Legal business DWF has reaffirmed its commitment to gender equality as it becomes one of the first UK-based law firms to sign up to the UN Women's Empowerment Principles.
The Principles are a set of best practice guidelines borne out of a collaboration with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and the United Nations Global Compact, of which DWF is also a signatory. DWF has committed to all seven principles, which include establishing high-level corporate leadership on gender equality, promoting equality through community initiatives, and promoting education, training and professional development for women.
DWF's Partner led Diversity Steering Group and Gender Action Plan addresses any barriers, perceived or real, that can impact the development and progression of female talent. This includes reviewing talent pipelines across career levels, widening mentoring opportunities and peer group networks, becoming an exemplar of agile and flexible working and making it easier for women to continue their careers if they choose to take time out to have children.
DWF has recently appointed two of its senior female partners, London Executive Partner and Head of DWF's Retail, Food & Hospitality Group Hilary Ross and Head of International Claims Claire Bowler, to its strategic board. Hilary joined DWF six years ago having previously been a partner at Berwin Leighton Paisner, while Claire joined the firm nine years ago from David Lavery (now Kennedys). DWF's strategic board, which comprises 30% women, drives the firm's long-term strategic goals, including its international growth.
DWF Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Engagement Ty Jones said: "At DWF we aim to be recognised as a leading employer and business, where diversity and inclusion are embedded into the way we do business. Signing up to the Women's Empowerment Principles reflects our continued determination to value and empower women in all aspects of our business and not just in the workplace but also through our wider community investment activity.
"Achieving gender parity at senior levels remains one of the biggest diversity challenges the legal sector faces. The traditionally glacial pace of change within our sector is forcing many law firms to reflect on the principle of meritocracy against a backdrop where so few women make partner or lead their business. Hilary and Claire's appointment to the board signals an acceleration in the pace of change at DWF and reinforces our desire to see talented, confident and career ambitious women succeed within an enabling culture."