Women Lawyers' Interest Group Publications

Women Lawyers' Interest Group Publications

The Women Lawyers' Interest Group publishes a variety of interesting articles and other content of relevance to the practice area. Some items are only available to Committee members via logging in after clicking on the item. Forgotten login details?

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Women in commercial legal practice – mistaken for the secretary

Drawing on the IBA LPRU report on the same topic, Aline Wey Speirs discusses the barriers to women working in commercial legal practice, including personally being mistaken for the secretary at her own office.
'That’s not what I would do' – combating SOGIE stereotypes in Canadian refugee decisions

Assessing claims for refugee status is no easy feat. Decision-makers must assess the credibility of claims, sometimes with little or no supporting documentation, from testimony from applicants who speak through an interpreter and may have suffered severe trauma. Underlying all of this is the inherent disconnect between a decision-maker and a refugee claimant, arising from differing world views.
Lawyer wellness now recognised for CPD credit in British Columbia – IBA should advance the cause

Decades of studies have continually reported that lawyers are at exceptionally high risk of substance abuse, depression, mental illness and suicide. After many years of consideration, in December 2017, the Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC) finally recognised that courses covering the maintaining of lawyer wellness are now to be accepted towards continuing professional development (CPD) credit for lawyers in British Columbia.
Are we still in an ‘awareness period’ of the gender equality agenda for certain practices of the legal profession? Some thoughts

Although gender equality is increasingly present on the agendas of many fields and disciplines, there are some areas or practices in the legal profession in which the need to continue raising awareness is more noticeable and, to a certain extent, imminent to address. More importantly, when checking the numbers, one concludes that perhaps we are still in an ‘awareness period’ of the gender equality agenda in the legal profession, with the usual suspect preventing us from advancing.
International arbitration forum shoppers, would you please be seated – in Beirut?

Lebanon is an ideal place for international arbitrations, thanks to its geographical position, the availability of highly skilled legal practitioners and, most importantly, due to its modern arbitration-friendly legal system. This article will shed some light on the main features of this attractive international arbitral seat.
From the Editor - Women Lawyers' Interest Group, September 2018

Corina Bove provides the Women Lawyers' Interest Group's From the Editor message for the content provided in September 2018.
Unconscious bias – uncovering the root cause of gender disparity in the legal profession

As we approach the centenary in the United Kingdom of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919, which granted women entry into the professions for the first time, we reflect on how far the legal profession has come and how far it still has to go to achieve gender parity. In particular, we explore unconscious bias, which continues to be a key barrier for women’s career progression.
Closing the gender pay gap

This year, Iceland became the first country to legally enforce equal pay and, in Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, organisations of a certain size are now required to publish their gender pay data and/or provide this data to the government (other countries such as Australia, Austria and Belgium have had gender pay reporting obligations in place for years).
New technologies but same disputes – blockchain and arbitration

One of the main buzzwords of recent times is ‘blockchain’. Blockchain is becoming increasingly present in our daily lives and more and more applications can make use of this new technology. In fact, a growing number of people are testing this disruptive technology by betting with Bitcoins, a popular cryptocurrency based on blockchain technology.
Gender equality: where are we? – the Italian experience

Gender equality is one of the main topics of discussion of the 21st century. The beginning of the discussion goes back to the 19th century, with the first movements for women’s right to vote, but the subject is once again very prominent. The aim of past and present battles is to give proper implementation to equality between men and women in all of its various guises.
Dealing with sexual harassment – #metoo #balancetonporc #quellavoltache #yotambien

As lawyers, it falls to us to consider the legal protections of individuals – those who complain as well as those complained against – and what action employers should take when a complaint is made. Attention has also focused on the use and abuse of non-disclosure agreements in sexual harassment. This article examines sexual harassment laws in the United Kingdom, practical steps employers can take, and the debate around confidentiality clauses.
Message from the Co-Chairs - Women Lawyers Interest Group, April 2018

The Women Lawyers' Interest Group Co-Chairs, Charandeep Kaur and Maria Isabel Tostes da Costa provide a message for members regarding the April 2018 collection of articles and conference.
Gender equality in Portugal and law number 62/2017 of 1 August 2017 – Women Lawyers Interest Group, April 2018

Gender equality is a fundamental value under the Treaty on the European Union and ultimately one of the objectives of the EU. Similarly, the Portuguese Constitution envisages the defence of gender equality as one of the fundamental objectives of the Portuguese State. Nonetheless, gender equality is far from being achieved in modern society and gender-related issues within the labour market are particularly important in light of the gender pay gap.
Women’s right to intestate succession: thoughts on gender (dis)parity in India - Women Lawyers Interest Group

‘A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction,’ said Virginia Woolf way back in 1928. While this was in the context of economic independence and personal freedom being the most instrumental factors in encouraging women writers, the larger issues on gender parity, women’s equal rights to property, access to resources and opportunities to that of their male counterparts remains work-in-progress in most countries.
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They hardly let us speak’: the subtle forms of sexism in the legal profession - Women Lawyers Interest Group

