Chile: IBA releases latest report in series on gender equality in the law

Wednesday 20 December 2023

Download report Español Further information

The latest research on gender inequality in the global legal profession to be released by the International Bar Association (IBA) Legal Policy & Research Unit (LPRU) centres on Chile. The 50:50 by 2030: A longitudinal study into gender disparity in law – CHILE RESULTS REPORT (Gender Report) is the sixth in the series launched in partnership with the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation. Respondents to the survey revealed that although women make up 39 per cent of lawyers in Chile’s law firms, they hold only 18 per cent of senior positions.

Jaime Carey, IBA Vice President, wrote in his foreword for the Gender Report: ‘As a firm believer in evidence-based decision making, I highly value the quality of research and data that the IBA has painstakingly collected and analysed. Many of the statistics presented in the results are jarring, but viewing these results also hit me on a personal level and provoked some deep self-reflection on my role as both a leader and a man. To achieve more parity at the top, gender equity initiatives must have the robust support not only of women, but of men and especially those who are already in leadership positions. The results of this report show that the struggle towards gender equality has not been fast, but it has been positive. I hope that this study will serve as a call to action especially for those who are currently occupying positions of power.’

Overall, survey results showed that women make up 34 per cent of all senior lawyers in Chile, which is lower than published IBA research for women senior lawyers and judges in the jurisdictions of Netherlands and Nigeria where the figure stands at 46 per cent, as well as Uganda where it is 40 per cent. However, the figures for the single jurisdiction of England and Wales is lower at 32 per cent, and Spain is lower still at 31 per cent.

The Gender Report also reveals that the corporate sector has a higher percentage of women in senior role positions (54 per cent) than the overall number (52 per cent) of women within the sector. This is the only sector within the Chilean legal profession where survey respondents indicate this happens.

Additional findings in the Chile report include:

  • 76 per cent of respondents monitor gender balance overall but only 57 per cent monitor gender balance within senior positions;
  • flexible working arrangements are the most popular initiative, and perceived to be the most effective;
  • coaching and mentoring programs are popular, but only 29 per cent find them 'very effective’; and
  • despite being less popular (20 per cent), unconscious bias training is seen as the second most effective initiative.

The Chilean public sector is actively promoting greater female representation in leadership positions and has introduced innovative measures to encourage women to pursue positions of increased responsibility. The judiciary is also following suit, exemplified by the establishment within the Chilean Supreme Court of the Technical Secretariat for Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination in the Judiciary.

Andrea Muñoz, Justice of the Supreme Court of Chile, stated in her foreword for the Gender Report: ‘The study led by the International Bar Association and supported by the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation on gender inequality in the legal profession is, undoubtedly, a powerful initiative. It presents data that invites us to reflect not only on the reasons why female representation in positions of responsibility is significantly lower than the total percentage of female lawyers and the challenges we face, but also on the path travelled to get here and the lessons we can draw from that experience.’

The IBA’s 50:50 by 2030 project: A longitudinal study into gender disparity in law examines gender inequality in senior roles across the legal profession – private practice, in-house legal teams, public sector institutions and the judiciary. Unique in scope and duration, this nine-year global project aims to uncover the root causes of gender disparity at the top of the legal profession, and examine the impact of equality initiatives, to produce a blueprint for gender equality at all levels. Six reports have been released to date: England and Wales, Spain and Uganda in 2022, with Chile, the Netherlands and Nigeria in 2023.

The next report to be published will be on South Korea’s legal profession. Mexico’s and Brazil’s legal profession will be surveyed in 2024.

The nine-year global project, launched in 2021, was conceived by Almudena Arpón de Mendívil Aldama, IBA President and a partner at law firm Gómez-Acebo & Pombo in Madrid, Spain, who stated at its inception: ‘Despite good intentions, despite the merits and talent of so many women, we still don’t reach the most senior positions across the legal sector mainly due to discriminatory obstacles placed in our paths. This directly clashes with the principles defended by our profession. The legal sector cannot afford this contradiction and should lead by example. With the benefit of raised general awareness around discrimination, it is time for increased action. Through the “50:50 by 2030” global study the IBA aspires to build global empirical evidence on the barriers causing the disparity in figures between women and men in senior roles and to put forward remedies to rectify the situation in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality. We are committed to developing solutions that will bring about lasting change to reflect the broader profession and society as a whole.’


Notes to the Editor

  1. Click here to download a PDF of 50:50 by 2030: A longitudinal study into gender disparity in law – CHILE RESULTS REPORT.
  2. Click here for information on the IBA’s 50:50 by 2030 – A Longitudinal Study into Gender Disparity in Law project
  3. The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice.

    The IBA acts as a connector, enabler, and influencer, for the administration of justice, fair practice, and accountability worldwide. The IBA has collaborated on a broad range of ground-breaking, international projects with the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, The Commonwealth, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, among others.

  4. Find the IBA (@IBAnews) on social media here:

Please direct enquiries/interview requests to:

Romana St. Matthew-Daniel
Press Office

International Bar Association
Chancery House, 53-64 Chancery Lane
London WC2A 1QS
United Kingdom

Mobile: +44 (0)7940 731 915
Direct Line: +44 (0)20 7842 0094
Main Office: +44 (0)20 7842 0090
Fax: +44 (0)20 7842 0091

Email: romana.daniel@int-bar.org
Email: IBApressoffice@int-bar.org
Website: www.ibanet.org

IBA website page link for this news release:

Short link: www.tinyurl.com/mr2axe86

Full link:www.ibanet.org/Chile-IBA-releases-latest-report-in-series-on-gender-equality-in-the-law