Lib Dems: Justice system ‘must embrace’ gender equality

A Liberal Democrat MP has called for a 'generation of gender equality' in the justice system.

A Liberal Democrat MP has called for a “generation of gender equality” while highlighting the gap in female representation in the justice system.

Currently 10 of Scotland’s 35 judges are women (28%) and females make up 29 of the country’s 126 sheriffs (23%).

Among Justices of the Peace, 97 of 262 are women (37%), according to figures obtained by the party.

Christine Jardine, MP for Edinburgh West, said the retirement of Lady Hale as Lord President of the UK’s Supreme Court next week, and the beginning of a new decade, was a good time to reflect on the “disparity”.

She said: “Despite the fact that it’s now a century since women were given the right to hold judicial office these jobs are still stubbornly out of reach for too many of them.

“Lady Hale is to be congratulated on the progress she has encouraged but this headway feels fragile.

“The exodus of women from public office in the run-up to the general election showed that we can’t take improvements for granted.”

She added: “All workplaces need to be welcoming to people from all backgrounds.

“Liberal Democrats introduced shared parental leave and gender pay gap reporting when in Government.

“Both the Scottish and UK Governments now have a responsibility to see these policies through.

“In 2020 there can be no reason for this kind of disparity. Making decisions is not just a man’s job.

“As we enter a new decade, surely it is time for a generation of gender equality.”

Lady Hale was the first female Justice of the Supreme Court in 2009 and became the first woman appointed president in 2017.

She has been hailed as an inspiration to aspiring female lawyers and those working in the legal profession.

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