Media Release: Clayton Utz CEP says leadership and culture key as we’re named a WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality 2021-23

17 Mar 2022

Sydney, 17 March 2022:  Clayton Utz's continued active commitment to achieving gender equality has seen us awarded a Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation [i] 2021-23 - among 120 organisations recognised this year.

The citation is awarded on the basis of an organisation's progress in seven key focus areas: Leadership, strategy and accountability; Developing a gender-balanced workforce; Gender pay equity; Support for caring; Mainstreaming flexible work; Preventing gender-based harassment and discrimination and bullying, and; Driving change beyond your workplace.

Chief Executive Partner Bruce Cooper said leadership and culture lay at the heart of achieving workplace gender equality:

We know gender equality is right, fair and obvious. That it also make makes good business sense has been very clear for some time. We will keep gender equality front of mind, and continue to shape our culture so we remain open and authentic in talking about where we're we currently at, what's working and where we can improve. And we’ll continue to ensure that each of us in Clayton Utz appreciates our collective role in pursuing gender equality.

Reflecting on historical issues specific to the legal industry, Bruce said preventing gender-based harassment, discrimination and bullying was a fundamental part of getting the right culture. "We've taken our lead from the Respect@Work Report. While we've had education initiatives in place for some time, we'll also be focusing on encouraging thoughtful bystander action," he said.

In areas such as gender pay equity, Bruce said we were maintaining "ongoing vigilance". "On a like-for-like basis, we're doing well - but like our peers, work remains in our overall organisation-wide gap, which reflects the higher proportion of women in business support roles."

As part of a refreshed gender equality strategy, we will also be updating our parental leave policy to remove the distinction between primary and secondary carers (we currently pay superannuation on paid and unpaid parental leave, and provide support for senior parental leavers including executive coaching and one-on-one business support). 

Clayton Utz Director - Diversity & Inclusion, Alison Woolsey, said our overarching Momentum program, which encompasses our broader D&I initiatives, will continue to be a vehicle for engaging in challenging conversations around gender equality issues, as well as promoting practical ways to support Equitable Briefing and LGTBIQ inclusion and intersectionality. For example, we launched our now-annual LGBTIQ Women's Conference in 2019 as a forum for exploring and better understanding the particular issues LGBTIQ women face, and discussing ideas as to how we can help address these.

[i] The EOCGE citation is a voluntary leading-practice recognition program designed to encourage, recognise and promote organisations' active commitment to achieving gender equality in Australian workplaces.

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