Croatian Association of Women in the Legal Profession is founded with the primary goal to promote, improve and affirm the status of women in a legal profession - as professional employees in the attorneyship, judiciary, corporate world, science and the legal system in general.
The Association's aim is to achieve, for the first time in the Croatian history, a unitary appearance of women in the legal profession with regard to questions essential to the legal profession, but also to questions significant to women in general.
Namely, every year more and more female students enrol in and graduate from legal studies. In the period from 2010 until today 71% of graduates from law schools in the pre-Bologna Process, i.e. 73% of graduates in the Bologna Process were women.
Here are just a few of the most intriguing official numbers concerning gender statistics in different branches of the legal profession (the data is from 2012, except for HOK - the Croatian Bar Association):
- SCIENCE – 56.21% of all scientists are women;
- JUDICIARY - as the rank of the court gets higher, the percentage of female judges in that court will be lower. Namely, according to the Croatian Bureau of Statistics, female judges make up for 72.4% of the overall judiciary staff at the Magistrates Courts, 71.2% at the Municipal Courts, 70.6% at the Commercial Courts, 60.6% at the County Courts, 45% at the Croatian Supreme Court and 33.3% at the Croatian Constitutional Court;
- STATE PROSECUTIONS OFFICE - there are 47.6% of women at the Croatian State Prosecution Office, at the District Prosecution Offices there are 56.1%, at the Municipal Prosecution Offices 69.8%, whereas at the Office for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime there are 71% women
- ATTORNEYSHIP - according to the Croatian Bar Association for 2015 - approximately 43% of the lawyers and 70% of the legal trainees are women;
- CORPORATE SECTOR - the data shows that there are many women in lower management positions with the potential for higher management, but they are still significantly under-represented in those positions.
Despite the obvious growing representation of women in the legal profession - in all of its branches - the statistics clearly point to the existence of the so called glass ceiling, which manifests itself in the fact that the proportion of women in chief positions of law schools, higher ranking courts, in the highest positions of the attorneys' profession, as well as in high corporate positions does not correlate to the proportion of women in those segments of the legal profession in general.
Besides broaching current issues significant to the position of women in the legal profession, the goal of the Association is to strengthen and develop the legal profession in general. We are witnessing the overproduction of new laws and regulations, whereby the legal profession is less and less consulted and acknowledged, which resulted in a growing number of bad, impracticable and confusing statutory solutions. The Association therefore wants, through its activities and cooperation with other legal associations, to prompt the change of such a situation, endeavouring that in the preparation of laws and regulations the views of legal experts, especially practitioners, who work in the judiciary and attorneyship, are taken into account in a higher degree than it is the case today.
Besides cooperating with associations on the territory of the Republic of Croatia, the Association intends to cooperate and actively link with all European, American and other related associations of women in the legal profession in foreign countries, of which some have already shown great interest and a wish to cooperate. The Croatian Association of Women in the Legal Profession has already achieved the cooperation and gained the support of the largest women's bar association in the U.S. - the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY).