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International Women’s Day, a day of worldwide celebration of women’s contribution to social, economic, cultural and political achievement, has a theme for 2016 to pledge to reach gender parity.
“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 root out workplace bias.”
The Law Society invited several inspiring speakers to discuss how the legal profession might address some of the current disparities in the profession including the continuing issues of lack of gender balanced leadership at the top of the profession, despite 60% of those entering the profession being female, and the gender pay gap which in the legal profession still stands at over 30%, increasing to over 40% for those females which do manage to rise to the top.
Friendly policies, not family friendly policies
Laura Devine, managing partner at Laura Devine Solicitors, and Council Member of the Law Society called in her key note speech for pay to be based on merit and contribution rather than value being based on time spent, and suggested that women should be involved in the setting of salaries at all levels of remuneration across the firm. She also suggested that pro-bono work, article writing, attending events and giving training presentations should be given a value in the same way as a billable hour and measured accordingly; these skills add value to the firm. Laura also called for an abandoning of family friendly policies which should be replaced with friendly work/life balance policies from which any employee can benefit.
Measuring the gender pay gap
Across the legal profession, the gender pay gap stands
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