IBA announces nine-year equality research project


Alex Baldwin

IBA announces nine-year equality research project

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The International Bar Association (IBA) has launched a new nine-year project to uncover the causes of gender inequality at the most senior levels of the legal profession.

IBA’s new ‘50/50 by 2030’ project—a reference to the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development goal for Gender Equality—was announced yesterday on International Women’s Day 2021 and is backed by the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation.

The project looks to identify whether current diversity initiatives are having any impact on inequality and to ultimately provide a blueprint for achieving gender parity in senior practices by 2030.

Research will be undertaken across 15 different countries in Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America.

‘We need a global legal profession that not only understands and appreciates the need for diversity and gender equality but will take action to ensure their realisation,” said IBA president Sternford Moyo.

“We cannot continue to have so few eminently qualified and capable women denied parity in senior roles. I have made understanding and effecting change in these areas priorities of my presidency of the IBA. So, I am delighted by the launch of this important, long-term project and for the committed technological, analytical and employee support from long-standing partners LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation.”

‘Time for increased action’

The study will collect and analyse data every three years in 2021, 2024, 2027 and 2030 from law firms, bar associations, law societies, governments, public prosecution, in-house lawyers and judiciaries.

Almudena Arpón de Mendívil, IBA vice president and partner at law firm Gómez-Acebo & Pombo, said: “Despite good intentions, despite the merits and talent of so many women, we still don’t reach the most senior positions across the legal sector mainly due to discriminatory obstacles placed in our paths. This directly clashes with the principles defended by our profession.”

“The legal sector cannot afford this contradiction and should lead by example. With the benefit of raised general awareness around discrimination, it is time for increased action.”

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IBA, LexisNexis, UN, Gómez-Acebo & Pombo