Promoting gender equality at work

26th June 2019

On the 20th June, the Law Society and other professional bodies launch the Women in Law pledge at the Law Society’s international symposium on gender equality.

Organisations that sign the pledge are holding themselves accountable for driving gender equality in their workforce and helping to create a more diverse profession.

While Women have made remarkable gains in the last 50 years, shattering gender barriers in all aspects of life, the disparity between male and female roles within the law still continues significantly.

“In jurisdictions across the globe, female lawyers are experiencing significant barriers to progression and are struggling to reach senior leadership roles in equal numbers to men,” said Law Society president Christina Blacklaws.

While outright discrimination towards women may not be part of today’s business world, women still face second generation gender biases which are powerful yet often invisible barriers to women’s advancement that arise from cultural beliefs about gender, as well as workplace structures, practices, and patterns of interactions that inadvertently favour men. Despite the best efforts of companies to promote diversity and equality, women still dominate the lower paying administrative ranks while men continue to dominate at the executive level. This inequality is hurting corporate performance.

Gender is a protected characteristic, which means it is covered under the Equality Act 2010 (section 13). Because we are part of the EU, British workplaces are also subject to Article 141(1) of the Treaty of the European Community which states that “each Member State shall ensure that the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value is applied”.

At Gilbert Stephens we categorically promote gender equality. Terry Bastyan, Managing Partner, reinforces our standpoint and says that “as a profession our main motivation is to uphold justice. We must be ambassadors as we strive for gender equality within each and every workplace within the UK and across the globe. A wider shift in corporate culture is required in organisations to promote genuine gender equality”.

Workplace gender equality is achieved when people are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of gender. Employees should not face any sort of discrimination because they are male or female or are undergoing gender reassignment. It is in the interest of employers to not only eradicate gender inequality in the workplace but to develop proactive strategies for progressing female and male talent equally, so that they can reap the many benefits from having a gender-diverse workforce.