Guadalajara, Mexico: protestors against violence towards women on the International Women's Day march Shutterstsock
Law firms in Mexico today joined other businesses in supporting a one-day national women’s strike in protest against rising levels of violence against women.
The protests In Mexico have coincided with an avalanche of events and initiatives by the legal profession to mark International Women’s Day that have often celebrated the achievements of women lawyers, but also highlighted the need for more progress towards gender equality.
In Mexico, an estimated 10 women are killed each day and police are investigating more than 700 cases of ‘femicide'; circumstances that fuelled a huge march in Mexico City on Sunday to commemorate International Women’s Day with an estimated 80,000 people in attendance.
Today (9 March) Hogan Lovells and Gonzalez Calvillo are among an estimated dozen law firms giving official support to a follow-on strike, officially called ‘un día sin nosotras’ (‘a day without us’).
"This is a real crisis," said Juan Francisco Torres Landa, managing partner of Hogan Lovells’ Mexico City office, in a LinkedIn post. "We need to break the inertia that this is normal."
In a statement on its website, leading Mexico firm Gonzalez Calvillo said it was supporting the ‘national strike movement.. to show the vast and tragic effects of the absence of women and the insufficient response of the state, private sector and society alike, in protecting them’.
Elsewhere, initiatives launched to coincide with International Women’s Day included the next phase of the UK’s First 100 Years project – relaunched as The Next 100 Years project.
The project, by the charity Spark21, will seek to improve gender equality in the legal profession and support women lawyers of the future by creating a task force to help drive change.
Dana Denis-Smith, founder of The Next 100 Years and chief executive officer of Obelisk Support, said: “The First 100 Years celebrated the hard-won progress of the last 100 years and the stories of those legal pioneers that are so vital in providing a solid, positive platform for the future. Now, as we look forward to the next 100 years, we need to take action to accelerate the pace of change and remove the barriers to women’s progress still built into the legal profession.”
The project will be promoted through a number of events, the first of which was the #FaceTheFuture campaign that coincided with International Women’s Day, celebrating the achievements of women in law through a series of photoshoots across the UK and globally in Paris, Sydney, Singapore, Mexico City and Washington DC.
Other initiatives and events to mark International Women’s Day included:
A special feature by Africa’s Courtroom Mail profiled the 30 most influential female law firm founders in Africa, including the team at Apio Byabazaire Musanase & Co – the first all-female multi-partner firm in Uganda.
London firm Hamlins was among several firms which released videos featuring women lawyers at their firms. “Don’t sell yourself short,” said head of real estate disputes Kate Andrews. “Don’t listen to that inner critic.”
In Qatar, Sultan Al-Abdulla & Partners teamed up with local law firms and other organisations, including UNICEF Qatar, to hold a seminar on Sunday on The Legal and Judicial Protection of Women and Children.
Fasken launched a year-long initiative to celebrate the achievements of women in leadership positions at the Canadian firm
Top 60 UK firm Forsters announced the promotion of three associates to the partnership – Emily Holdstock, Emma White and Rowena Marshall - boosting the number of women partners to 30; 49% of the partnership
Barrister Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol, the first woman secretary general of Thailand’s Securities & Exchange Commission, was featured in a series of interviews by The World Bank profiling ‘pioneering women across East Asia’.