I’m happy to report that the National Association of Women Lawyers wrapped up 2015 with a bang, celebrating our 11th Annual General Counsel Institute in New York City. We heard from the General Counsels of Ruby Tuesday, Teach for America, ING Financial Holdings, and Pearson, who shared tips on succeeding as General Counsel in the 21st Century. We learned how to identify red flags in financial statements from Duff & Phelps, heard great advice from Arin Reeves about playing to win, and ended the conference with a funny, yet impactful keynote by Mika Brzezinski, co-host of “Morning Joe”. In addition to all the substantive learning, it was an amazing networking event where we connected with old friends and gained new ones from corporations around the country. I am looking forward to making more in-house connections at our upcoming Atlanta Regional General Counsel Institute in April.
If you’ve been monitoring women’s rights around the globe, you certainly saw that in December women in Saudi Arabia voted and ran for office for the first time ever and 20 women were elected for office. That is real progress and shows the courage and determination of women.
At the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged delegates not to be afraid to call themselves feminists. You will recall that Trudeau appointed a gender-balanced cabinet upon his election to office. Way to go Mr. Trudeau!
In addition, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, argued at Davos that inappropriate expectations of women to fulfill “nurture” roles are what lead to the problem with gender parity.
You may also be following the 10 prominent corporations identified by the UN in its HeforShe initiative – AccorHotels, Barclays, Koc Holding, McKinsey & Company, PWC International, Schneider Electric, Tupperware, Twitter, Unilever and Vodafone – whose male CEOs have pledged their commitment to gender equality both within and beyond their own institutions. Five of these companies have already achieved gender parity in their overall workforces, defined as having between 40 – 60% of each gender in a given role or group, but will work towards achieving gender parity in their senior leadership teams by 2020. I’m encouraged that these discussions are occurring on the world stage.
I’m excited about the progress on women’s rights around the world, as well as here in the United States, in our own communities, corporations and firms. Please join us at NAWL as we continue the fight for women’s equality and advancement both in the legal profession and beyond. I look forward to seeing many of you in San Francisco at our Mid-Year Meeting & Awards Luncheon on March 11.