Gender Bias in the Courts: Stories and Statistics', 45 Stan. L. Rev. 2187 (1993)

28. Homer, Suzanne and Lois Schwartz, 'Admitted But Not Accepted: Outsiders Take an Inside Look at Law School', 5 Berkeley Women's L.J. 1 (1989-90)

29. Kaye, S., 'Women in Law: The Law Can Change People', 66 N.Y.U.L. Rev. 1929, (December 1991)

30. Kende, Mard S., 'Shattering the Glass Ceiling: A Legal Theory for Attacking Discrimination Against Women Partners', 46 Hastings Law Journal 17, (1994)

31. Menkel-Meadow, Carrie, 'Portia in a Different Voice: Speculations on a Woman's Lawyering Process', 1 Berkeley Women's L.J. 39, (1985)

32. Regis, Jacqueline et al., 'Countering Gender Bias: MSBA Takes Action', Bar And Bench, (October 1997)

33. Rhode, Deborah L., 'Perspectives on Professional Women', 40 Stan. L. Rev. 1163, (1988)

34. Ruble Round, D., 'Gender Bias in the Judicial System', 61 S. Cal. L. Rev. 2194, (1988)

35. Swent, Jeannette F., 'Gender Bias at the Heart of Justice: An Empirical Study of State Task Forces', 6 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Women's Stud. 1, (1996)

36. Taber, Janet et al., 'Gender, Legal Education, and the Legal Profession:An Empirical Study of Stanford Law Students and Graduates', 40 Stan. L. Rev. 1209, (1988)

37. Wilson, Lisa A. & David H. Taylor, 'Surveying Gender Bias at One Midwestern Law School', 9 Am. U.J. Gender Soc. Pol'y & L. 251 (2001)


Preliminary Bibliography- Reports

1. Australian Law Reform Commission, Equality Before the Law: Women's Access to the Legal System, Report No. 67, (1994); Report No. 69 (1994)

2. Australian Law Reform Commission, Equality Before the Law: Women's Equality- An Overview No Date

3. Law Society of New South Wales, Equal Opportunity Committee, Submission to Law Society Council, (May 1995)

4. Law Society of New South Wales, Equal Opportunity Policy, (1996)

5. Law Society of New South Wales, Getting Through the Door is Not Enough- an Examination of the Equal Employment Opportunity Response of the Legal Profession in the 1990s (Survey), (1993)

6. Law Society of Western Australia, Implementing the Gender Bias Task Force Report, (1995)

7. Malcolm, Justice D.K., Report of Chief Justice's Taskforce on Gender Bias, (30 June 1994)

8. New South Wales Bar Association, Resolution re Sexual Harassment, Sexual Discrimination and Sexist Behaviour, (June, 1995)

9. New South Wales, Ministry for the Status and Advancement of Women, Gender Bias and the Law- Women Working in the Legal Profession in New South Wales, (1995)

10. Senate Standing Committee, on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Gender Bias in the Judiciary, (September 1993)

11. University of Western Australia, Disadvantaged Lawyers: Women in the Legal Profession, (1994)

12. Victorian Bar Council, Equality of Opportunity for Women at the Victorian Bar, (1998)

13. Victorian Women Lawyers, Taking Up the Challenge: Women in the Legal Profession, (1999)

14. Victorian Young Lawyers, Women in Law No Date

Back to Top

15. Canadian Bar Association, Gender Issues in the Legal Profession: a Synopsis of the Gender Equality Task Force Report, (November 1993)

16. Canadian Bar Association Taskforce on Gender Equality, Touchstones for Change: Equality, Diversity and Accountability, (1993)

17. Canadian Bar Association- Quebec, Groupe de Travail sur Lâ Egalite des sexes, (1991)

18. Kay F.M., N. Dautovich & C. Marlor, Barriers and Opportunities Within Law: Women in a Changing Legal Profession: A Longitudinal Survey of Ontario Lawyers 1990-1996 (Toronto: Law Society of Upper Canada, 1996)

19. Law Society of British Columbia, Women in the Legal Profession Subcommittee, Women in the Legal Profession: A Report of the Women in the Legal Profession Subcommittee (Vancouver: Law Society of British Columbia, 1991)

20. Quebec Bar Association, Comite sure Les Femmes dans la Profession, Les Femmes Dans la Profession, (1992)

21. Toronto Department of Education, Women in the Legal Profession: The Law Firm of the 1990s, (1989)


New Zealand
22. Cockanye, ed., Women in the Legal Profession: The Report of the Second Working Party on Women in the Legal Profession (Auckland: Auckland District Law Society, 1989).

United Kingdom

23. The Law Society, Women in the Solicitors' Profession, (1997)

24. Law Society of England and Wales, Equal Opportunities in Solicitors Firms No Date

25. Law Society of England, Equal in the Law, (January 1988)

26. The Law Society Practice Planning and Policy Unit, Organisation and Perceptions, (1991)

27. TMS Consultants, Without Prejudice? Sex Equality at the Bar and in the
Judiciary, English Bar Council and LCD, (1992)

United States

28. ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, Report to the House of Delegates (1988)

29. ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, Options and Obstacles: A Survey of the Studies of the Careers of Women Lawyers 4 (1994)

30. ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, Women in the Law: A Look at the Numbers 8 (1995)

31. American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession, Unfinished Business: Overcoming the Sisyphus Factor, 14 (1995)

32. American Bar Association, Commission on Women in the Legal Profession, Elusive Equality: The Experiences of Women in Legal Education, 1996

33. American Bar Association, Final Report of the Committee on Diversity, 2000

34. Boston Bar Association and the Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts, Task-Force on Part-Time Lawyering , (1995)

35. Colorado Women's Bar Association, Gender Penalties: The Results of Careers and Compensation Study, (1998)

36. D.L. Rhode, ABA Commission on Women in the Legal Profession, The Unfinished Agenda: women and the Legal Profession, (2001)

37. Indiana State Bar Commission on Women in the Profession Report No other details

38. Law School Admission Council, Research Report Series, Women in Legal Education: A Comparison of the Law School Performance and Law School Experience of Women and Men, (1996)

39. Report of the Commission to Implement Recommendations of the N.Y. Task Force on Women in the Courts (1987)

40. Report of The New Jersey Supreme Court Task Force on Women in the Courts No other details

41. Report of the New York Task Force on Women in the Courts (1986)

42. Second Report of the Commission to Implement Recommendations of the N.Y. Task Force on Women in the Courts (1988)

43. State Bar of Texas, Gender Bias Task Force of Texas, Final Report, (1994)

44. State Bar of Texas, Department of Research and Analysis, Annual Report of the Status of Women in the State Bar of Texas (2000-1), (2001)

45. The 1990 Report of the Illinois Task Force on Gender Bias in the Courts (1990)

46. The Gender, Race, and Ethnic Bias Task Force Project in the D.C. Circuit, IVA-26 (1995)

47. Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts, Report on a Survey on Maternity/Paternity Leave, Part Time Employment, and Related Subjects, (1982)

48. The Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts, More Than Part-Time: The Effect of Reduced Hours Arrangements on the Retention, Recruitment and Success of Women Attorneys in Law Firms, (2000)

49. Viner Samborn, Hope, Women of Color Ascend the Ivory Tower, ABA Commission on Women in the Profession: Perspectives for and about Women Lawyers, (Summer 1996)

Back to Top