I so yearn for the day when we do not have the necessity for International Women’s Day (IWD) and the concept of promoting women in the law. I strongly object to the notion that women need to be empowered. It is patronising and implies inequality of power.
Women like men don’t need to be empowered. We do not need authority to achieve, lead, manage. Women around the world have earned their positions, are fulfilling their ambitions and realising their achievements. Many hold prominent positions in society and in the legal profession in particular.
My firm is 78% female with the five partners being women. This is not by desire or design but because a large number of candidates who apply to us for legal and support positions are women.
We joke that we do have a glass ceiling in the firm – for men. But joking apart we will welcome males as partners as time progresses. We operate a female culture, not only with a large proportion of the workforce being women but because we offer a collegiate, collaborative considerate environment.
We don’t have ‘family friendly’ work practices we have ‘friendly’ work practices for men and woman with or without families. We don’t promote balance, but we have developed an environment that is unquestionably inclusive. Every person has a voice with the opportunity for growth irrespective of seniority or gender.
The law has a critical role to play in advancing equality and diversity not just in setting an example but in pushing for it. When this is achieved there IWD will be redundant.
Laura Devine is managing partner of Laura Devine Immigration Law