(Pictured above: Camille Butters, head of Russell McVeagh's Gender D&I Sub-committee)
Russell McVeagh's progress towards improving gender diversity has been recently recognised with Advanced GenderTick status – making it the first law firm in Aotearoa New Zealand to achieve this.
The work the firm is doing to progress gender equality, including becoming one of the only law firms in the country to publicly report its gender and ethnicity pay gaps, has contributed to this recognition.
"Achieving the GenderTick is a visible sign of our commitment and work toward gender equality to create change and to hold ourselves accountable in this area to our people and the communities and clients we serve," Russell McVeagh CEO Jo Avenell said.
"Ensuring positive change requires an ongoing focus on implementing a wide-ranging work programme to support our goals."
In March 2022, the firm significantly refreshed its Diversity & Inclusion Strategy – setting key gender, inclusion and ethnicity goals and updating its parental leave policy. The D&I plans were shared internally, and drop-in workshops held to discuss all aspects of the strategy and plan.
Following this, goals including a specific gender diversity goal to achieve at least 40% women in its partnership in the next five years was confirmed and the firm actively seeks to better understand and act upon the specific biases and barriers to the promotion and retention of women.
The firm has implemented a number of initiatives to pursue its goal of having a more gender diverse workforce, some of which have included:
a renewed parental leave policy and increased support for parents and whānau;
'Respect' workshops for all staff;
Pay gap reporting (with mindthegap.nz);
implementing a Gender Identity and Sexual Diversity Policy;
inclusive leadership training for all partners and CEO; and
partnerships with Rainbow Tick, UN Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs), New Zealand Law Society's voluntary Gender Equality Charter, InsideOut, Auckland Rainbow Law Network, Global Women and Champions for Change, and providing pro bono support for RainbowYOUTH and Coralus.
The GenderTick enables businesses to demonstrate their commitment to gender equity in their workplace and their compliance and leadership across five key indicators: Equal Pay, Leadership Representation, Flexible Work and Leave, Gender Safe Workplace and Gender Inclusive Culture.
UN Women's Empowerment Principles
As a WEPs signatory, Russell McVeagh is part of a community of companies, industry associations and chambers of commerce committed to making a difference for gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace, and community.
Russell McVeagh was named a White Camellia Award winner for its work in promoting equality through community initiatives and advocacy, associated with Principle 6 of the 7 WEPs at the annual awards ceremony in September 2022. The White Camellia Awards recognise New Zealand organisations that lead gender equality, leadership, and fair equal opportunities across their business practices, and judging is based on organisations' commitment and implementation of the UN Women and UN Global Compact WEPs to advancing gender equality into their business policies, procedures, and workplace. You can read more about this here.