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Corporate houses ask law firms to advise them on how to handle harassment allegations. But what about the harassment going on in law firms? A new study has shocking results.
According to a recent survey by The International Bar Association, one in three female attorneys has been sexually harassed at work. Half of them have been bullied as well. This survey shows the need for #MeToo in law firms as well.
This survey was conducted online among 6,980 attorneys from 135 countries. It shows a mirror as to how sexual harassment is a pretty common thing in the law industry.
The report discovered that sexist and sexual comments, sexual propositions, inappropriate touching and demands for sexual favours in return for work were “significantly more prevalent in barristers’ chambers”.
The fact remains that the entire workplace in most legal bodies is male-dominated. Also, the hierarchical power structure could be a reason for sexual harassment being pretty common.
The thought of one’s career being ruined by the ‘bosses’ could be a reason for blackmailing female staff according to the report. It can be seen that the reasons for harassment are no different in law firms than in any other corporate firm. The fact that lawyers who are meant to be fully conversant with the law, are themselves such rampant offenders, is deeply disturbing.
This survey has raised a very important question as to how much we can trust the legal system. How can sexual predators be trusted to provide justice?
The #MeToo movement which gained steam in Hollywood soon took the world by storm. We saw highly ‘reputed’ men across industries facing charges of sexual harassment. Since then, law firms have been approached by many firms to help place workplaces safer for women.
This particular report has raised many questions on the operation of the entire legal sector. Barristers and lawyers who are expected to provide justice to sexual harassment victims are on themselves molesters in their workplaces! There is an urgent need for the legal fraternity across countries to reflect and correct the internal rot first.
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