International Women’s Day, or IWD, is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, with a specific focus on rapidly increasing gender parity. Still, in 2022 biases and discrimination are still common occurrences in workplaces. Biases exist in workplaces when you consider the following:
- Fewer than 30% of directors in Australia are women*
- Fewer than 20% of CEOs in Australia are women*
- Fewer than 35% of key management positions are held by women*
Interestingly, the legal profession sees a majority of practising lawyers who are women. Despite this, men still outnumber women at the partner ranks. The disparity is an indicator of the fault lines that lie in transparency of workplace barriers, both cultural and systemic, that work against career progression for women.
And while we can celebrate the trend of more women in the profession, Kate Jenkin’s “Set the Standard Report” highlights power imbalances, gender inequality and lack of accountability as some of the key drivers in the perpetration of workplace bullying, sexual harassment, and assault at the highest of Australian workplaces1.
The purpose of these reports is to incite action to create change for the better. Here are four (4) steps you can take as in-house counsel to create a more equitable workplace.
How do I #breakthebias as in-house counsel?
- I will create a space in my team and workplace to call out unwanted behaviours. I will be a role model to women and others who are not the status quo to demonstrate to them that I’m more than
- I will work with my HR team to create transparent pathways to progression and think about the behaviours I want to reward. I want every member of my team to understand that promotions and progressions apply equally, and equitably, considering behaviours and barriers that some may face, whilst others do not.
- I will question what biases exist within myself and my workplace that are unconsciously advantageous to some and not others.
- I will engage with panel law firms that are also actively taking steps to foster gender equality practices to spread a united message about achieving gender parity for women across the entire legal industry.
It’s time to #breakthebias and whatever your challenge, why not strike the pose to show your commitment to choose to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes, and help forge an inclusive world and submit it to the IWD Gallery here.
Article by: Darshana Parekh, Member, ACC Australia Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Special Interest Group
ACC Australia is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive in-house profession and has created the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) Special Interest Group. If you are interested in participating in the special interest group or contributing ideas, please contact email@example.com.