New Zealand Law Society - Law Society focused on signing 30% of profession up to Gender Equality Charter by April

Law Society focused on signing 30% of profession up to Gender Equality Charter by April

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The New Zealand Law Society is renewing its push to get 30% of the legal profession signed up to its Gender Equality Charter by April.

By the end of 2018, it had been adopted by 100 legal workplaces across the country.

The charter was launched to the profession by the Law Society in April last year at parliament.

It was anticipated that the number of new signatories would be fewer over the long summer break with many legal workplaces closed for much of January.

The figure is now at 109, which covers over 2900 lawyers.

Law Society President, Kathryn Beck says most legal workplaces are back into full swing and now is a great time to introduce the Gender Equality Charter.

“109 signatories is a strong result to start the year with, but we really want to see the numbers grow significantly. It’s about creating a transparent culture in your workplace, where all lawyers, regardless of gender feel valued and are provided with equal opportunity to grow professionally,” she says.

The Gender Equality Charter (Tūtohinga Ira Tangata Ōrite) is a set of commitments aimed at improving the retention and advancement of women lawyers.

These include tackling unconscious bias, encouraging flexible working arrangements for everyone, closing the gender pay gap and promoting equitable instructions.

Signatories agree to meet these commitments over a two-year period and report on progress to the New Zealand Law Society. Free online tools and resources are available to assist charter signatories with their work.

The New Zealand Law Society has been involved in launch events in areas including Marlborough, Taranaki, Manawatu, Auckland and Wellington. Members of the Law Society’s Women’s Advisory Panel will be approaching legal workplaces to promote the charter and encourage more workplaces to sign up.

“We must maintain the momentum. We need the charter to cover as much of the profession as possible to bring about real and sustainable change and therefore achieving true gender equality in the legal community,” says Chris Moore, Chair of the Women’s Advisory Panel.

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