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The National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment has uncovered some uncomfortable truths about legal workplaces and sexual harassment.

As a lawyer and the Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner, I would love to see Australia’s legal sector take the lead in gender equality and combatting sexual harassment at work. However, after more than 20 years in practice, I have been dismayed at the sector’s current record on both.

Lawyers love facts, so let’s examine those first. The statistics on gender equality and sexual harassment in the Australian legal sector paint a picture of a profession that has not changed much since 1984 when the Sex Discrimination Act was introduced.

Law is not the only sector slow to change – but it is one in which many of the common excuses for gender inequality don’t apply.

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