Speaking with Australasian Lawyer
, Jenkins said his appointment reflects his commitment to improving gender equality in the business community at large.
“Being an ambassador includes making a commitment to analysing talent data, taking action to improve any inequalities, and taking a lead on proactive measures to ensure gender equality,” he said.
“I will ensure a range of measures, such as learning and development opportunities, remuneration reviews, unconscious bias training and flexible work arrangements are upheld for all our employees to ensure these targets are met.”
Ashurst has a good track record for gender diversity, the only law firm to have the WGEN’s Employer of Choice Equality Citation for 15 years running.
“As a firm we have implemented [the] criteria into our policies, processes and initiatives to ensure it's embedded in our culture,” Jenkins said.
“We must ensure we are challenging ourselves and implementing innovative programs and initiatives to foster a more diverse and inclusive culture.”
Ashurst has committed to three gender targets by 2018, when (as a minimum) it aims to have 40% of new partners each year be women, 25% of its senior management roles to be held by women and 25% of its equity partners to be women.
As of 1 May 2016, the firm is currently approaching these targets with 38% female partner promotions, 18% women in senior management roles and 16% female equity partners.
“While there is no shortage of female lawyers in the legal industry, we see those numbers decrease when we examine the number of female partners and females in senior positions,” Jenkins said.
“This is a large contributor to the gender pay gap and at Ashurst, we strategically made the decision to introduce gender targets to ensure we were committed to improving gender equality, and have measures in place to hold ourselves accountable.”
Having been appointed in April of this year, Ashurst has announced the appointment of global managing partner Paul Jenkins as the firm’s WGEA pay equity ambassador.