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International Women’s Day 2021

International Women’s Day gives us an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women, and in particular those working at our firm. The theme for 2021 is ‘Choose to Challenge,’ a reminder that we all can and should choose to call out gender bias and inequality to create an inclusive world.

Women are not a homogenous group; they are diverse by nature of their backgrounds, their life experiences, their abilities, perspectives and opinions, and International Women’s Day is about celebrating inclusion of women in its truest sense.

We have much to celebrate in our global firm – we have remarkable women doing notable work throughout the world. In January 2021, we became the first ‘Am Law 200’ firm to name a woman of color, Shauna Clark, as both our Global and US Chair. Recently, Shauna spoke with women leaders of the firm to get their views on the challenges that women face today, including discrimination and micro-aggression in the workplace and the perceptions of female leadership during a pandemic.

“Discrimination is much less overt now, it’s subconscious in many ways and I think that makes it more challenging to overcome,” said Alison Deitz, Managing Partner, Australia. “We, as female leaders, need to be very aware of that and ensure we can overcome it, whether by unconscious bias training or actively putting in place metrics for gender pay equity, to ensure that we’re not discriminating in any shape or form.”

“We’re getting to the point now where gender discrimination is more systemic, so it’s around the actual structures themselves and who is at the table making the decisions and the transparency around that, which is different to what was more bold and in your face in the past,” echoed Angela Tancock, Chief Strategy Officer, Canada.

The reality, then, is that women still are fighting not just for a place at the table – but to be listened to when they get a seat there.

“As a woman I get penalised for my tenacity and for being direct,” explained Natasha Moore, Head of Learning and Development, Europe, Middle East and Asia. “Women are often invited to the party, but we’re not invited to dance.”

One issue that remains is that women who are assertive are sometimes painted in a negative light, which can make them reluctant to display their full confidence or potential.

“In the context of the work place, many women wait until they are 100 percent ready to take up a challenge, whereas our male counterparts would not do that, and what I say to women is – you go the extra mile, not because you are a woman but because you will find very few people in that space, and that is your place to make your mark in, in whatever way you choose to,” said Marelise van der Westhuizen, CEO, South Africa.

“Women who are seen as go-getters can be judged more harshly and we don’t just see that in professional organisations, but in the wider world too,” added Farmida Bi, EMEA Chair. “Women politicians, for example, are held to a different standard. However, the thing I’ve found most interesting about the current pandemic is the discussion around whether female leaders in countries like New Zealand or South Korea have proved to be more successful because they are leading in a different, better way.”

“When I started, I didn’t have the courage to be my authentic self and I became very adept at shifting my personality to make those around me more comfortable, and it was just another weight that I carried, in addition to being black and a woman and young in a male-dominated environment,” Shauna said.

Combatting the issue requires raising issues of disrespect, implicit bias and micro-aggression when we see it, in order to seek to correct and improve it, Shauna said.

“The conversation needs to be about resilience and being human and correcting mistakes,” Shauna said.

“There are both the implicit bias issues that people have – I have them, we all have them – sometimes there are also biases that we hold ourselves to,” added Gina Shishima, Chief Strategy and Operations Partner, United States. “I also think it’s not the best thing to focus on; if I have to say it again, I’ll say it again. I think trying to be cognisant of it is key, but I try to focus on being effective.”

Read more about our diversity and inclusion efforts, including how we strive to achieve gender balance.

Kim Askew named a Leader in Diversity by the Dallas Business Journal

DLA Piper is pleased to announce that Kim Askew, a partner in the firm’s Employment practice, was named to the Dallas Business Journal’s inaugural Leaders in Diversity list honouring “organisations and individuals who have shown exceptional commitment to promoting practices that advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace.”

Askew has received numerous awards throughout her career as a result of her legal practice and her efforts to advance diversity and inclusion, including the inaugural Dallas Bar Association Distinguished Service Award, which was named after her and recognises a Dallas Bar Association member who is dedicated to good work and positive relations with lawyers, the judiciary and the community, and the ABA Spirit of Excellence Award, which recognises contributions to diversity in the legal profession. Askew serves as the local Diversity and Inclusion chair for DLA Piper’s Dallas office. She has moderated firmwide webinars focusing on racial equality, allyship and social justice, and she sits on the board of the National Women’s Law Center, a non-profit that advocates for women’s rights through litigation and policy initiatives.

