IBA President launches Ten Directives to Break the Glass Ceiling

Friday 8 March 2024

The International Bar Association (IBA) President, Almudena Arpón de Mendívil Aldama, has introduced the Ten Directives to Break the Glass Ceiling to mark International Women’s Day 2024 (8 March). The index of recommendations, which aims to help young associates achieve senior roles within their organisations, will be discussed during IBA Women’s Day events on 8 March with more than 80 women lawyers from 30 different jurisdictions across the world. This Friday’s event expands upon the inaugural IBA Women’s Day in 2023, which saw participation from 30 lawyers.

As part of this global undertaking, senior women law firm partners will, together with a young associate, join the IBA’s President on screen at 1430 Central European Time when Ms Arpón de Mendívil will give a short address outlining the concept and goal of the event: giving visibility to younger associates and sharing the most important elements to developing a good career.

During the on-screen event, the co-authors of the Ten Directives to Break the Glass CeilingMaria-Pia Hope, Managing Partner at Vinge and Siân Keall, Partner at Travers Smith – will discuss the division of the directives into two categories: actions to be taken that depend on the individual and environments to be created by the workplace to facilitate the advancement of women lawyers into senior roles. This will be preceded by all of the women online introducing themselves, to give visibility to the partners and their associates, and to strengthen and extend the network of women lawyers across the globe.

President Arpón de Mendívil, a partner at law firm Gómez-Acebo & Pombo in Madrid, Spain commented: ‘Women lawyers from all over the planet have been able to reach senior positions, they are path markers who should guide the next generation to achieve success. This is the reason I have launched my Ten Directives to Break the Glass Ceiling. I am grateful to my co-authors, Maria-Pia Hope, and Siân Keall, for their great input. Together, we decided to keep the suggestions as simple as possible to facilitate adoption.’

Also, I am particularly proud to show that the event is growing in scale. More than 80 women lawyers of all ages and races from over 30 jurisdictions appearing on screen at the same time: a global community. We are guided by common principles regarding the importance of the Law and of our role as lawyers. This is so powerful. This joint strength, combined with capacity, commitment, ambition, and merits should get talented women lawyers to the places where decisions are made. Together, we should accelerate change, convincing others, males, and females, to join us in that direction. We must recall that lawyers have a special responsibility in this field given that gender equality is a matter of Law.’

Conceived by Ms Arpón de Mendívil and developed in collaboration with the IBA Women Lawyers’ Committee, the IBA Women’s Day will see simultaneous events in the form of fireside conversations or panel discussions take place across several jurisdictions around the world. The gatherings will include interactive question and answer sessions as well as time for networking.

If you want to participate in the events being held, please send an email to Romana.Daniel@int-bar.org. You will then be connected to the lead IBA woman arranging the event in your jurisdiction.

A video of the online gathering will be available on the IBA website post-event.

Addressing gender inequality at senior positions in the legal profession is one of the IBA President’s priorities for her 2023-2024 term. It follows from the 2021 launch of the 50/50 by 2030 project – a longitudinal study into gender disparity in law. This being an ambitious, first-of-its-kind, nine-year global project to uncover the root-causes of the lack of gender parity at the most senior levels of the legal profession, across private, public, judicial and in-house legal sectors, and identify whether diversity initiatives introduced to address this disparity are having any impact. The project also aims to provide practical conclusions and guidance to the profession. The IBA’s Legal Policy & Research Unit and the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation are collaborating on the surveys and analysis and have thus far, in chronological order, published findings about the legal profession in England and Wales, Uganda, Spain, Nigeria, Netherlands and Chile.


Notes to the Editor

  1. Related material:
    • Click here for IBA President Almudena Arpón de Mendívil Aldama’s priorities for her tenure, biography and blog.
    • Click here for information on the ‘50/50 by 2030’ project – a longitudinal study into gender disparity in law.
  2. The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice.

  3. The IBA Women Lawyers' Committee (WLC) aspires to empower its highly valued members from all over the world to engage, network and share knowledge. The Committee was originally an interest group, which was introduced as an IBA constituent in 1996 to allow efficient global networking of women lawyers. WLC aims to level the playing field in the legal profession and inspire leaders to work to achieve gender parity. Its 20 Committee Officers create awareness tools to help the profession achieve this goal, while at the same time facilitate an efficient global network for women lawyers to connect and develop business and expertise. We welcome members of all genders, encourage all perspectives and remain a Committee dedicated to the cause of women lawyers.

  4. Find the IBA (@IBAnews) on social media here:

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