Of the 107 QCs who took silk this week, 25 were women. This isn’t the largest proportion of women ever to be appointed, but since the cohort is larger than usual, it is the greatest number in real terms. Within the group are Justine Thornton of 39 Essex Chambers, wife of Ed Miliband, and Marina Wheeler of One Crown Office Row, Boris Johnson’s wife. These spouse-ships are interesting not for gossipy reasons, but because the two QCs share an intense version of the challenges that, among others, have historically kept female representation at the bar so low (it’s 23% of QCs now, but hovered for a long time around 12%): they have children and husbands who are themselves quite busy, or at least, have been in the recent past. And so to the elemental question: is the law a sexist profession?
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