Are you an experienced criminal lawyer looking for part time work?

We are informed that the Mental Health Law Centre has a vacant position in the team at itscommunity legal centre.

The position is for 2-3 days a week, which must include working Mondays. The criminal work is Magistrates Court work only, and other work would include the MIARB and MHRB and GAA jurisdictions.

The Centre can negotiate family friendly hours. The FTE salary range is $65,000 - $85,000 plus salary sacrificing.

If you are interested, please contact the Centre on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact the Principal Solicitor, Sandra Boulter, to discuss the position further. Contact details and address are below:

General Manager
Mental Health Law Centre (WA) Inc.
Phone: 08 9328 8266
Freecall: 1800 620 285
Fax: 08 9328 8577
96-98 Parry Street
Perth WA 6000

The sixth annual Global Gender Gap Report, published earlier this month by the World Economic Forum, places Australia in 23rd spot out of 135 countries for gender equality. The report provides a framework for capturing the extent of global gender-based disparities and tracking their progress.

The Gender Gap Index benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, political, education and health based criteria, and ranks countries to allow comparison over time across regions and income groups. The Index measures gender-based gaps in access to resources and opportunities in individual countries rather than the extent of available resources and opportunities in those countries. This is done to ensure that the Index rank countries on their gender gaps not on their development level.

According to the 2011 report gender equality ratios have improved in around 85% of countries since the study commenced six years ago. Gender equality is still lowest in African and Middle Eastern countries.

Nordic countries (Iceland -1st , Norway – 2nd , Finland – 3rd  and Sweden – 4th ) are in the top rankings, having closed over 80% of  gender gaps, while countries at the bottom of the rankings (Pakistan – 133rd , Chad – 134th  and Yemen- 135th) still have gaps as high as 50%.

For the full report, go to http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GenderGap_Report_2011.pdf

The WomenOnBoards Women's Voice project recently identified a number of key issues that affect women's capacity to engage in the workforce, including access to child care services. WomenOnBoards has released its recommendations regarding reform of child care.  You can see the recommendations at http://www.womenonboards.org.au/pubs/submissions/child-care-reform.htm.

On 1 December 2011, the Law Society of New South Wales released its report "Thought Leadership 2011: Advancement of Women in the Legal Profession".

The report and recommendations are attached.

Attached is a study, conducted by global business consulting firm, Bain & Company, in partnership with Chief Executive Women (CEW) of Australia titled "What stops women from reaching the top? Confronting the tough issues". The following information is from Bain & Company and CEW's media release dated 22 November 2011. For further information, go to CEW's website, www.cew.org.au.

The study found that the biggest threat to the advancement of women is that senior leaders are more likely to promote someone with a similar leadership style as their own, and that they do not value the perspectives women bring to a leadership team.

According to the study, competing work-life priorities still represent a roadblock in women’s career advancement. However, approximately 60 per cent of total survey respondents (both male and female) feel that “style” differences (i.e. gender-specific approaches to management situations and issues) are a bigger obstacle to women’s career advancement. The majority of
women (78 per cent of women respondents) are in this group. However, only 39 per cent of men agree, with the majority (61 per cent of male respondents) believing that competing work-family commitments is the main inhibitor.

The survey shows those who consider that “differences in style” is the biggest constraint to women’s progression list the following factors (either Agree or Strongly Agree) as the most important inhibitors of women’s advancement to leadership positions:

  • Men are more likely to appoint or promote someone with a style similar to their own as the top factor (90 per cent)
  • Women under-sell their experience and capabilities (79 per cent)
  • Some leadership teams do not value the different perspectives that women bring to the team (78 per cent)

“There aren’t enough women in senior ranks in Australia and this research shines a light on differences in style as the biggest roadblock for women’s advancement” said Bain partner Melanie Sanders, who is the leader of Bain’s Asia Pacific Woman at Bain program. “The challenge is that this issue is not widely acknowledged, and men and women don’t always see
the issues the same way.”

The study finds that women and men are viewed as equally effective at delivering results for their organisation. There was no gender difference identified in attributes such as making commercially-sound decisions, managing high-pressure situations and delivering significant or transformative change—largely the critical attributes that create value and drive results in
organisations.

However, the study highlighted that men and women agree that they achieve these outcomes with quite different styles. Both genders generally view men as better “promoters”, i.e. performing better than women at such activities as speaking up in leadership meetings, better at managing emotions at work and working with colleagues of the same gender. Women were
viewed by both sexes as better “collaborators”, working effectively in a team and maintaining work and family commitments.
The stark finding highlighted in the research is that women’s collaborating style is not perceived to be as effective as men’s promoting style. Specifically, women are perceived to be less effective at problem solving. Men rated women as half as effective as other men on this dimension – which was rated by both genders to be the most important leadership attribute.

“Women problem solve differently to men, typically collaborating more, engaging others in the process and not needing to take the credit for getting the problem solved” said Jayne Hrdlicka, from CEW and co-author of the study, Group Executive at Qantas, and non executive director at Woolworths. “While this approach is highly effective at creating ownership and buy-in to the answer to the problem and the actions required, it presents a challenge for women if this is not recognised as problem solving and contributes to not getting appropriate recognition for their leadership capability.”

Earlier this year some members participated in Mahlab's survey for 2011 on work and pay conditions in the legal profession. If you are logged in, you can read the results of the Survey 2011 - Corporate and the Survey 2011 - Private Practice.

If you are not logged in, you can access the survey results at www.mahlab.com.au.

Mahlab thanks members who participated in survey 2011.

We have asked Mahlab whether future surveys can provide some analysis of the data gathered by gender, and include information gathered from barristers in its surveys.

November is proving to be another month for provocative articles about women. Attached are articles titled:

With the recent release of information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics there has been a fresh round of media reports about women's participation in the workforce. Attached is a sample comprising:

  • "Corporate Women say Nannies are vital on road to gender equality" by Kelsey Munro which appeared on p 6 of the Sydney Morning Herald on 10 September 2011;
  • "Working Women Slipping" by Helen Pow which appeared on p 16 of the Sunday Times, Perth on 11 September 2011; and
  • "It's still jobs for the boys" also by Helen Pow which appeared on p 24 of the Sunday Telegraph on 11 September 2011.

The announcement of Australia's first ambassador for women and girls also caused media comment. Attached is a sample of those articles:

  • "First ambassador for women calls on Australia to lead change" by Kirsty Needham which appeared on p 6 of The Age on 14 September 2011; and
  • "Diplomat takes up fight for women and girls" also by Kirsty Needham which appeared on p 6 of the Sydney Morning Herald on 14 September 2011.
We have entered into an arrangement with one of our members to establish a scholarship for Aboriginal women studying law. The trustee company, AWLT Pty Ltd, has been incorporated and the Trust was established on Monday, 5 September 2011. AWLT is in the process of applying for tax deductible gift recipient status. The Trust aims to award the first scholarship for the 2012 academic year.

Registered members can access the August 2011 edition of AWL's magazine, Themis, here.

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