INCLUSION PRIORITY AREA
A gender-balanced workplace is central to building a better business and a better society. Our Balance in Business network champions gender equality and a progressive workplace.
We're focused on achieving better representation of women in leadership and ensuring everyone can thrive irrespective of their gender. We engage our people, clients and alumni in the importance of gender equality, creating more allyship and equipping colleagues as champions.
In May 2022, we ran a 'Connect + Learn' session for the network reflecting on our progress and heard valuable ideas for other ways to advance our gender balance strategy.
To celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022 we designed a programme of international activities to promote equality and #Breakthebias.
- Not to be outdone by the amazing artists and our partnership with the National Portrait Gallery and Tate Liverpool, we held our second photo campaign to capture our people taking a stand to support IWD 2022 and to engage others across our social media channels.
- Our Arts Society and Balance in Business network hosted a curator-led lunch and learn showcasing the Iconic Women collection from the National Portrait Gallery which explores women who have shaped Britain and enabled discussions for doing the same in our industries today.
It's wonderful that the work done by so many at Taylor Wessing to achieve better representation of women in leadership and our wider gender plan objectives has delivered such strong results over the past five years. Of course, our work is not completed and there is still so much more to achieve. It is exciting to be working with such a strong team who are part of the Balance in Business network; together we will continue to deliver further changes for the benefit of us all.
Partner and Co-chair of Balance in Business
Our gender plan delivers results
Five years on since we launched our gender plan, we continue to report on the success of our data-led strategy, and are one of the leading law firms to make the biggest improvement on our gender pay gap, for the third year running.
As at 1 May 2022, our partnership is now 28% female, and we've doubled the number of women in our partnership compared to five years ago.
34% of our UK Board members are female.
We employ more women than men overall.
We’ve achieved all our gender plan objectives this year and look forward to further progress in the future.
Our annual pay gap performance
In April 2022 we published our annual pay gap report covering the 2021/2022 reporting period. This provides an opportunity to communicate our progress and demonstrate our continued transparency and accountability. Our commitment to our gender plan has resulted in another year of significant progress:
- We're continuing to increase female representation in our partnership and have seen an increase in the number of female partners for the fifth year running.
- For the fourth year, our mean gap is lower than the national average.
- Our mean and median gender pay gaps have been maintained, fluctuating by around 2%.
- Our combined employee and partner gender earnings gaps have again reduced to the lowest combined gaps we’ve reported.
- Our ethnicity bonus and total earnings gaps have all reduced on a mean basis.
Introducing our empowerment project
At the end of 2021, we launched a project focused on promoting psychological, as well as physical, safety for all our people. The empowerment project has provided opportunities to explore psychological safety with a review of our 'calling it out' approach, development of learning sessions on toxic masculinity, and increasing awareness among our male colleagues about the actions that can be taken to be better allies.
As part of this project, we updated our late working taxi policy, placing safety at the core. We’ve also hosted popular hybrid personal security and on-site self-defence sessions to raise awareness, and to help people feel more confident.
Our approach to gender neutral language
Inclusion underpins everything we do and a gender-neutral language policy to tackle gender bias was introduced in September 2021. The use of 'Dear Sirs' is the most prevalent example of gendered language and harks back to a time when women were excluded from the business world.
We now use gender neutral language to replace 'Dear Sirs' as an opening in all communications with correspondence. This is an initiative that partner Gareth Lawson, together with other members of the Balance in Business committee, have worked on with colleagues across the firm.
Raising awareness about menopause
To mark Menopause Awareness Day in October, we explored the impact menopause can have on mental health. Nicola Green Consultancy provided an accessible session explaining its impact, symptoms and how we can support people going through it. Our Wellbeing team also produced a guide with the aim of creating more awareness and support.
More support for pregnancy loss
We value our people and their wellbeing is a priority. Last year we established a new pregnancy loss policy and proactively recognised Baby Loss Awareness Week. With corresponding guidance for managers and colleagues, this policy is an appropriate way to help raise awareness, support bereaved parents and families and drive improvements in prevention and support services for pregnancy and baby loss.
It was important for this policy to align with our values of responsible, integrity and respect, and to be inclusive. It acknowledges that pregnancy loss can be a bereavement, and one not isolated to women or heterosexual couples. It means we'll support those who suffer the loss of a pregnancy, whether it happens directly to them, their partner or their baby’s surrogate mother, regardless of the nature of their loss, and whatever their length of service.
Supporting Smart Works through our clothing drive
Our Balance in Business network and Community and Charity committee partnered with charity Smart Works to organise a successful clothing drive, led by trainee solicitors Phoebe Sennett and Olivia Turner.
Smart Works seeks to help unemployed women from marginalised backgrounds end cycles of unemployment and rejection. It provides CV and interview coaching and enables women to 'shop' for donated workwear for their new jobs, helping over 20,000 women to date feel more empowered, economically independent, and hopeful for their futures.
We spent two months collecting clothing donations from our offices in the UK. As Smart Works notes, donations are about more than just the clothes we have gifted: it is about what those clothes will allow these women to become.
We really enjoyed partnering up with Smart Works for the Clothes Drive, in which 17 bags of work clothes were successfully donated to help unemployed women in their search for employment.
We look forward to furthering the relationship with Smart Works so that we can keep making a beneficial impact on their community of women and beyond.