South Africa: Sexual Harassment and Discrimination in the Legal Profession - Taking the Bullies By Their Horns


The International Bar Association reports that almost half of South African female legal professionals say they have been sexually harassed, and 73% have been bullied. It is time for women in the profession to unite and fight back.

Women at the coalface of the legal profession - academia, paralegal and legal practice, judiciary and the prosecution - will tell you that women in the legal profession have for years struggled against anti-women attitudes among legal practitioners in both the courts and law firms, and with adapting the workplace to address both macro and microaggressions against women legal practitioners here and abroad.

Senior women legal professionals in South Africa have even written to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Justice Minister Ronald Lamola to express discontent with the fact that they are not respected. They complained about the State briefing only their male counterparts to "assist the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) with its State Capture prosecutions". These contestations must be understood broadly from the challenges women legal professionals are faced with daily, in particular the scourge of gender-based discrimination (GBD) and gender-based violence (GBV) in the legal profession.

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