Gender and the legal academy in the UK: a product of proxies and hiring and promotion practices

Liz Duff, Lisa Webley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In this chapter we examine the differential numbers of men and women in each of the seniority levels of the legal academy with reference to qualitative studies on gender and the legal academy in the literature, and our initial analysis of the UK Higher Education Statistical Agency’s systematically collected data derived from all higher education institutions in the United Kingdom. We then apply the human resource management research literature to these data to seek to understand how decision-making in the academy may explain ongoing inequalities. Our research suggests that the continued disparity in male-female promotion trajectories is, at least in part, a function of the way in which talent, merit, or excellence is understood and operationalised in the academy more widely. We posit that the disparity in the numbers of men and women at the higher levels of the legal academy will only be successfully countered once we adopt a more sophisticated approach to analysing what makes an excellent law teacher/researcher/administrator and then develop and promote people on that basis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender and Careers in the Legal Academy
EditorsUlrike Schultz, Gisela Shaw, Margaret Thornton, Rosemary Auchmuty
PublisherHart Publishing
ISBN (Print)9781509923137
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019

Publication series

NameOñati International Series in Law and Society
PublisherHart Publishing


  • Gender
  • Academia
  • stratification
  • talent management
  • Legal Profession


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