The Law Society of New South Wales promotes diversity, equality and inclusion in the legal profession, in particular by developing and progressing initiatives to ensure the equality of opportunity for all members of the profession, regardless of race, ethnicity, heritage, gender, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.
Women make up about 50 per cent of the legal profession, and have made significant advances in all areas of practice. However impediments still remain to the retention and career progression of women in the profession.
The Law Society's Charter for the Advancement of Women is designed to promote and support strategies to retain women in the profession over the course of their careers and encourage and promote their career progression into senior executive and management positions.
The Charter aims to achieve this by assisting legal practices to develop cultures which promote diversity and inclusion and impact positively on all practitioners in their workplaces, resulting in better business outcomes for legal practices, the legal profession and the community as a whole.
In support of this initiative, the signatories to this Charter commit to:
- demonstrating leadership by implementing diversity and inclusion principles in the legal profession and removing gender bias and discrimination in the legal workplace;
- driving change in the legal profession by developing a culture that supports the retention of women legal practitioners and recognises their value in senior roles;
- implementing recruitment and promotion strategies that include gender diversity as an important consideration, including ensuring equal pay for legal graduates within the same organisation regardless of gender;
- promoting and supporting mentoring and sponsorship of women in the legal profession;
- encouraging and supporting flexible work practices in the legal profession to assist men and women to better balance professional and other commitments.
Signatories agree to implement these strategies within two years of signing the Charter, with the exception of equal pay for graduates, which will be implemented within 12 months.
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