Firm partner says that it’s "really nice" to not be "the only woman in the room" during a meeting
Kalus Kenny Intelex (KKI) has marked International Women’s Day this year by highlighting the five women who comprise 50% of its partnership.
“It’s really nice to see when I go to meetings now, I’m not the only woman in the room. It’s fairly balanced and I think this has been the greatest gain for the profession in recent years,” partner Denise Wightman said.
She lauds not only the availability of opportunity granted to women, but also the heightened openness to significant issues that affect women in the profession, such as harassment.
“If the opportunities are there, women have the ability to choose. This is something we should be celebrating as well as the fact we can now have an open conversation about workplace culture, harassment, discrimination and diversity, because these are issues that directly impact women,” Wightman said.
Nonetheless, fellow partner Heather Richardson also pointed out that while there was greater representation for women “at partnership level, in court rooms, boardrooms and at the Bar,” there is “still some imbalance that needs to be addressed.”
KKI explained that while there are presently more female law graduates than male ones, there is still a lack of female representation at the senior level, particularly for private practitioners. Thus, the firm seeks to be at the forefront of advancing gender equality within the private practice market in Australia.
Richardson added that KKI’s gender parity at the partnership level is “reflective of the firm’s overall culture and commitment to equal opportunity and gender equality.”
Wightman emphasised to young female lawyers the importance of proactivity in sustaining change.
“If you don’t like the culture or you feel that it’s an ‘old boys’ network’ or anything else you don’t like, take action,” Wightman said. “Demand change within the firm or from your own firm.”
The other women within KKI’s partnership are Lisa Fowler, Natalie Lasek and Kimi Shah, who ascended to the role last year.