Quotas are the only way to combat sexism in the workplace, and we shouldn’t be afraid to demand them

Published 25th November 2015

Supreme Court Justice Lord Sumption cautioned recently that a rush for equal representation of women at the top of the legal profession could have “appalling consequences for the quality of justice”. Really? In truth, our justice system is suffering from a democracy deficit because we need lawyers and judges who meaningfully reflect the public – rather than a narrow and privileged group disproportionately skewed to one gender, one class and one ethnicity. Countries in the Council of Europe have judiciaries with an average of 52 per cent men and 48 per cent women. Why don’t we? There is no justice in an institutionally sexist legal system, which discriminates structurally and culturally against women – and we shouldn’t be afraid to demand equality.

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