New project on gender biases in legal sector launched in Hong Kong

It aims to shed light on the barriers faced by women in the legal profession

New project on gender biases in legal sector launched in Hong Kong

A new project exploring gender biases in the legal industry has been launched in Hong Kong following the celebration of International Women's Day. The project will seek to examine the behaviours that women face, including gender biases and micro-aggression, by collecting the everyday experiences of women in the legal sector in an anonymous survey.

It will be led by Susanne Harris and Amita Haylock, partners from Mayer Brown, which launched the initiative in partnership with the Women in Law Hong Kong (WILHK).

"We are proud to partner with WILHK on this important project that offers an opportunity to gather data and raise awareness about the impact of everyday behaviour on the retention and promotion of women in the law," said Harris in a statement.

"We see binary data on gender disparity issues in the Hong Kong legal profession but going beyond this to examine more nuanced, everyday behaviours will offer a new perspective."

The results of the survey will be announced later this year and will seek to determine if behaviour towards women is "adversely" affecting their careers in the legal industry.

"Embracing diversity also means ensuring women in the legal sector have the right opportunities, support and resources to thrive. We hope that this survey will offer an insight into the barriers faced by women and ultimately facilitate greater gender equality in the legal profession," said Haylock.

Meanwhile, Brooke Holden and Alison Tsai, co-chairs of WILHK said that they plan on using the survey to "shine a light on the importance of an inclusive workplace on advancing women's career progression."

Read more: Hong Kong's latest anti-discrimination laws: A guide

'Break the Barriers' campaign

The launch of the survey also marks Mayer Brown's "Break the Barriers" campaign in Asia, where they want to increase awareness and build a diverse and inclusive workplace in their organisation.

It was also launched in celebration of Global Diversity Month, where they company plans to hold a series of online discussions on diversity and inclusivity in the legal profession in Asia.

The topics to be discussed include the International Day of Racial Discrimination 2022, inclusive workplaces for lesbian and bisexual women, and how to approach raising children without burdening them with stereotypes that lead to warped perspectives.

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