Over 30 local lawyers in private practice joined forces at Hassans at the end of last week for a roundtable session to share experiences and create common calls to action around the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, #EmbraceEquity.
Following an opening address from the Hon. Samantha Sacramento MP (Gibraltar’s first female Minster for Justice and Equality, the only female member of Cabinet and a fellow lawyer, having moved into politics from a successful period in private practice), Marlene Dalli, Policy Development Officer at the Ministry of Equality, introduced the session and facilitated the two-hour interactive session which considered four main themes:
- Unconscious bias – positive and negative attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, decisions and actions towards or about an individual or group in an unconscious manner.
- Gender pay gap – the difference between men’s and women’s average hourly pay.
- Flexible working – way of working that allows workers to change the number of hours they work, the times they work and the location they work from.
- Best practice – a set of standards which can be adhered to support positive change to achieve equity in the profession.
With the large majority of Gibraltar’s law firms represented, and with both female and male lawyers in the room, the roundtable sparked a series of lively and constructive conversations resulting in tangible and actionable actions which the participants are encouraged to personally pursue with a view to accelerating equity within their own workplace.
Minister Sacramento, commented:
“It is very encouraging to see different organisations not only mark International Women’s Day but more importantly take ownership for advancing the gender equality agenda through meaningful and substantive initiatives. The event was extremely well-organised and inspiring.
It gives me great reassurance to see such a variety of law firms represented in the discussion and to see lawyers pool together their experience, expertise and insights and commit to taking concrete steps to close the gender gap that exists in the legal profession. Equality of representation at all levels in the legal world is a question of fairness but it also makes perfect business sense too. As an event aimed at lawyers the forum considered the progression of women lawyers. We have a high calibre of lawyers in Gibraltar and of those distinguished as King’s counsel, there is only one woman who incidentally is also the youngest person to have taken silk.”
Marlene Dalli, continued:
“Gender equality, and more specifically improving the representation of women in the legal profession, has been the focal point of today’s event. It is very heartening to see a significant number of legal professionals join forces to ensure that the legal world becomes increasingly diverse, inclusive and equitable as it moves ahead. I look forward to learning more about the outcomes of the initiatives that individual lawyers and different firms have today committed to.”
Tania Rahmany, Senior Associate and organiser of the event, added:
“It is not every day that we have the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues in other firms on matters that affect our profession as a whole. We are really grateful for the insight and experience shared by participants and will be ensuring that we hold ourselves accountable for committing to at least some of the calls to action that we have collectively identified. The legal profession in Gibraltar represents a wide and diverse range of clients, and if our professionals reflect that diversity, it can only make our legal industry stronger.”
For anyone interested in receiving the unattributed outputs from the session, please contact Nic Parrington on firstname.lastname@example.org.