Arab International Women’s Forum and IBA debate Gender Equality for the professions at Boodle Hatfield
Boodle Hatfield’s Middle East team on 19 September hosted the International Bar Association (IBA) and Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF)’s Women Business Lawyer’s event.
The theme for the day was ‘Advancing gender equality in law and professions’, drawing a full house of lawyers, barristers, accountants and students from around the world.
The Woman Business Lawyer’s conference was opened by Boodle Hatfield’s Senior Partner Sara Maccallum, who shared with delegates the firm’s successes in ensuring the firm is one of the most gender diverse at senior management level of any law firm in the City, and the challenges the wider legal industry faces.
The tone of the day was established by the conference’s two excellent key note speakers, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC and Dame Fiona Woolf, former Lord Mayor of London and a long-term supporter of AIWF.
Baroness Kennedy QC, Co-chair of the IBA’s Human Rights Institute, provided a brief insight into a major piece of research the IBA has commissioned that explored diversity in law around the world. We eagerly wait for publication of its report later in the year.
Dame Fiona Woolf shared with delegates her experiences and challenges faced during her career and challenged delegates to make diversity the responsibility of middle management as well as those at the top of the organisation. Middle management, she said, are the makers and breakers in encouraging and ensuring greater diversity.
Panel sessions included discussions on ‘Breaking down barriers to entry and career progression for women’, ‘Creating women and family-friendly working cultures’, ‘Bringing gender equality into business and human rights’ and ‘Reflections on advancing gender diversity’.
Panellists included Rania Rizk, Senior Vice President & General Counsel AMENA, PepsiCo and Acting Chairman, AIWF; Sara Maccallum, Senior Partner, Boodle Hatfield, Najwa Attiga, General Counsel, Emirates Investment Authority and Co-founder, Women Lawyers Group Middle East; Neelim Sultan, Barrister and Chair of the IBA’s Human Rights Law Committee; Andrea Shemberg, Co-Chair of the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights; Heba Al Emara, UK Head of Relations EMEA, Vistra and Jane Ellis, Director, IBA’s Legal Policy & Research Unit.