Inspiring Inclusion at Boodle Hatfield on International Women's Day

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Inspiring Inclusion at Boodle Hatfield on International Women's Day 2024

Boodle Hatfield is delighted to celebrate International Women’s Day – a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

As a firm, we are fully committed to creating a working environment in which all people can excel. We are well known in the market for having an open, friendly and supportive culture that enables our people to thrive – being themselves at work. We are proud of the diversity we have within the firm, particularly around gender and female leadership, but are nonetheless striving to improve across all areas of diversity.

The firm is led by Andrea Zavos, our second female Senior Partner. Andrea’s predecessor, Sara Maccallum, was appointed into the Senior Partner role at a time when fewer than 20% of females in the UK’s Top 20 Law Firms were promoted to partnership. We continue to lead by example with positive female role models in the partnership, and an inclusive culture. Just under half of our Equity Partners are female and currently 42% of the full partnership are female. We champion part-time and flexible working in addition to our hybrid working policy. A range of our people work part-time, including male and female Partners. Having a diverse workforce is seen as critical, as is enabling our people to thrive outside of work for themselves and their families. Earlier this year, we launched our first gender neutral parental leave policy. We want to ensure we support all staff in a fair and equitable way.

This year, the global day of celebration reinforces the need to #InspireInclusion with an aim to get the world talking about the need to forge a more inclusive world and emphasizes the importance of diversity and empowerment in all aspects of society. This year’s campaign theme underscores the crucial role of inclusion in achieving gender equality. It calls for action to break down barriers, challenge stereotypes, and create environments where all women are valued and respected.

To mark the occasion this year, we spoke to a handful of staff and Partners from across the business to reflect on their experiences in the industry and how, together, we can forge an equal and inclusive world.

Here is what they had to say:

Andrea Zavos, Senior Partner

“I take pride in leading a dynamic firm that is committed to creating opportunities for all. We have long been a pioneer of fostering a working environment in which all people can excel. Gender balance is demonstrably ingrained in our culture. Our recently introduced gender neutral parental policy is a further step in the firm’s commitment to inclusion, diversity, and gender parity in the workplace. But we must all continue to charge our leaders, mentors and role models to empower the talent of tomorrow to achieve complete diversity, equity and inclusivity.”

Holly Taylor, Business Development Executive

"I am immensely proud to work at a firm that is so strongly committed to ensuring inclusion and diversity in the workplace. I feel that I can be confident in myself and the work that I do, without feeling the need to change myself in any way. Working alongside the many strong and successful women at Boodle Hatfield motivates me to ensure I can also be a role model for the future generation of girls and women."

Elizabeth Green, Risk and Compliance Analyst

“One of my earliest memories starting at Boodle Hatfield, was reading that our former Senior Partner Sara was the first woman in the firm’s 300 years history to occupy the role. I remember thinking that this was the environment I wanted to be part of and inspired by. Having become a parent made me reflect a lot on the importance of example and being able to see people like ourselves in roles of leadership that often feel so intangible. On this International Women’s Day, I reflect on all my colleagues and all their stories which made them an inspiration to me in overcoming what felt, even as a listener of their stories, burdens so heavy to carry. The women who are struggling with the guilt of returning to work as a new parent, the mothers who are striving to balance successful careers and their families and all who are to me an unparalleled example of ambition, empathy and strength. We know what we have overcome to be where we are today. It is my absolute privilege to share the workplace with you all”

Katie Kirkhope, HR Director

"At Boodle Hatfield our people are what makes our firm successful and we have long been advocates of #InspiringInclusion. Our recent roll out of our gender-neutral parental leave policy is another step to inspire equality across the business and we hope sets an example for the wider business world. We want to support our staff and Partners at key stages in their lives and enable them to balance their home/personal commitments whilst fulfilling their career potential. We want to encourage our people to take parental leave when they need it and by having access to an enhanced policy no matter your gender supports diversity and allows our people to develop their careers in the longer term."

Katie Male, Family Senior Associate

"As a family lawyer I consider myself to be in a privileged position to observe a whole range of different attitudes towards gender, from the more traditional at one end of the spectrum to the more progressive at the other, both on an individual and a wider societal level. While it may be tempting in this area of law, if only as a short-hand, to refer to the "working wife" or "stay at home dad", one need barely scratch the surface to discover that each individual's circumstances are different, and fairness is only achieved by acknowledging and seeking to understand these differences."

Brian Aris, COO

"There has been significant progress since I first started working, especially in professional services where there are now more senior female leaders than ever before. When it comes to transformation, some of the practical changes are really important, such as changes to parental leave policies and the adoption of agile working, but the most important thing is that gender equality is now seen much more as a must rather than a nice to have – though there is still work to do. While it might sound idealistic, I hope that the future of diversity in the workplace will see us having to no longer talk about it as a project or an initiative but rather it comes naturally and that everyone embraces and inspires inclusion. "

Shaima Jillood, Real Estate Partner

"Having endured gender bias in the corporate world earlier on in my career, I am incredibly proud to be a Partner at a firm who has long been a pioneer for gender equality in the legal world and believe that our key to success is that we were early to recognise the value that women offer. More women than ever before are leading and succeeding in business and paving the way for the next generation of female business leaders. It is so important that we mentor and guide them to develop the confidence and skillsets to succeed in the highly competitive market."