WIPR Influential Women in IP 2019
www.worldipreview.com Women in the boardroom
the flexible working options provided by their
companies, and 65% took advantage of the option,
there was some concern over follow-through.
“We have a flexible working policy but some
heads of department frown on the practice,” says one
respondent, while another adds that the availability
depends on the manager enforcing it.
More positively, another respondent notes that
their workplace is orientated around bringing
the best out of staff, which means adjusting work
responsibilities around childcare.
Supporting new parents
For new parents, it looks as though law firms need
to do better—just over half of survey respondents
claimed their company offers support, but only one
quarter of respondents rate the parental leave policy
at their company as excellent.
WIPR received many suggestions on what more
law firms could do to support new parents, including
a generous leave policy for parental leave and adoptive
leave, an option for reduced hours and sensitivity to
workload and travel.
Christine Armstrong, author of “The Mother of
All Jobs: How to Have Children and a Career and
Stay Sane(ish)”, adds: “Ironically, some of the steps
that have been taken to support women have also
accidentally alienated men, who feel excluded from
the coaching and mentoring support and often say
that ‘flexibility’ isn’t something that is accessible for
them, just to mums.”
Introducing policies such as paternity benefits
is equally important for bringing about a cultural
change, adds Chowdhury.
Lim adds: “I have witnessed that the Scandinavian/
Nordic model of joint parental leave plays out as an
effective equaliser. It ensures men and women have
access to the same opportunities in terms of time-off
and any associated impact on their career.
“If this model were to be replicated on a larger scale,
it would help to promote gender equality, not only in
the legal profession but across all industries.” l
Have you or your partner given birth
during your employment at the company?
1 have: 23% My partner has: 11% No: 66%
Does your organisation do anything to
support new parents?
Do you think there is a trade-off between
building a family and career success?
Is parental leave at your company
the same for men and women?
work for them,
they don’t just
accept it. They
go off and set
up their own
Victoria McLean, CityCV.co.uk