Women Lawyers’ Association applauds law firms named as Employers of Choice

The Women Lawyers’ Association of NSW (WLA NSW) applauds the 98 organisations that were recognised on 6 March 2011 with the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) Employer of Choice for Women citation for gender equality in the workplace.

However, WLA NSW is still confident the list could include more law firms and serves as a reminder that there is still room to improve in relation to gender equality in the legal profession.

Rebecca Barry, President of the Women Lawyers Association of NSW explains that Women Lawyers is concerned as “over 60% of law students are women however this percentage is very different to the percentage of women who are appointed Partners, Senior Counsel and Directors on Boards”

Further Ms Barry comments “What happens to these women? Where do they go? It is certainly not the senior echelons of the legal profession, the bar and boards. There just is not enough support. I am not referring to mere encouragement. I am talking about the practicalities around maternity leave, equal pay and support structures such as widespread mentoring.”

WLA NSW congratulates the law firms named as 2011 Employers of Choice, including: Allens Arthur Robinson, Baker & McKenzie, Blake Dawson, Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Deloitte, Freehills, Gilbert & Tobin, Henry Davis York, Mallesons Stephen Jaques, McCullough Robertson, Minter Ellison and Norton Rose.

In order to receive the citation, the organisations were required to fulfil strict criteria including the provision of a minimum of 12 months’ paid maternity leave after a year’s employment, regular gender-based pay analysis and regular sexual harassment training.

Ms Barry praises those recognised “On behalf of WLA NSW I congratulate those organisations who have achieved the goal as an Employer of Choice and encourage all organisations to strive to reach this goal going forward”.

The recognition of the importance of gender equality is imperative in all workplaces and WLA NSW takes this opportunity on International Women’s Day to encourage more law firms to strive to fulfil the criteria set by EOWA, for a greater representation of law firms on its Employers of Choice list in future years.

For further information, please contact Kathryn McKenzie, Executive Officer on 0466 157 087 or at executive@womenlawyersnsw.org.au.

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