Women in Law

March is Women’s month. And it seems to BAS a good opportunity to analyse the issue of gender equality in Law in Portugal and particularly at BAS.

The weight of women in the Practice of Law is irrefutable. While in the 1990s women were a minority, representing only 25% of the total number of lawyers in Portugal, today they are close to 55%, an exponential increase.

In terms of the top positions in law firms, these numbers still fall short of the equality target of around 30%, which is understandable since the founding and senior group of lawyers are from a generation in which men were in the majority in the practice of Law. With the reversal of this trend, in the medium and long term, the number of partners and associates will surely converge.

In the case of BAS in particular, gender equality is achieved, with 16 women and 17 men. In fact, in the view of this law firm, men and women perform in similar ways. And when it comes to selecting new professionals to join the team, our focus is above all on quality and professional curriculum in the various areas of practice of the firm.


Motherhood and career

These two aspects of a woman’s life – motherhood and career – are believed to be naturally compatible by all BAS’s partners. The opposite results from a generational paradigm in which men worked and were seen as the providers for the family and women took care of the house and children, but which has long since been outdated.

“It is true that, as in all areas, motherhood, at a certain stage, namely during pregnancy and postpartum, can change women’s performance. However, with the greater balance in domestic chores and in the upbringing and daily life of children that is currently taking place, there is no reason for women to progress in their careers differently from men,” observes one of her partners.

For BAS, valuable professionals are hard to find and they add value to a law firm for decades to come. For this reason, “it is not the fact that a young lawyer, at a certain time in her life, is pregnant or has to spend more time looking after an infant child that will cloud our choice and decision to hire her, because what we are looking for are valuable professional, in the long term. That’s what we get in return,” he explains.

He adds: “First of all, it is important to put aside the idea that a woman with children has fewer professional ambitions and that she is limited in her time, availability and abilities she has to offer. It’s a whole paradigm that has to be rewritten and that takes time”. It is also important not to adopt the contrary narrative, that is, “that a woman to be able to focus on her career must necessarily give up maternity leave, see her children only half an hour a day and only on some weekends, reply to emails until 3 am”.

The secret is to achieve a balance between the two and this is possible. There are already many women in Law who are mothers and have built solid national and international careers. There is room and willingness for their numbers to grow, towards effective equality.

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