Gender Equality Network

The Gender Equality Network (formerly known as Maddocks Women) was established in 1997. Its initial purpose was to assist women in increasing participation in networking activities. Today the Gender Equality Network still focuses on women but also looks to promotes gender equality in all its myriad of forms - including for women, trans and gender diverse people.

Equal opportunity for all

For us, the business case for gender equality is clear. As the number of women in our partnership has increased so too has the firm’s size and revenue growth. Much of this growth occurred under the leadership of our first female CEO, Michelle Dixon. With women comprising almost 70% of our workforce and over 70% at the Senior Lawyer level, as a firm we need to do everything we can to engage, retain, develop and progress our female employees. We are also keen to ensure trans and gender diverse people have an opportunity for growth and participation in the firm at all levels and in all roles.

Committing to the Employer of Choice for Gender Equality conducted by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency provides us with a roadmap about best practice in gender equality beyond the legal industry. As a citation holder we take our responsibility for doing what we can to promote and achieve gender equitable practices seriously. We conduct regular gender pay equity analysis, review promotions and pay rises annually to ensure no gender bias and analyse partner remuneration to ensure that reward is based on output rather than hours in the office. We also recognise the challenges for the future, including the benefits to women of increasing the number of men in female-dominated roles and encouraging men to use parental leave and flexible working arrangements. We’re proud of the fact that we’ve held the citation since 2004, marking almost 20 consecutive years of recognising our ongoing commitment and action to improve diversity outcomes.

In its 25-year history, the Gender Equality Network has contributed enormously to a culture where:

  • The number of female partners has increased from 18% in 2011 to 40% in 2023.
  • 3 of our 5 executive leadership team are female
  • Representation within the network has expanded to include our shared services and administrative professionals

Today, the purpose of the Gender Equality Network is to:

  • To inform internal policy and programs that impact gender equality
  • To provide connection and business development opportunities through internal and external networking opportunities
  • To support personal and professional development through mentoring and other opportunities
  • To share knowledge and raise awareness of current gender equality issues

Our commitment to gender equality in not just inwardly looking. We are committed to the principles of the Victorian Bar Equality of Opportunity Model Briefing Policy and the NSW Bar Association's Model Equal Opportunity Policy for Female Barristers and Advocates. We are a signatory to the Law Council of Australia’s National Model Gender Equitable Briefing Policy and report on our progress against the targets set. As part of this, the firm launched a campaign in June 2020 called “Lifting the Bar” to help raise the profile of female junior counsel across different areas of practice.

Gender equality leaders

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