Encouraging small steps to make big changes
Launched in November 2018, the EDGE Commitment is a powerful initiative that has been developed by our Women’s Network in London in collaboration with colleagues across the firm, and aims to promote gender equality across the firm globally.
At Freshfields, we support a culture of inclusion and diversity, where everyone has the opportunity to excel and reach their potential. It’s encouraging that in many locations across our legal and business services teams our populations are broadly gender-balanced.
However, we recognise that there is still more to be done. Despite some recent progress, women make up less than a fifth of our global partnership, and it is a priority for us to improve gender balance at all levels across the firm and to build a work environment that is fully inclusive for all.
EDGE is one of the ways we are promoting dialogue, action and positive behavioural change.
Spearheaded by the co-heads of the London Women’s Network, Natalie Sheehan, Megan Castellano, Jenny Leahy and Chantelle Nicholas, the initiative aims to empower our people to take very practical, everyday actions in their working lives that will cause incremental, tangible changes that will in turn foster true equality. These include calling out non-inclusive behaviour, seeking diverse views, planning and attending client and team events that are gender-inclusive, using gender-neutral language and ensuring that our client teams promote diversity of thought.
Freshfields Senior Partner Edward Braham said that: ‘Everyone in our firm has a role to play in building a more inclusive working environment. I believe the “every day” aspect of EDGE can make a real impact on Freshfields’ culture and I am personally committed to supporting its success.’
The co-chairs of the London Women’s Network stated that: ‘We have set out to deliver tangible change across the firm by encouraging everyone to take steps in their daily working lives to promote gender equality and inclusion. The EDGE Commitment has built great momentum within the firm and we are looking forward to continuing the conversations with clients as well as colleagues in the industry.’
This initiative, focused on gender equality, is aligned to our other inclusion commitments and intended as a catalyst for change for the benefit of all.