You web browser may not be properly supported. To use this site and all its features we recommend using the latest versions of Chrome, Safari or Firefox

Cath Harris

This year’s International Women’s Day celebrations have given plenty of column inches and debates (including a particularly passionate one on Q&A this year) asking the question of whether or not we have made sufficient progress in the representation of women.

Debate has focussed upon whether visibility of women in positions of leadership (just look at our federal cabinet), in salary representations for equal roles, and development opportunities are being offered to give women the opportunity to grow and advance are being approached with sufficient urgency in Australia.

One thing that we've learned at Slater and Gordon is that the issue of gender equality is multifaceted and requires steady effort to bring about cultural change. If you don’t approach inclusiveness in an open and authentic way, then employees and leaders will see through the rhetoric.

So what have our lessons been in promoting gender equality?

Employees expect a visible representation of female role models to believe that the commitment to gender diversity exists. Our first chair, Anna Booth, was a signal to our workforce that we were committed to diversity. She was accessible and a credible advocate for the contribution that women make in the workforce.

Men were part of our journey too – and senior men at that. When the Managing Director takes his children to school before attending work, it is a powerful message that men champion family too. It also sets an example that it’s possible for other men too.

Having a suite of flexible work options for all employees, including the ability to work from home is critical to enable our employees to balance outside commitments with work commitments. In the vast majority of cases, we are able to accommodate both men and women irrespective of whether an individual has family commitments or not.

Focusing on what is achieved and how it is achieved through our performance competency framework is still a work in progress, but has increased trust of our workforce that we measure what is important and creating an “hours on the clock” culture.

Introducing mechanisms to recognise and raise awareness to our Board of the employees who exemplify our values has celebrated the client service, learning, leadership and diverse population across our various locations.

Adopting an “internal first” recruitment bulletin enables transparency of promotion opportunities and increases the confidence of our people. It also reinforces that progression is possible and available across a geographically diverse office network.

Ensuring that we embed a 70:20:10 model of learning, by responding to the development needs of our workforce continues to evolve each day. To our employees it signals that we value knowledge development, transfer and consider it an investment in both of our futures.

Having a range of well-being initiatives during the year (including both Mother’s Day Classic and Movember) has reinforced the message that we don’t just see our employees as a commodity.

Combining our annual engagement survey with a range of other touch points during the year has enabled us to respond to feedback about our working environment, policies and communication.

Making our statistics available to our workforce and acknowledging our progress at International Women’s Day, Harmony Day and other events adds weight to our commitment of a diverse workforce.

The contents of this blog post are considered accurate as at the date of publication. However the applicable laws may be subject to change, thereby affecting the accuracy of the article. The information contained in this blog post is of a general nature only and is not specific to anyone’s personal circumstances. Please seek legal advice before acting on any of the information contained in this post.

Thank you for your feedback.

Related blog posts

What's in a name: the story behind Slater and Gordon

While Slater and Gordon has had many partners and illustrious alumni who have walked it’s corridors throughout its 85 years, Bill Slater’s and Hugh Gordon’s passion for ensuring access to justice for those who would not otherwise have a voice has continued to shape the firm. That passion lives on in Slater and Gordon’s name, it’s values, and most importantly, its people. William (Bill) Slater knew he wanted to practise law when he was ten years old. It was around the turn of the 20th century and Bill was standing in a Melbourne court after the police had caught him and some of his mates skinny-dipping in the Yarra River on a hot summer’s day. After being marched from the...

Bill Slater and Hugh Gordon
Understanding medical confidentiality and privacy laws for health professionals

As a health professional—whether you’re a doctor, nurse, technician or assistant, to name just a few—you have a rewarding yet challenging task. You’re faced with an endless diversity of patients, medical conditions and circumstances. You use your technical training and your professional judgement to meet the standards expected of you. And in one way or another, you’ll find yourself navigating legal frameworks affecting you as a health professional. Privacy and confidentiality are two key areas of the law that impact what you can and can’t do with the information entrusted to you by your patients. As a medical negligence lawyer, I’ve seen firsthand how many healthcare...

Medical Record Papers Cropped
James Hardie and the fight for future asbestos victims

L-R in the above image: Greg Combet (former ACTU Secretary), Bernie Banton, Ken Fowlie For many decades, the deadly legacy of asbestos dust has been claiming innocent victims in Australia. From the early days of asbestos mining at Wittenoom to the more recent saga of building-product manufacturer James Hardie, the legal ramifications continue, as does the suffering. Since the 1980s, Slater and Gordon has played a lead role in the battle for compensation on behalf of many of the nation’s asbestos victims. Having won landmark cases on behalf of Wittenoom workers, Slater and Gordon again took up the asbestos compensation fight in the early 2000s. In 2001, finally acknowledging its role in...

James Hardie Blog

We're here to help

Start your online claim check now. Or, if you have a question, get in touch with our team.