Department of Family and Community Services

Topic 5: Senior roles in the legal and education professions

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In Women in NSW 2012, we explored data on women leaders in the professions of law and school teaching. Women have been established in the teaching profession for many decades. As early as 1890, women made up nearly half of all NSW primary and secondary school teachers.1

Women’s entrance into the law, by contrast, has been more gradual: women were only permitted to practice law in 1918, and as late as 1998 they still constituted less than one-third of NSW solicitors. Their entry into other areas of the law, the bar and the judiciary, occurred even later, and the first female judge in NSW was only appointed in 1980.

In this topic we update the figures from 2012 on women in senior positions in the law (Indicator 5.1) and school teaching (Indicator 5.2), and we also examine women’s leadership in other areas of education – TAFE NSW Institutes (Indicator 5.3) and NSW universities (Indicator 5.4).


1 Facts and Figures, NSW Department of Education and Communities, accessed February 2013 at www. governmentschools.det.nsw.edu.au/files/ primary_secondary_teachers.pdf