A "significant attainment gap in secondary education" between boys and girls is one of the main causes of the imbalance between women and men entering the legal profession, according to a senior official at the Law Society of Scotland.

Writing in the Herald today, Rob Marrs, the Society's head of education, states that women have significantly outnumbered men in legal education and training for more than two decades now, and only a quarter of the more than 130 young people who attended the Society's legal studies and careers days last year were male. "Perhaps they just don't fancy it or don't think they'll get the grades", he writes. "Pupil choice is important."

Mr Marrs recognises that a question arises whether this shoud be a matter of concern, when men still dominate the senior positions in legal firms, as well as the bench amd senior bar. And there remains a gender pay gap which the Society is seeking to eliminate, and an issue over the number of women who do not return to the law after a career break. But this, he continues, "shouldn't stop us worrying about why children from the poorest communities are disproportionately less likely to go to university; particularly true of boys".

He goes on to propose that the situation could be improved by raising awareness of careers in law, and lifting aspirations and ambitions through schools programmes such as the Street Law scheme run by the Society.

Emma Ritch of the charity Engender urged the Society to increase its efforts "to smash the glass ceiling that still sits above many female lawyers' heads".