b"PEOPLE| LEGAL SECTOR| 2020SUSTAINABILITY INSIGHTGENDER EQUALITYWhen it comes to gender equality, it would be reasonable to expect Australia to be amongst the leading group of developed nations. However, The World Economic Forums 2020 Global Gender Index ranks Australia in 44 out of 153 countries surveyed.Unlike New Zealand, which is ranked at number six, Australia doesnt even feature in the top 10 in East Asia and Pacific and at 44, is ranked below the Philippines and Laos. This represents a drop of five places in the last two years and a significant decline from 2006 where we were ranked 15. In the economic participation index (which measures wages, employment and workforce representation) Australia has dropped even further from a position of 12 in 2006 to a position of 49 in 2020.Clearly, progress has been made since 1882 when the gender equality movement commenced with the Victorian Suffrage Society and the first female trade union. But comparing contemporary Australian gender equality against these historical benchmarks of the twentieth century or those of other cultures, skims over the fact the women, like many other groups, still do not enjoy the same resources, opportunities, rewards or security as traditionally powerful groups. Improving gender equality boosts the productivity and performance of organisations and the economy helping to build stronger societies, economies, businesses and individuals. Research released in June 2020 by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) found that an increase in the share of female top-tier managers by 10 percentage points or more led to a 6.6 per cent increase in the market value of Australian ASX-listed companies, worth the equivalent of AUD$104.7 million. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency has documented a range of organisational benefits of gender equality and the Grattan Institute has calculated that removing barriers for women to enter the workforce could boost the Australian economy by around $25 billion per year.Corporate Australia, however, is changing.Between 2009 and 2019 the number of women on the Boards of ASX200-listed companies grew from 8.3 percent to 29.7 percent. In 2019, forty-five percent of appointments to ASX200 boards were women.The percentage of women on boards in the 100 largest companies is 27.7 percent and in the 1,000 smallest companies it is 15.7 percent. In the legal sector the focus on in gender equality has been strong, with state law societies and law firms supporting the Law Council of Australias commitments, targets and programs including the Diversity and Equality Charter and Equitable Briefing Policy.The 2018 National Profile of the legal profession in Australia revealed that there are 39,700 female solicitors which make up fifty-two percent of the legal profession. However, the WGEA only measured thirty-five percent of women in key management roles. The then Law Society of NSW Chief Executive Officer, Michael Tidball, said the growth in number of female lawyers emphasised the need for law firms and law societies to increase their efforts and strategies to boost the number of women in leadership positions.An Australian Financial Review partnership survey conducted since the 2018 National Profile,found that two-thirds of the 128 new partners appointed at the nations larger law firms were women. The Law Council is committed to taking measures that ensure a level playing field for all members of the Australian legal profession. A major step towards this has been is the development of a National Model Gender Equitable Briefing Policy. The Policy includes interim and long-term targets with the objective of briefing women in at least thirty percent of all matters and paying them thirty percent of the value of all brief fees by 2020. The Law Councils 2018-19 survey of performance against this policy was 27% and 20% respectively.The Workplace Gender Equality Authority collects and provides annual data on a range of gender equality issues. The latest data shows that the Australian legal sector performs strongly against similar industry sectors in gender related commitment and performance.FORMAL POLICY POLICY PUBLISHED INITIATIVESInternational Women's DayEmployer of Choice forGender EquityPay Equity AmbassadorMale Champions of ChangePOLICY Board Links ChampionLaw Council Diversity &Inclusion CharterEquitable Briefing Commitment(CommBar/LCA/etc)Hosting or leading externalprograms and/or forumsStructured female advancement,PUBLISHED mentoring and coaching Training - Gender awarenessunconscious bias and inclusionGender sensitive promotionand recruitment initiativesConvene internal networksor committeesUN Womens' EmpowermentPrinciples signatory0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%Yes 94% No 6% Yes 73% No 27% Perecentage of firmsAverage number of initiatives per firm: 720"