In her practice, Askew represents clients in significant employment matters involving claims of race, disability, gender and age discrimination and sexual harassment, as well as in litigation involving business torts, trade secrets, non-compete, and non-solicitation and employment agreements. She has successfully tried cases to jury and non-jury verdicts in state and federal courts across the US and has handled appeals before federal and Texas appellate courts.

Norton Rose Fulbright announces 2021 Global Charitable Initiative

Norton Rose Fulbright’s 2021 Global Charitable Initiative (GCI) will focus on fighting systemic racism and championing social justice worldwide. This important and timely cause was selected by the firm’s newly appointed Global and US Chair Shauna Clark, the first woman of colour to be chair of an “Am Law 200” firm.

The aim of the initiative will be to raise awareness as to the importance of fighting racism and championing social justice in business, in local communities and as individuals through fundraising, pro bono and volunteering opportunities with charities focused on these causes. Where possible, the firm will join with like-minded clients in these activities to expand its reach.

“I would like 2021 to be remembered as a year of action by the whole firm, uniting to use our time and our talents and our passion to fight racism and champion social justice,” Shauna said. “Our aim is that this initiative will leave a lasting legacy, inspiring our people to support antiracism and social justice causes and to commit to antiracism and social justice volunteering, fundraising and pro bono activities in their local communities.”

In late 2021, lawyers and support personnel firm-wide will be invited to participate in a global activity day. Likewise, each region or jurisdiction will be encouraged to interpret the themes of fighting racism and championing social justice in a way that resonates with their local community and culture, identifying an organisation active in this cause with which to partner in 2021.

“As a global law firm, we can use our voices to stand up for those who don’t have a voice, who don’t have access, who don’t have opportunities,” Shauna said.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Global Charitable Initiatives are proposed and sponsored by a different region each year. Each region is asked to choose a cause which resonates with the firm globally, motivating lawyers and other personnel to participate and take action.

Past initiatives have included promoting the building of environmentally sustainable communities, fighting hunger and reducing food waste, supporting the Special Olympics and helping to build a facility for Menzi Children’s Home in South Africa.

Find out more about the firm’s commitment to corporate responsibility and diversity and inclusion.

Milton Cheng joins 70 Global CEOs in Catalyst For Change initiative

Baker McKenzie Global Chair, Milton Cheng has reinforced the commitment of the leading global law firm to join Catalyst’s mission to elevate women in leadership roles.

Milton is one of 70+ CEOs involved in the Catalyst For Change initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workforce. Catalyst’s 2020 report, Towards a More Equitable Future, found that Catalyst For Change companies are addressing challenges in the representation of marginalised groups by building a strong foundation at the manager level.

The Catalyst CEO Champions For Change are using their voices to advance women across the leadership pipeline. The 2020 report identifies ways global companies can collect data on ethnicity and race in their organisations, as well as highlighting the latest statistics for women’s representation in the global leadership pipeline. It also explores ways to measure the representation of women who identify with underrepresented ethnic and racial groups and provides a three-step plan to help organisations accelerate their journey toward equity:

  • Step 1: Get educated on intersectionality.
  • Step 2: Establish a system for collecting reliable data on race and ethnicity.
  • Step 3: Start the conversation about racism.

You can read the full report here.

Milton Cheng, Baker McKenzie Global Chair commented; “Twenty years after electing the first female Chair of any global law firm, we are proud to say that once again we are leading the way in the legal sector. To demonstrate our commitment to being inclusive, we have set global aspirational targets of 40% women, 40% men and 20% flexible (women, men or non-binary persons) by 2025. This target applies to Partners, senior business professionals, firm committee leadership and candidate pools for recruitment.”

“Women, and particularly women of colour, continue to face entrenched barriers to advancement in companies across the world, but it’s important that Catalyst CEO Champions For Change companies continue to demonstrate collective progress,” said Catalyst President & CEO Lorraine Hariton. “We know more work needs to be done, but the data show positive gains, and we’re proud to partner with these CEOs in this effort.”

This pledge follows Baker McKenzie’s earlier commitment with Catalyst in 2020. The Firm became one of 56 companies and organisations who have joined Catalyst’s Gender and Diversity KPI Alliance (GDKA) to support the adoption and use of a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that will measure gender and diversity.

Hogan Lovells commits to disability inclusion

Hogan Lovells has marked the International Day of People with Disabilities by announcing that it has become a member of The Valuable 500 – the largest network of global CEOs dedicated to diversity.

