Observatory for Gender Equality in Legal Profession

a) Purposes

The 6th objective of the Mental Health Institute of Legal Profession (“MHILP”) consists in “To foster the feminine leadership within the legal professions and to break the “glass ceiling” through the establishment of strategic alliances with associations of female lawyers.” Also, the Third Section of the Founding Manifesto of the MHILP highlighted that, among the causes of mental health issues within legal professionals, both of them were the harassment and gender discrimination.

Taking into consideration the above, the President and the Vice President have agreed to create the Observatory for Gender Equality in Legal Profession (the “Observatory”), a Council of Government’s Delegate Commission, to begin working to fulfill the primary aim of any profession and, especially, the legal one: equality. Inequality is, unfortunately, a major problem in our profession, and the lack of opportunities among our female colleagues is an efficient cause of mental health issues.

For the prior reasons, the Observatory will have as its objectives:

  • To draft publications about questions regarding gender equality within the legal profession.
  • To establish contacts and alliances with associations and groups of female jurists to undersign collaboration agreements that allow the MHILP to work with these associations to achieve the fulfillment of this noble aim.
  • To intervene directly in decision-making procedures related to genders equality, at the same level than the Council of Government.
  • To execute awareness campaigns to help society and professionals to note that the inequality is already a problem.
  • To foster genders equality within Law Schools, Firms and Public Administrations through conferences, intervening in debates, formation courses, as well as in any formative or informative activity related to equality within the legal profession.

To endow the Observatory with its own identity, the Council of Government has also agreed that every publication and institutional messages coming from the Observatory will be preceded by the following logo:

b) Members

Coordinator: Paula Fraga Arias

Paula Fraga Arias is a graduate in Law (minor: Economics) by the School of Legal and Labour Sciences of the University of Vigo. In 2013, she got de LL.M. in European Union by the European Institute of Bilbao.

Once she ended her academic formation, Paula worked as a legal intern and participated in the drafting of the Strategic Plan of Social and Occupational Reinsertion for Imprisoned Women and Youngsters between 18-25 years old (framework programme of the European Commission-EUROsocial for the cooperation between Europe and Latin America).

Since July 2014, Paula is studying to pass the competitive examinations to access to the Judicial Profession. Right now, she is teaching a course on feminist theory and a workshop to foster women facing the risk of exclusion’s empowerment at the Bonxe’s Penitentiary Facility.

Member: Mireia Balaguer Bataller

Mireia Balaguer Bataller is graduated in Law from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) (1991-1996) and holds a degree in Criminology from the University of Barcelona (2006). Moreover, she has two master’s degree: Master’s in Criminology and Penal Enforcement by the UAB (2002), and Master’s specialization in Criminal Law and Criminal Sciences by the UB and the Pompeu Fabra University (2003).
Mireia is the co-founder partner of Bataller Balaguer Advocats (responsible for the Area of Criminal Law and Penal Enforcement) and is an Associate Professor of the Department of Criminal Law of the University of Barcelona, in the degrees of Law and Criminology from 2009. Furthermore, she is a professor attached to the Diputació de Barcelona at the Criminal Law Area at the Local Police since 2009. 
In addition to being a speaker in numerous courses organized by the Barcelona Bar Association (ICAB), she is a member of the Criminal Law Section and a member of the Regulatory Commission of the above-mentioned Bar. 
Finally, she is a member of the International Association of Lawyers (UIA), the International Bar Association (IBA), the International Criminal Bar (ICB), the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Criminal Net (European Network for Criminal Lawyers).
Member: Andrea Mendiola López

Andrea Mendiola López is a graduate in Law (specialization in gender studies) by the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). She studied the Master’s in Mediation at the Barcelona Bar Association (ICAB). Moreover, she has participated in numerous debates on equality and parity in the legal world at the Debate Forum on Equality of the University of Salamanca School of Law and the Fundación Española de Debate Jurídico.

Andrea is the founder of Joves Juristes de Catalunya, an association that tries to provide talented lawyers with the tools they need to optimize their personal, professional and academic growth. This association has partnered with the Servei Solidari Foundation to advise legally and free of charge to people at risk of social exclusion. JJC also participates in specific gender training and receives the support from the Association of Women Judges of Spain.

Andrea is currently a lawyer at the Consumers and Users Organization of Catalonia and in the Municipal Office of Consumer Information, as well as being an activist at Amnesty International in cooperation with the women’s section and the Brians penitentiary. She is also studying the Degree in Anthropology at UAB.