Donegal's female legal eagles are making strides in the traditionally male dominated sphere of law.
Figures released by the Law Society Gazette have revealed that there are more female solicitors than male solicitors in Donegal.
For the first time, the Society has revealed the county distribution and gender breakdown of practising solicitors based on the amount of practising certificates (PCs) issued to solicitors by practice address.
In Donegal, there is a total of 129 solicitors; 61 male solicitors and 68 female solicitors.
The figures were revealed last week, coinciding with International Womens’ Day, which was marked on Thursday last.
The county with the most solicitors is Dublin, where 63% of practising solicitors are based (6,066). Most of Dublin’s solicitors are also female (3,235).
Within the State as a whole, we have 5,001 practising solicitors who are women (52%) and 4,664 who are men (48%).
The profession has become increasingly balanced, especially when compared against Law Society statistics from 2000 which reveal that 2,141 practicising solicitors were women, and 3,386 were men.
The gender schism widens the further back in time you go, with just 2 female soliticors practicing in 1925 compared to 987 men.
In 1970, there were just 71 female solicitors compared to 1,278 men. In 1980 that figure rose to 359 females to 1,791 men. Part of this increase could be attributed to the introduction of the Civil Service (Employment of Married Women) Act, 1973 which abolished the marriage bar.
Commenting on the findings, Director General of the Law Society Ken Murphy says: “Perhaps the most powerful source of human identity, even more powerful than county identity in Ireland, is gender.
“The feminisation of the legal profession has been a global trend for decades. But the pace of the trend now has massive momentum. As the Law Society proudly proclaimed in 2014, the first legal profession in the world where the majority of practising members is [sic] female was the solicitors’ profession in this jurisdiction.”
Female practitioners now constitute the majority in Carlow, Clare, Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Longford, Monaghan, and Donegal.
“The tradional male hegemony, in numerical terms within the profession continues to prevail in the great majority of individual counties,” Murphy adds.