8 The implications for gender of work in professional service firms

The case of law and accountancy

Hilary Sommerlad and Louise Ashley

Introduction

Over the past forty years, the gender composition of many professions has changed dramatically. For instance, within the legal profession of England and Wales, women’s representation has grown tenfold since the mid-1980s, and from 1992 onwards female entry to the profession has exceeded male entry. As a result, over the past twenty years the number of female admissions has grown by 50.6 per cent, compared to 6 per cent for men over the equivalent period, and by 2015 women represented 48.8 per cent of all solicitors (Law Society 2016). The entry of women has then been a key factor in the profession’s ...

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