Wednesday 8th March is International Women’s Day (IWD), a worldwide event which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, while pushing for gender equality around the world.

For International Women’s Day 2017, the theme is #BeBoldForChange“Call on the masses or call on yourself to help forge a better working world – a more inclusive, gender equal world”.

Everyone – men and women – can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly – whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or eliminate workplace bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.

On this day our partners and staff hosted tables at a variety of functions in Queensland, Victoria and NSW to celebrate. Each of our offices hosted morning teas with speakers from local community clients Women’s Legal Service NSW, VIC and Share the Dignity.

We are proud to use this opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our female staff and how our firm is playing a role in highlighting the importance of creating conditions for the elimination of discrimination against women and for their full and equal participation in social development.

How our firm is playing a role?

Our legal practice continues to undertake a wide range of activities and initiatives to support our women, at every level. We also undertake a range of projects outside our legal practice to assist women in the community.

Here is just a snapshot of what we are doing:

Our Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) program is well under way. The I&D policy has been approved, together with a corresponding action plan.

  • Domestic Violence Leave is available to support all employees if they or their immediate family are a victim of family or domestic violence.  This protocol was launched in 2015.
  • Our partnership with Pride in Diversity provides our practice with support, resources and networking opportunities for LGBTI employees.
  • We have partnered with Diverse City Careers (DCC) who are Australia’s only job board which selects companies to work with based on their internal policies and culture. DCC’s main focus is to promote women being recruited into organisations.
  • We have improved our Parental Leave policy and made it more generous. We have concentrated on welcoming our return from parental leave people in a more inclusive and consistent way across the practice.
  • Our backup childcare guidelines have now been taken out of pilot and are now embedded in our suite of policies.
  • We have focussed on working flexibly and will continue to encourage those that want to work flexibly to manage life and work balance.
  • We are a signatory to the Advancement of Women Charter, a Law Society of New South Wales initiative. Together, we are committed to promoting diversity, equality, respect and inclusion consistent with the principles of justice, integrity, equity and the pursuit of excellence in the legal profession.
  • The exclusive focus of our Foundation is to promote and protect the rights of women and children in Australia and abroad. We are therefore working with some of Australia’s leading charities, not-for-profit organisations and community legal centres to assist vulnerable and disadvantaged women across Australia.
  • We have partnered with Woor-Dungin, providing volunteer mentors for the Maarni program. The program aims to develop the leadership, employment and governance skills of participating Aboriginal women, addressing the lack of suitable training and employment programs for Aboriginal women in Victoria.
  • We have partnered with CareerTrackers to employ two indigenous law students for a 12 week internship over the summer holidays. This year our Brisbane office hosted Sarah Black in the in the CDR Group.
  • We have teamed up with North Queensland Women’s Legal Service to develop a new community partnership via our Brisbane office. The partnership is aimed at boosting its capacity to assist vulnerable women and children. This partnership complements partnerships with Women’s Legal Services NSW, QLD and VIC. Those partnerships aim to provide:
  1. A wide range of pro bono legal services.
  2. In kind support, such as venue use, photocopying and word processing services.
  3. Volunteering support from all our people.
  4. A small financial contribution to assist in sustaining legal positions.