Sabah Law Society rolling out legal profession charter against gender discrimination

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Law Society (SLS) is rolling out Malaysia's first charter for the advancement of women in the legal profession as part of efforts to encourage gender equality.

The charter also includes provisions for law firms to tackle sexual discrimination and bullying as well as for law companies to put in place structures for women to progress in their careers.

SLS president Roger Chin, in a joint statement with SLS women and children's sub-committee chairman Mary Gomez, said that the charter includes provisions towards establishing fair and transparent sexual discrimination and harassment complaints processes.

Chin said all law firms can sign up to the charter which will demonstrate a leadership commitment towards removing gender bias and discrimination in the legal workplace.

"It will drive a change in the legal profession by developing a culture that supports the retention and promotion of women from all backgrounds.

"It would also be implementing recruitment and promoting strategies that include gender diversity and gender pay equity as important considerations and promoting mentoring and sponsorship of women in the legal profession," added.

Furthermore, he said signatories would be committing to encourage and facilitate flexible work practices to support a better balance of professional and other commitments ensuring that sexual harassment, or any form of bullying in the workplace was not tolerated.

"It would also establish procedurally fair, safe, accessible and transparent sexual discrimination and harassment complaints processes.

"And also establish training to protect complainants from victimisation, encouraging bystanders and others to report and ‘call out’ offensive and intimidating behaviour," SLS said in a statement Tuesday (May 18).

The charter was part of SLS' ongoing work to address sexual harassment in the legal workplace and drive positive change through its policy work, advocacy and regulatory functions.

According to Chin and Gomez, the decision to bring a special charter for women was because SLS found that the legal profession was still male dominated.

"This brought along a very male culture, as well as the inability of the profession to truly accommodate women in the profession to enable a balancing of expectations in family and work for women," they added.

SLS felt that the charter was necessary even though in recent years, the percentage of women entering the legal profession has far outweighed that of men but on closer look, men still outnumber women.

"SLS had conducted an informal survey identified some of the reasons for the legal profession to still be very much male-dominated," they said, adding that male domination was also due to longer number years in practice.

He said the charter voluntarily enacted would help address "male dominance" in the legal profession.

"The charter in the legal profession as one of its first initiatives to ensure women who choose to be in the profession are given a real and not merely an illusory option to remain, contribute and thrive in the legal profession.

Chin said the charter aims to achieve this by assisting the legal profession to develop cultures which promote diversity and inclusion, prevent sexual harassment and bullying." he added.

"That will impact positively on all practitioners in their place of work, resulting in better business outcomes for the legal profession and the community as a whole," both Chin and Gomez said in the statement.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Next In Nation

Haul up lawyer before Native Court for his comments on Unduk Ngadau pageant, says NGO
Covid-19: Sarawak records 718 new cases, two deaths on Tuesday (June 15)
PM: Parliament will reconvene in September or October once Covid-19 is under control
Not up to unis to decide on student participation in exams or studies based on vaccination status, says Noraini
Najib still an MP, not a bankrupt despite court ruling, says lawyer
Conditional approval of single-dose CanSino gets thumbs up from Sarawak govt
Views of leaders who met with King will be represented at special meeting of Malay Rulers on Wednesday (June 16)
Lockdown to be relaxed once daily cases drop below 4,000, says PM
Cops on the hunt for jealous hubby after woman stabbed repeatedly
Covid-19: Kedah Sultan consents to postpone official birthday celebration until further notice

Stories You'll Enjoy