It is no secret that the legal profession in Brazil is still a place controlled by men. This dominance does not stem from the number of women working in the sector – which is quite significant – but rather from the disproportional prevalence of men occupying leadership positions. A survey made by a specialist consultancy revealed that eight out of nine of Brazil’s largest law firms have more female than male lawyers, but only 30 per cent of these firms’ partners are women. The same problem is noted in the public careers: in 2013, only 35 per cent of Brazilian judges were women, and this representation was even lower in the superior courts (18.4 per cent).
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From the Editor - Women Lawyers Interest Group, February 2018

Corina Bove introduces the latest series of articles from the Women Lawyers Interest Group in her Febraury 2018 Editor's Note.
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The catalytic effect of being HIV-positive on the promotion and progress of women in the workplace, Women Lawyers Interest Group

Women living with HIV face the same unemployment challenge that is rocking the totality of Nigeria’s qualified workforce. But unlike other people who are not infected with HIV, the chances of decent employment for a qualified woman known to be living with the virus are very slim. This work examines the effects of HIV on the promotion and progress of HIV-positive women in the workplace for a more productive society.
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Prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace: an Indian perspective - Women Lawyers Interest Group, February 2018

The #MeToo movement forced a movie producer and the CEO of one of the largest startups in the world to resign from their positions at companies they co-founded. Countless women have raised their voices against sexual harassment and brought to fore the numerous cases of sexual harassment that women face, including in the workplace. Against this backdrop, it is relevant to consider if existing law in India is adequate for handling complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace.
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Canadian Government changes sex discrimination in the Indian Act after 150 years - Women Lawyers Interest Group, February 2018

The Indian Act, which was enacted in Canada in 1876 and has since been amended, allows the government to control aspects of aboriginal life: Indian status, land, resources, wills, education, band administration, etc. Indian status was given to men and women in 1867 and 'Status Indians' are entitled to a wide range of programmes and services. As recently as November 2017, the federal government has decided to change course on its proposed legislation to end sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act.
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Can equity and equality be congruent for women in India? - Women Lawyers Interest Group, February 2018

Advocate Namrata Mishra explores the dichotomy between equity and equality and considers whether both can be congruent for women in India.
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Women's empowerment in Turkey: take the lead! - Women Lawyers Interest Group, February 2018

Taking substantial steps forward in increasing the ratio of women in employment is one of the main focuses of Turkey, as in many other countries around the world. Progress in this area is happening at a glacial pace, yet awareness levels are promising: legislative authorities have started to dedicate well-deserved attention to this matter, as have companies in their internal organisation structures.
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Corporate governance – board diversity: a key imperative – Women Lawyers Interest Group, February 2018

Diversity is the variation of social and cultural identities among people existing together in a defined employment or other setting. Discussions around diversity typically revolve around gender. Board diversity, however, entails cultivating a broad spectrum of demographic attributes and characteristics in the boardroom with the intention of making the board less homogenous. Bisi Adeyemi explores these issues.
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Momentum building to combat everyday sexism - Women Lawyers Interest Group, February 2018

The last few months of 2017 saw a global awakening to the sexual discrimination, harassment and assault that some women have suffered at the hands of well-known or influential men. It's an evolving and disturbing story set in highly developed, democratic societies. Back in Australia, we are starting to see the stirrings of a movement combatting ‘everyday sexism’. It's a story worth sharing with other International Bar Association jurisdictions and they, in turn, may have more to add.
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Diversity in law firms: a case for change - Women Lawyers Interest Group, February 2018

In spite of recent progress, law firms are still failing when it comes to gender diversity. While, in general, women’s representation has notably improved at the recruitment stage, the gender gap continues to be too broad as lawyers advance through their careers. This, far from equitable, is also not sustainable from the business perspective. This article discusses some strategic business reasons confirming that action is needed to achieve more gender-diverse law firms.
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Women in the legal profession in Argentina: a brief overview of private law firms, Women Lawyers Interest Group, February 2018

Andrea Nessi and María Soledad Font Nine continue the trend of addressing the subject of women in the legal profession by exploring the formal and informal barriers that, alongside perceptions of otherness, stand in opposition to what could be considered mere personal circumstances, the results of individual decisions, and have a profound impact on women's career strategies, choices and, ultimately, on women's freedom.
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Women Lawyers' Interest Group Sept 2017 newsletter

The empowerment of women in the UAE and India and the progression of women in the Spanish legal sector, the rise of female arbitrators, the future of healthcare, the rise of new technology, India's Maternity Benefits Acts 1961, the Veirano Advogados Diversity Committee and the first female majority on a Commonwealth highest appellate court in the New Zealand Supreme Court