The MoJ’s press release on recent QC appointments says this, “More female and black and minority ethnic candidates have been appointed Queen’s Counsel than ever before.” And the QC appointments panel data says this, “We are pleased that the number of women applying and being successful continues to rise, and that the proportion of women amongst those appointed is at its highest level ever.” (see the press release on its site).
So it is worth pointing out the following.
The year the most women were appointed as QCs in absolute terms was in 2006 (there were 68 compared with this year’s 56). You can see the graph of the data here.
And in terms of the proportion of women applicants, 66% of women applicants succeeded in 2011/12 whereas this year it was 55%. Another picture…
And if we turn to the data that the press departments want us to focus on, we do indeed see that this year there was a higher proportion of women appointed.
That’s an increase from 23.4% last year to 27.4% this, but it was 26.9% the year before that. So this year is 0.5% higher than the previous best for that statistic.*
Of course, the most important thing about those two lines is how far apart they are; and the most important lessons from the data are probably learnt from the number of applicants and their success rates. Oh, and the length of time this is taking.
*n.b. a previous draft of this post used the wrong data. The graph and the data have been corrected here.