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View the latest news from Australian Women Lawyers.

Women rise in ranks of senior law associates

This article by Marianna Papadakis appeared on p10 of the Australian Financial Review on 22 January 2016. The article notes the rising proportion of women senior associates in Australia's law firms and the barriers that still exist in making it to partner level.

Demand for domestic violence legal aid spikes

According to this article by Felicity Cook which appeared in Lawyers Weekly on 8 January 2016, family law specialists and legal aid lawyers in Queensland are gearing up for a busy year, with domestic violence hotlines ringing off the hook. Speaking with Lawyers Weekly, Angela Lynch, community education lawyer at Women’s Legal Service (WLS) Queensland, said the number of women accessing domestic violence services has increased over the past year. WLS saw a 40 per cent increase throughout 2015, following the release of a report by the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland in February last year.

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In-house leading the way in flexibility

According to this article by Lara Bullock which appeared in Lawyers Weekly on 8 January 2016, Australian companies are providing a high level of flexibility for in-house lawyers, which is having positive flow-on effects for the rest of the industry, according to senior lawyers.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion hosted by Lawyers Weekly and DLA Piper in December, Alexandra Rose, the senior manager of regulatory affairs at IAG, said: “I think it’s more flexible in the in-house environment to be able to take maternity leave, or a career break or a secondment, or whatever sort of time out you want from the workplace and come back.” She continued: “Part of that, I think, is that some of the Australian companies are particularly supportive towards their employees and they want to retain the talent.”

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The Australian - Legal Affairs 18 December 2015

The Legal Affairs section of The Australian for 18 December 2015 includes a number of articles about women's participation in the legal profession, particularly at senior levels. The articles concern women in major law firms, at the Bar and as Judges.

Those articles are available here: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/legal-affairs. You may need to subscribe to The Australian to be able to read the articles.

Women’s report card 2015 - WA

The State Government has released its 2015 Women's Report Card, providing an overview of the progress of women in Western Australia. In her media release dated 18 December 2015, Women's Interests Minister Liza Harvey said the report, issued every three years, was the latest update of data relating to the status of women.

"The Women's Report Card shows how far women have progressed in terms of leadership, economic independence, safety and justice, and health and wellbeing," Mrs Harvey said. "Women's progress is slow in certain areas; females continue to be underrepresented in leadership roles and are more likely than men to have no savings at retirement. "But other areas have shown improvement including women in senior executive roles in the public sector had increased from about 20 per cent to 30 per cent and there was a steady increase of women in the workforce. "The report provides an excellent evidence base for the policies and programs of government, corporate and community organisations.  By making use of the data, we will continue to concentrate our efforts where they are most needed."

Statistics from the 2015 Women's Report Card include:

  • in 2013-14, women's average superannuation balances were 38 per cent less than men's, $83,110 compared with $134,800
  • in 2014, the gender pay gap for full time employees in WA was 25.4 per cent compared with 18.5 per cent nationally
  • the proportion of female members on all WA Government boards and committees was 43.6 per cent in 2015
  • women's labour force participation rate increased from 43 per cent in 1978 to 61 per cent in 2014.
The WOmen's Report Card 2015 for Western Australia is at: https://www.dlgc.wa.gov.au/Publications/Documents/2015-Womens-Report-Card.pdf