01. MESSAGES FROM FIRM LEADERS
Our Partner, Haigreve Khaitan, shares his thoughts on inclusion:
"Diversity and Inclusion are integral ingredients for the success of any organisation. These values must be at the centre of everything we do. In fact, I have always maintained that it should not be seen as an initiative – it is part of our DNA and state of being. You cannot have wellbeing without inclusion.
The year 2020 has been a challenging one for all of us in so many ways. The COVID-19 pandemic, subsequent lockdowns, remote working – all these things posed unique challenges for each one of us. It is during times of such crises that we realise the immense value of having people with diverse points of view in the team.
Going forward, I am confident that we will continue in this same spirit; ensuring that these values remain ingrained in every aspect of our work culture and solidifying our commitment to promoting inclusion."
Our Partner, Vanita Bhargava, shares:
"The dialogue on diversity and inclusion has taken center stage in recent times but has always been at the core of our Firm's value system. 16 years ago, Senior Partner of the Firm, Mr Pinto Khaitan, offered me a partnership at the Firm. I remember I was hesitant to accept because I was pregnant at that time but he brushed my concerns aside. That was a pioneering move because at those times most firms expected women to take a break from their professional lives to attend to their young children. From that day till now, it has been a wonderful journey of professional growth for me at the Firm. Through our D&I initiative, ARISE, we are ensuring that these values remain ingrained in every aspect of our work culture."
A message on inclusion and importance of mental health from our Partner, Ravi Kulkarni:
"We at Khaitan & Co have been, for the past several years, consciously following policies promoting "Diversity and Inclusion". We are very proud of the initiatives we have been taking in this regard which has enabled us to tap into talent of people from diverse regions and backgrounds. Our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion makes everyone in KCO feel accepted, recognized, supported, inspired and empowered irrespective of their cultural or religious background. Another topic that is immensely important to us is mental and emotional health of our people. I am happy that we are equally committed to sensitising and demystifying misconceptions about mental health. We have been committed to and will continue to invest in these efforts."
Tina Gosar, our Chief Financial Officer, talks about how Khaitan & Co's culture helped her dispose her parental responsibilities.
"During my 18 years in the firm, I also became a mother of two. Fulfilling my duties ever since as a full-time working mother, would not be possible without the unconditional support and understanding of the Firm's leadership.
We all know that women today are more likely than men to stop working to care of their children, elderly parents, which forces them to leave the workforce, cutting their earnings and ability to save for important things like retirement. A supportive work environment, such as ours, goes a long way in empowering women to realise their true potential and be financial stable for life.
I consider myself very fortunate to have received the flexibility offered to me (in terms of working from home or operating on flexible hours) and the faith reposed in me - which made balancing professional and parental responsibilities completely effortless."
02. WE ARISE
Our Executive Director – Human Resources and a strong supporter of diversity and inclusion, Amar Sinhji, says "While ARISE is an initiative that we have launched in the recent past, our Firm has always believed in Diversity & Inclusion in a very wholesome sense. Even without a formal D&I policy having been in place, we have grown over the past 100+ years only because we have always lived the spirit of D&I. One only needs to look around us to see this in almost every section of our firm and in every process that we follow.
A statement that I believe sums up the essence of true D&I is, being inclusive is far deeper than merely giving people a seat at the table. True inclusion also requires giving those people a voice at the table. While Diversity (or the lack of it) is very visible, Inclusion is not so and is generally a state of mind." While Diversity is a fact that is measurable (and we are doing fairly well on that front), inclusion is a behaviour - something that each one of us needs to introspect about in everything that we do and in every action that we take."
ARISE's goal is to foster a positive and supportive environment in which all can flourish regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, disabilities, religion, culture or any other dimension of diversity.
As we take a step back and evaluate our various composition metrics in 2020, we note encouraging statistics. About 34% of our members across the Firm comprise of people who identify as women, and over the past few years, at least 50% of the lawyers recruited by the Firm on campus identify as women. The graph below depicts the steady rise in the number of women (across practices, functions and levels) we have in the firm since 2016. We owe this transformation to the forward-thinking mindsets of our leaders and management. With more agile and progressive policies today, our women members are entitled to 6 months of maternity leave, along with an additional flexible working regime for 3 months -- and our male members are also entitled to 14 days of paternity leave.
Rise in women members across levels since 2016:
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