As you may know, 08 March marks International Women’s Day, a global initiative which celebrates the achievements of women worldwide, calls out inequality and strives to forge a gender equal world.
The organisation behind it hosts a myriad of missions and initiatives throughout the year, not just in March. It seeks to help build workplaces where women thrive. For example, championing female creators, pushing for equality for women in the technology sector, empowering women’s choices in health and celebrating those women pushing for change across all countries and all sectors.
Founded on the principles of collective effort and ownership, International Women’s Day first occurred over 100 years ago, in 1911. Its choice of purple, green and white as the colours of the movement go back further still to the women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) of 1908.
There is no doubt that women’s rights have come an enormously long way since that first gathering more than a century ago, but more remains to be done and that’s what makes International Women’s Day an important part of the calendar each year.
Gender parity for example isn’t expected to be fully realised for another 100 years for example, according to the World Economic Forum. The glass ceiling and gender pay gap remain a reality for many women in offices around the world, while women’s rights have been eroded by the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.
That said, there is much to celebrate and many amazing, creative, trailblazing women to champion from one continent to the other. You can read some of their stories on the International Women’s Day website.
The women of National Legal Service
As we mark this year’s International Women’s Day, I often reflect that my area of work, in family and care, is quite well represented by females. In fact, we often find it harder to recruit males to work in our department (although we do have a good representation of male lawyers across the firm).
I am proud to say that National Legal Service champions female leaders. The day-to-day business is female-led, and primarily managed by myself and Kate Probert. We also have some wonderful female support across the management, operations, billing and finance teams.
I certainly feel well respected by our stakeholders and trusted in my roles of Director, Head of Family and Training Principal at NLS.
We work very hard to promote a positive culture and ensure that culture permeates across every aspect of the business. This includes offering flexibility around childcare, and we understand the need for compassion and empathy when one of our team has to prioritise family commitments above work commitments.
Women supporting women is of course vital and an incredibly positive, necessary thing. I am delighted to say too that we go further than that at National Legal Service. Our male senior leaders unwaveringly treat our female leads as equals; and that is also very powerful. It feels very natural at NLS to see the empowerment of women and equality between the sexes. As an organisation, we are very fortunate to be able to say that.
It’s my hope that with an annual recognition of International Women’s Day, we will get to a point where equality of the sexes is seen across all sectors of employment, at all levels and across all organisations.