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International Women's Day 2019 - #BalanceforBetter

This article has been written by Abbey Burns, Jessica Bourke and Joanna Petousis

This International Women’s Day Russell Kennedy (Australia) and Edwin Coe LLP (UK) are celebrating our achievements to date and reinforcing our future goals.

International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March 2019 is a global celebration with a rich history dating back to 1911.  IWD focuses the world’s attention on the need for gender equality and highlights the accomplishments of women socially, politically and culturally.  It is a day where all people are invited to rally in support of the rights of their mothers, sisters, daughters, colleagues, networks and friends.

#BalanceforBetter

This year the IWD theme is #BalanceforBetter where, following on from #PressingforProgress last year, the world is encouraged to consider the steps required to achieve gender‑balanced workplaces.  IWD is a time to recognise that equality in the workforce is a shared business responsibility across all workplaces and an important economic consideration.

Gender balance remains a global economic issue today

In some workplaces women do not have the same opportunities as men, they do not receive equal pay for the same role, they are overlooked for promotions, they are not treated equally and in some countries, they do not have the same rights.

In 2019 we are challenging stereotypes and promoting equality, because every woman deserves the same opportunities afforded to a man.  Women are moving away from conforming to succeed in a “man’s world” by attempting to “act like men” and obey existing organisational structures.  Instead, gender issues have entered the global limelight thanks to #MeToo and #TimesUp.  We are starting to see gender‑based roles are becoming more fluid as equality becomes more widespread.

Achieving gender balance

In order to achieve gender balance a collective approach from like-minded men and women is required.  Firstly, we must recognise the difficulties women have faced in the workplace to be accepted, valued and included.  Secondly, we must empathise and accept that we can do better. Together, we can challenge stereotypes and bias, allowing for a diverse representation of women in the workplace.

At Russell Kennedy, we have now entered our second year as being a certified Employer of Choice for Gender Equality by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency that reflects our Gender Equality Strategy.  Edwin Coe has hosted well-attended events in conjunction with industry groups Women in Property and Women in CILA and looks forward to further developing these relationships in 2019.

IWD at Russell Kennedy and Edwin Coe LLP

This year Ally Law members Russell Kennedy in Australia and Edwin Coe LLP in the UK will unite to host a reciprocal morning tea/coffee morning on Friday 8 March 2019 because we believe that everyone can assist with achieving gender balance.  These events aim to encourage discourse on gender balance in the workplace including reflecting on the past, the current landscape for equality in the workplace and what actions we can take to influence change for the future.  

In order to support gender balance Edwin Coe LLP will be raising money and donating clothes to Smart Works in the UK and Russell Kennedy will be accepting donations for Fitted for Work in Australia.

Our collective focus is to empower women to join the workforce, therefore, we have connected with Fitted for Work and Smart Works. Both charities engage women who have experienced disadvantage and are seeking employment to drive a better working world.  Fitted for Work and Smart Works prepare women for ongoing employment in order to achieve financial independence.

What more can you do?

IWD encourages you to share photos of yourself and friends on social media with your hands out in a balance pose to validate #BalanceforBetter. Pictured below is Sarah Manly, Russell Kennedy Principal and RKWN Deputy Convenor. Russell Kennedy and Edwin Coe LLP look forward to seeing your pictures!

Let’s get together to #BalanceforBetter!

Sarah Manly, Russell Kennedy

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