Allan and Carly from HIT WA interview 3 amazing women (an olympian, a politician, and our very own CEO Karen Finch) to talk about #breakingthebias on International Women's Day 2022.
Allan: Hit breakfast with Alan and Cali and it is International Women's Day today, Carly.
Carly: It is and the theme for this year is “Breaking the Bias” and I actually recently learned a pretty cool fact where women are actually smashing through that glass ceiling. Apparently at the moment there are more female legal practitioners than men across Australia.
Allan: Isn’t that interesting.
Carly: That is amazing to talk more on this is Karen Finch, the founder, and CEO of legally yours. Good morning, Karen.
Karen Finch: Good morning, how are you both? Thank you for having me on.
Allan: What an amazing stat to kick it off with women outnumbering men, is this a fairly recent thing is it's been kind of like just building and building over, the last few years like how is this number happened?
Karen Finch: It has been building and it's been building off I guess, we've had more, you know, since 2011, 67% of people entering the legal profession have been female.
Allan: Love it.
Karen Finch: So obviously it's no surprise that now we are outnumbering men, so 53% of practicing lawyers and that was a start from July last year, so we've now taken over, nationwide in terms of practicing lawyers.
Carly: Now further to that, not to put a dampener on it, but are women getting equal pay to men?
Allan: A great question.
Carly: That is the real difference we need to see as well, it's great that they're in those positions, but are they getting treated equally?
Karen Finch: Well, you know, wouldn't it be wonderful if I was saying yes on this break the Bias International Women's Day, but unfortunately no, that's not the reality, but look, I don't want to take away from, we should celebrate, you know that that start that 53% that they're getting there, women are dominating the ranks of sort of up to senior associate level in the legal profession, which is wonderful, so they're the ones typically doing a lot of the access to justice and delivering the legal services, which is really incredible.
However, when you do get up to that, what we call our partnership, so in law there are two types of partners, there are Equity Partners and there are salaried partners now, the Equity Partners is where you get all the money, unfortunately, we start to see the stats really, really drop when we get to that level, so currently only 16% of women are Equity Partners in Australia Top 50, so we go missing and so yes, unfortunately I can't sit here and say but look with, there is a lot of focus on this particularly this year with the break, the bias on International Women's Day and there are a lot of great things happening in the profession and in legal technology to where we're really trying to change the dialogue around this.
Well, I could imagine this has a lot of wonderful flow on effects as well, because as we know, when it comes to women and going through things like breakups and trying to rebuild their lives when a marriage breaks down, that can be really hard and really hard financially women don't always come out better off, so I think that this is wonderful, and are you seeing more positive kind of stats around women getting the help they need with more female lawyers.
Karen Finch: Look absolutely, and I think one of the good things that we can celebrate this and this sort of feeds into what I do at Legally Yours, so Legally Yours is an online legal marketplace, so we're actually a legal tech company, I was a former lawyer myself who actually found it quite frustrating to be in the legal industry back when I was practicing and so I decided to do something about it and actually disrupt the way that lawyers were delivering legal services, which is what legally yours is all about, so we connect clients to fixed fee lawyers all across Australia, which means that people can have that certainty in surety around when they're engaging a lawyer, what they're going be charged for, and what they're going be delivered, which unfortunately isn't always the case.
But through what I've been doing with legally yours since 2014, I have seen the most incredible females setting up the most amazing boutique very specialised legal service firms that are really catered towards helping women, in particular in communities, so empowering them through their legal matters, whether it be setting up a business so there's an incredible lawyer called the Mompreneur lawyer who helps female Mums setting up businesses, and we've got incredible estate planning lawyers, there's another one, Lucy Percy, she's got head and heart estate planning, and she works with women to really help them around doing all their estate planning and selecting guardians for their children, and all those sorts of lovely things, so there are some incredible success stories and some wonderful things that female lawyers are doing in the profession and they really design their firms around their end user and making sure that they're really empowering those women in those legal situations they find themselves in.
Allan: Well, you'll love to hear it. Obviously, a little bit further to go, but we're getting on our way I feel like so well-done women, Happy International Women's Day and thank you so much for the chat today, we appreciate it.
Carly: Love it.
Karen Finch: Well, thank you for having me on and let's break the bias.
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