Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, who could be against that? At times concepts like these can seem like motherhood and apple pie, universally good and admired but hardly controversial.
Yet in weeks like those we have been through recently, we are reminded how easy it is for these things that are fundamental to human dignity to be taken for granted, or disregarded altogether.
Indeed while everyone is rightly outraged to see a person choked to death in realtime on video because of the colour of their skin, closer to home, when we see election candidates rewarded rather than punished when opposing things like rights for members of the Traveller Community, we need to take a harder look at ourselves and how seriously we take issues like equality, diversity and inclusion.
The Law Society of Ireland recently established a Taskforce to consider the questions of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in terms of the legal profession. One of the recommendations of that Taskforce was the establishment of a Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Charter which solicitors firms could commit to. The Charter states that:
“The signatories to this Charter will treat all individuals and groups of individuals fairly and equally and no less favourably, specific to their needs, in areas of gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, race, class, disability or membership of the Traveller Community. As such, signatories will:
- Recognise the individual needs of those they employ and support them to develop to their full potential.
- Ensure equal access to opportunities for those they employ.
- Ensure their policies, procedures and processes promote gender equality, diversity and inclusion.
- Carry out their work without bias, in a respectful and non-discriminatory manner.
- Build awareness and understanding of the benefits of promoting gender equality, diversity and inclusion.
- Assign responsibility for meeting the Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Charter commitments to a named senior partner or member of staff. Signatories are encouraged to publish details of the senior leader who is accountable for the Charter commitments on your website or intranet.“
We were delighted to make the commitment to this Charter this week. Flor McCarthy is the named senior partner who has been assigned responsibility for meeting the commitments contained in the Charter and we are publishing details of this commitment by sharing it with you here.
We do this not just because we believe it is the right thing to do; but also because we believe that it is important for you to know that we place Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the core of how we do our business on your behalf and how we choose to represent you and people like you.