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Are Women Starting To Dominate Law & Contract Management?

March 22, 2012

Do women represent a majority in the legal and contract management profession?

That is a question raised by Ken Adams in a recent blog. Ken has just completed a series of training classes on contract drafting and observed that a majority of the students in some locations were women. He asked whether IACCM has any data on this topic.

In my reply, I had to admit that I lack empirical data and cannot even analyze our membership data for a male / female divide. However, it is clear that both contract management and law are in principle relatively open professions which attract a strong proportion of women.

However, there are some caveats. Without doubt, culture plays a part. In general, our audiences in the US are far more balanced than in most other countries (so Ken’s Swiss experience may be an aberration, or perhaps he is just overwhelmingly more appealing to women than to men!). Industry also makes a difference, as does the precise role being performed. For example, the ratio of men to women tends to increase when you focus on those whose job includes extensive negotiation (and therefore regular travel and perhaps some continuing cultural prejudice and domestic challenges).

IACCM has a large and active community of ‘women in contracting’ (I see that 3 male members have also signed up for this). We believe that contract and commercial management is an excellent career path for both men and women. Typically, each brings a different strength – though much of this may be due to perceptions. For example, historic research has suggested that women see themselves to be at some disadvantage when it comes to risk management and negotiation; men perceive a disadvantage in areas such as relational skills and emotional sensitivity. Put them together and you clearly could have a winning combination!

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