MSB makes inclusivity pledge ahead of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a day to reflect and to celebrate how far we have come. We need to be proud that the legal profession has better gender diversity. It is also a day to reflect on how far we have to go in the fight for equality.

If we are to achieve true equality, we need inclusion, and that’s why MSB have introduced a series of policies to support inclusion and equality within the firm.

After what had been a difficult couple of years for all, our female lawyers excelled, and we celebrated International Women’s Day 2021 with three promotions to Associate level. Throughout the year a further four female lawyers were promoted to Associate, five promoted to Senior Associate and one obtained Partnership.

In early 2021 Associate Employment Solicitor, Hannah Dowd, presented to Managing Partner Emma Carey on a new and improved Maternity Policy. Along with the firm’s Paternity Policy and Antenatal Appointment Policy, the firm prioritises better financial support for parents and is committed to creating an environment where no members of staff feel they have to choose between a family and their career.

More than four years since the #MeToo movement took the world by storm, we recognise that a 2022 workplace should feel very different to that of 2018. It is the responsibility of all employers across the country to pick up the baton of the #MeToo movement and to end workplace harassment and abuse. Fundamental to achieving a diverse workforce that can be celebrated, is achieving an environment where everyone feels safe. MSB has a Sexual Harassment Policy which enforces a strict non-tolerance of any form of sexual harassment in the workplace and to reassure staff that any feelings of discomfort or unease will be listened to and treated seriously.

We had been working on a Domestic Abuse policy when the videos and images of Manchester United Footballer Mason Greenwood’s abuse surfaced on social media. MSB, recognising the impact this topic can have particularly on those who are suffering with or who have previously suffered from any form of abuse, introduced the policy later that week as priority. The policy outlines the many ways in which MSB is able to support those suffering from abuse, and that reports of abuse will be treated sensitively and seriously. The policy also outlines MSB’s zero tolerance for employees who are perpetrators of domestic abuse.

Managing Partner Emma Carey has also introduced a Menopause Policy to MSB. Health and wellbeing have become a priority for all employers, particularly in the legal sector, due to recognition of the effects the fast-paced, high-stress nature of the work can have on employees. Surprisingly, or perhaps unsurprisingly, menopause support isn’t often spoken about and is infrequently discussed in conversations about health and wellbeing, despite it being a sensitive wellbeing concern. Understanding that not everyone is familiar with the effects of Menopause on those experiencing it, the policy introduced by MSB explains the different stages of menopause, symptoms that may be experienced, the support offered by the firm and the reasonable adjustments than employees can expect the firm to make for them.

When the world was thrust into lockdown, the legal sector achieved what for years had been unimaginable: homeworking. Now in 2022, the legal sector looks much different for both men and women with the added flexibility of working from home to better suit parental responsibility or caseload needs –or both! In 2020, MSB introduced a Homeworking Policy to better support staff, offering the benefits of flexibility and structure.

As a firm, MSB is constantly reflecting on its policies and practices and as it effectively introduces new, more progressive policies, it is important that an environment is created where polices are understood, and where all employees feel they can rely upon the policies introduced.

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2022, our friends across the legal sector can expect to see the faces of MSB women light up our social media pages as we commit ourselves as a firm, as lawyers and as women to #BreakingTheBias.

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