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Pinsent Masons to boost gender diversity

Posted by: Laurence Simons 05/03/14

One of the pleasing things about living in the 21st century is the widespread acceptance of the fact that women can largely do anything they set their mind to, meaning the workplace is less divided along gender lines.

However, more needs to be done to encourage female staff to fulfil their potential - particularly in the legal world, where old-fashioned machismo and wrong-headed attitudes can still be a problem at times.

International law firm Pinsent Masons looks set to lead the pack when it comes to gender diversity initiatives, recently announcing plans to achieve a 30 per cent representation of women at partner level.

It has set an interim goal of 25 per cent for the next four years, with the figure currently standing at around 20 per cent.

Employment partner Linda Jones is leading the 'project sky' scheme, which will place a focus on issues such as flexible working, parental leave and subconscious bias among senior members of staff.

Female lawyers often struggle with reaching the pinnacle of their profession because of the impossibility of juggling family life with a high-powered legal career - however, projects such as this one hope to address some of the problems facing women.

Around 70 per cent of the lawyers coming into the business are female, highlighting how important it is that they are given a fair crack of the whip, suggested Ms Jones.

"If we are to properly utilise that talent changes are required. The steps we are taking are aimed at improving our gender balance at senior levels but will ultimately mean better working practices for all our staff," she concluded.

Senior partner Chris Mullen said it is crucial that the legal profession attracts a diverse range of people in order to reflect the communities it purports to represent.

According to the Law Society, at least 18 per cent of people qualifying to practice recently were from ethnic minority groups, while the number of women entering the profession is also on the up.