Corrs Chambers Westgarth has taken another bold step towards enabling a diverse workforce by publicly releasing its ASX compliant ‘Diversity Policy’ yesterday at the firm’s celebration of International Women’s Day.
Corrs has become the only large national law firm to publish a Diversity Policy compliant with ASX Corporate Governance Guidelines.
Despite the firm not being publicly listed, Corrs will emulate the requirements of its listed clients by setting measurable objectives for achieving diversity, including targets for women in senior positions.
The Diversity Policy was officially launched by Christine Covington, partner and chair of Corrs Diversity Council and Commonwealth Bank of Australia General Counsel, David Cohen, at a celebration event throughout Corrs’ national offices in anticipation of International Women’s Day on March 8.
Corrs partner and Diversity Council Chair Christine Covington said, “Corrs’ ASX Compliant Policy is a serious public statement of our commitment to diversity. The Policy is tangible evidence of the firm’s strong commitment to improving the retention and elevation of women.
“Even though we are not required to comply with Corporate Governance Guidelines, we believe it is valuable to do so. It is important for our clients, many of whom are ASX listed companies. It is good for our workplace, and it is important because we all operate in one global marketplace.”
Corrs’ Diversity Policy has three main objectives that will help guide how to further integrate diversity into firm culture and produce the best result for clients. The first objective is to increase gender diversity in senior management and partnership roles through the setting of targets for women, similar to the requirements of many of its ASX listed clients. These bold targets include maintaining the 33% women on the Corrs Board and ensuring 40% women are in senior management by 2015. The second objective is to create more flexibility for both men and women, and finally to broaden the diversity agenda beyond gender.
Corrs Diversity Manager Lisa Annese said, “We have a great reason to celebrate International Women’s Day with the launch of our ASX Compliant Diversity Policy. The Policy sets measurable objectives for achieving gender diversity within the leadership pipeline. We will be working very hard in the next few years to ensure these targets are met.”
Corrs has a strong history of initiatives in diversity. In addition the Policy, Corrs has increased the parental leave entitlement from 14 to 18 weeks; introduced flexibility and leadership training for managers and partners; introduced a sponsorship program for women in the partnership pipeline; appointed a full-time Diversity Manager; and partnered with the Melbourne Business School in the three year ‘Gender Equality Project’.
In July 2010 the ASX Corporate Governance Council adopted diversity-related amendments to its Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations. It required listed companies to adopt a diversity policy that sets measurable objectives for achieving gender diversity and to report annually on their achievement against those objectives and on the proportion of women employed in the whole organisation, in senior management roles and on boards of directors.
The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.