Gender equality

In order to be an industry leader in diversity and inclusion, we must also be recognised as the leading firm for the attraction, promotion and retention of women. Gender targets are an important part of the firm's overall approach to achieving greater gender diversity and we are committed to achieving 30 per cent female representation across the partnership and the Executive Committee, Global Board, Management Committees and Regional Boards by 2020. Targets on their own would achieve minimal impact without our supporting gender programmes – to addressing and reducing unconscious bias in decision making processes; targeted leadership development for women including coaching, mentoring and sponsorship; and strengthening professional networking through our women's networks and Diversity and Inclusion Committees.

Supporting our people

Employee resource groups for women

We have women’s networks in many of our offices around the world, whose aim is to support the personal and professional career development of women of all levels within the firm.

Nurturing high performance

As part of our drive to pursue and retain the best talent, we run a modular development program for high-performing female lawyers, the first of its kind in the legal sector. We have run the program for our women in Australia, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and have recently launched in the US. Each region works to deliver on our commitment to diversity, particularly in offices or teams where women are significantly under-represented.

Global percentage of female partners

Australia 28%

Canada 27%

Europe, Middle East and Asia 25%

South Africa 37%

United States 20%

Female partners globally 25%

Women on Global Executive Committee 32%

As of May 1, 2017

International Women’s Day

Our women’s networks in our offices around the world host events throughout the year in order to provide learning, development and networking opportunities to all our people. This provides a visible forum where issues affecting women (in law and across our clients’ industries) can be discussed freely. For International Women’s Day, our networks organized a range of activities aligned to this year’s theme of Pledge for Parity, encouraging us all to take concrete steps towards achieving gender parity within our firm more quickly.

Supporting the community 

Helping women return to work

Smart Works is a charity which focuses on women who are struggling to start their careers or get back into work after a prolonged break. It provides women with interview clothing and advice to optimize their chances of success. We started working with Smart Works through monthly clothing drives in our London office and our relationship has gone from strength to strength over the years.

G(irls)20 Summit: promoting the empowerment of girls and women as agents of economic and social change

We are proud to be one of the founding partners of G(irls)20, an initiative which promotes the empowerment of girls and women as agents of economic and social change. Each year, the G(irls)20 Summit sets out to design solutions to global economic challenges. The ’G(irls)’ selected as delegates from each G20 country – plus a representative from the European and African Unions, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the MENA region – develop and present a communiqué to the G20 leaders, ministers of industry, health, innovation, economic development and foreign affairs, and ambassadors. The G(irls)20’s mission is to increase the number of women in work at all levels around the world.

In 2016, the seventh summit, took place in Beijing. Our Global Head of Learning and Development Carolann Edwards delivered leadership training to the delegates and gave a keynote speech about the future of jobs and talent. Sally Macindoe, our global head of diversity and inclusion and chair of GDIAC, moderated a panel called ‘Securing a fair share in growth sectors’.

Perspectives: (Wo)men’s work
Alexandra Howe, foreign legal advisor, New York

At the G(irls) 20 Summit in Beijing in 2016, I showed the 18 year-old delegate from China, Xinju Hong, the front page of the China Daily. The photo on the cover of this national newspaper showed her smiling face alongside an article dedicated to a story about the Summit and its goal of promoting greater female participation in the workforce in order to achieve OECD economic goals.