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Amid celebrations for International Women’s Day (IWD) in law firms around the state, the Sydney office of Baker McKenzie hosted the launch of the “2018 Press for (Immediate) Progress” report by publisher Women’s Agenda on 13 March.

The report, a play on words of the 2018 IWD #PressForProgress campaign, offered a snapshot of the inequality women still face at work despite recent efforts to bridge the gaps. “The impatience is real,” said Women’s Agenda editorial director Angela Priestley. “Not enough is being done to push for real change.”

The report found that Australia’s national gender pay gap is 15.3 per cent in 2018 and that this translates to an average $251.20 less per week in earnings for women. The report also tabled a 2016 analysis by Australian National University’s Centre for Social Research and Methods, showing that women barristers experienced the highest pay gap of all occupations.

Angela Priestley, Women's Agenda
Angela Priestley, Women’s Agenda

The report did note that the rate of women in the partnerships of major law firms is (slowly) improving, with the Australian Financial Review’s June 2017 survey finding women account for 25.5 per cent of such positions. But men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions on boards in Australia’s leading companies, and there are more CEOs named “Andrew” than there are females in the ASX 200.

“We need to continue influencing across a range of areas to achieve the cultural change needed in corporate Australia,” noted Elizabeth Proust AO, Chairman of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, in the report.