Gold Sponsor Gender Equality Profile
Baker McKenzie is delighted to have signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles, an initiative of United Nations 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.
Kevin Coon, Toronto Managing Partner and Baker McKenzie Policy Committee Chair said, “Committing to the WEP is an important step to raise attention and be a catalyst to action to enhance gender equality in business, the legal profession and our communities. The legal profession can take a leadership role on the issue as the majority of law school grads are women, although it is not reflected throughout the senior ranks of the profession. Concrete actions need to be taken to effect change and we are delighted by the leadership our new Chair, Paul Rawlinson, is showing by committing our Firm to these principles, as well as other measures around the globe. ”
Baker McKenzie is a signatory and active supporter of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). In Canada, Baker McKenzie provided the legal work needed to establish the UNGC’s Canada Network and continues to support their work. As part of the Firm’s commitment to pro bono, the Firm drafted the UNGC’s the Business for the Rule of Law Framework that was launched in 2015, as well as participates on the UNGC’s Advisory Group on Supply Chain Sustainability.
Paul Rawlinson Global Chair of Baker McKenzie 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. Baker McKenzie takes equality very seriously and integrated our diversity and inclusion principals into the election of the global Firm chair and executive committee. The senior leadership of the Firm are monitored and compensated on key performance indicators linked to our equality goals.
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, mentorship and a role model initiative accompanied by a personal pledge of action. 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. We have partnered with the Thomson Reuters Foundation in the development and launch of the Stop Slavery Award, the first global accolade to recognize businesses that have excelled in efforts to eradicate forced labor from their supply chains. We are a signatory to the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network in Canada.