As a member of The Valuable 500 the firm commits to drive change and embed disability inclusion throughout the business. Delivering on its commitment to diversity and inclusion and responsible business is a strategic priority for Hogan Lovells, with ability inclusion a core focus the firm recognises is crucial to achieving the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

CEO Miguel Zaldivar said: “Inclusion of individuals with different abilities is a key focus of our firm. We have had a longstanding commitment to people of different abilities across the globe, and we are excited that our participation in The Valuable 500 will accelerate our progress. We want our people of all abilities to understand that Hogan Lovells is a place where they belong and can thrive.”

The firm has also become a signatory to the American Bar Association Pledge for Change: Disability Diversity in the Legal Profession, further affirming its commitment to disability diversity. Pledge signatories recognise that diversity is in the best interests of their organisation, the legal profession as a whole, and the clients they serve. By becoming a signatory Hogan Lovells commits to encouraging others in the legal industry to follow suit.

In the UK, Hogan Lovells is a Disability Confident Committed employer, and has a long-standing relationship with the British Paralympic Association, being a Gold Partner and the Official Legal Services Provider. In addition, the firm supports British para-sport through its Nicholas Cheffings Para Athletes Bursary and investment in their ambassador and Paralympic, world, European and Commonwealth champion, Ollie Hynd MBE.

Hogan Lovells also provides pro bono legal advice to clients including GB SnowSport, Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby, the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation, UK Boccia Federation, the International Boccia Federation, the International Paralympic Committee, and the Japanese Para-Sports Association.

In the run-up to the re-scheduled Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympic Games, the firm is sponsoring the Japan Riding Association for the Disabled, working in partnership to raise awareness in Japan of people with disabilities and the need for more inclusion of the disabled in sport. The firm’s sponsorship will provide para equestrian athletes with additional support as they pursue their sport.

Hogan Lovells also advises Movements for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore on a range of matters, and has created an internship program recognised by The Luxembourg Diversity Charter, and in cooperation with Ligue HMC, to change perceptions of intellectual disability by welcoming interns in office support roles for an eight week period.

Caroline Casey, Founder of The Valuable 500, commented: “We are thrilled to welcome Hogan Lovells on board in the midst of the continuing pandemic. We believe in collaboration rather than competition and the multiplier effect of the collective impact of 500 leading CEOs and brands. I am confident that over the next decade, if the business community pulls together and stands united in ensuring disability inclusion is a central part of their leadership agenda, we can truly make a difference globally across the next decade.”

Women employed in automotive seek more promotion opportunities

Deloitte’s Women in Automotive Industry research was conducted between June and September 2020 and is based on the responses of 110 women working in the automotive industry. Respondents came from organisations across the value chain in the UK, including original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), suppliers, dealers, and finance companies, and their roles ranged from apprentices through to senior leaders.

Key findings:

  • 68% of women have seen a positive change in the automotive industry’s attitude towards women employees in the last five years; but
  • Half of women feel unprepared to navigate the future of the industry, and this is particularly prevalent in traditional back office functions;
  • 40% would choose a different industry if they could go back; and 50% of women would leave the automotive industry altogether due to lack of promotion opportunities, organisational cultural norms, poor work-life balance and an uncertain industry future;
  • 90% of women feel they are under-represented in leadership positions, with 42% believing an industry bias towards men still exists for leadership positions, driven by organisational cultural norms; and
  • 57% of women do not see a career path to get to the level they want in the auto industry.

Sarah Noble, Deloitte automotive director and founder of Women at the Wheel UK: “The long-term success of any company requires a strong focus on people, yet the automotive industry remains behind many other industries when it comes to gender diversity. Women currently only represent 20 per cent of the automotive workforce, dropping below ten per cent at executive level.

“Our research found that the majority of women have seen positive changes in attitudes towards female employees over the last five years. However, under-representation at a leadership level is still strongly felt. In a predominantly male industry with few female role models at the top, male allies remain critical to the success of gender diversity initiatives.

“Likewise, we know that a lack of promotional opportunities, poor work-life balance and organisational cultural norms are the top factors that would cause a female employee to leave the automotive industry. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated trends that were already emerging: normalising flexible working and bringing greater awareness around caring responsibilities. As automotive companies embrace these changes on a more permanent basis, it is also clear that gender diversity can also help gain competitive advantage. Focussing on recruitment, retention and opportunity will be key to making long-term change possible.”