Baker McKenzie is delighted to have signed the Women's Empowerment Principles, an initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact, to guide businesses on promoting gender equality and women's empowerment. The principles outline seven steps that businesses can take to promote gender equality in the work place and in society.
Paul Rawlinson Global Chair of Baker McKenzie said , “We don’t see gender equality as a ‘women’s’ issue, but a business issue. Women leaders are critical to the Firm's growth. Diversity breeds creativity, encourages a greater range of views and helps us to respond better to the needs of our clients.”
Paul announced the Firm’s support for the Principles at a panel event in Geneva where global business leaders, UN Ambassadors; and heads of business associations, UN agencies and civil society organizations gathered to discuss legal barriers to women’s economic empowerment. Participants at the event, convened by the United Nations Global Compact, UN Women, the International Trade Centre, the East West Center and International Gender Champions Geneva, explored opportunities to encourage economic development and business growth while advancing sustainable development goals by removing legal barriers to women’s economic empowerment.
“From our earliest days we’ve been a diverse firm with a long history of women in leadership positions,” said Claudia Prado, who chairs the Firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Financial Committee and is also the Latin American Chair for the Firm. “We are delighted to support the Women's Empowerment Principles, which are very much aligned with our values and efforts to advance gender equality in our Firm and in the communities where we operate.”
In 2012, the Firm adopted a global gender policy designed to boost the recruitment and retention of women, and provide greater opportunities and support for talented women to assume leadership roles. The Firm has also set aspiration targets for women’s representation to ensure that women comprise at least 40% of local/national partners and at least 30% of principals and those in leadership positions.
The Firm is also implementing a range of initiatives aimed at bolstering gender diversity and inclusion , including unconscious bias training for all employees, a structured sponsorship program for women and agile working arrangements. Baker McKenzie has been recognized by Working Mother magazine and the Flex-Time Lawyers organization as one of the top law firms for women, and the Best International Firm for Women in Business Law by the Euromoney Legal Media Group.
The Firm also provides pro bono legal services to a range of non-profit organizations that promote gender equality and empower women globally.
In signing the WEP, Baker McKenzie affirms its commitment to the following principles:
- Principle 1. Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality;
- Principle 2. Treat all women and men fairly at work – respect and support human rights and non-discrimination
- Principle 3. Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers;
- Principle 4. Promote education, training and professional development for women;
- Principle 5. Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women;
- Principle 6. Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy; and
- Principle 7. Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality.