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Herbert Smith Freehills’ commitment to diversity and inclusion has been formally recognised, with the firm receiving an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation from Australia’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). 

WGEA’s citation program recognises employers that demonstrate an ongoing and active commitment to equal participation and opportunity of women in the workplace.

To achieve the citation, organisations must demonstrate how they are addressing a number of benchmarks for gender equality across areas such as leadership, learning and development, gender remuneration gaps, flexible working and other actions that improve gender equality outcomes.

Sue Gilchrist, Regional Managing Partner, Asia and Australia said, “We are extremely proud to receive this citation from WGEA as it reflects our ongoing effort to prioritise gender equality as an essential component of our strategy. “

“As is now universally understood, businesses that embrace diversity tend to perform better and deliver better outcomes for their people and clients. Gender equality is a key part of this and for many years now we have been focussed on creating a workplace where men and women are equally represented at all levels of our firm.

“Fostering a diverse and inclusive culture is important to us and our clients. Like us, clients understand that the benefits of diversity extend beyond the organisation and impact the broader business culture in Australia.”

Herbert Smith Freehills publicly advocates for gender equity. It has announced its gender target of 30% of women in global partnership and leadership roles by 2019. This target is supported by accountability measures, sponsorship, active talent development and monitoring.

“Our committed to achieving gender equality is about tangible changes and in addition to our gender targets, we have programs that address the issue from a practical perspective, including unconscious bias and inclusive leadership training.

“We also understand the importance of actively supporting flexible working arrangements to help our people manage their whole life not just the hours spent working while continuing to provide outstanding client service. These actions help to ensure that we are a leading firm for the attraction, promotion and retention of women and men”, Sue added.

Sue Gilchrist was recently announced as a WGEA Pay Equity Ambassador. Pay Equity Ambassadors take WGEA’s Pay Equity Pledge to commit to analysing talent data and taking action to ensure equal pay within their organisation.

“Being a WGEA Pay Equity Ambassador reflects not only my commitment but also the entire firm’s commitment to ensuring the gender pay gap is being proactively addressed. It is another important symbol of our alignment with the objectives of the Agency and our respect for its important role in ensuring the business community in Australia take proactive steps to address gender inequality.”

WGEA Director Libby Lyons said: “WGEA data shows that there is progress towards gender equality in Australian workplaces, but it is too slow. It is only through more employers adopting leading practices to promote gender equality in the workplace that we will see the pace of change pick up.”

In addition to strategies promoting gender diversity, Herbert Smith Freehills is also keenly focussed on a broad range of inclusive programs. It recently launched the global IRIS network for LGBTI staff and their allies, bringing together regional networks to foster a collaborative approach to inclusion. The firm also has an active focus on multiculturalism and has launched a cultural background survey for all people working in its Asia-Pacific offices.