Gender inequalities and the role of men

Published Date
Oct 5, 2023
On my first day with the Employment team as a new solicitor apprentice, I was invited to attend a gender inequalities session following on from a talk by Laura Bates from the Everyday Sexism Project. I was pleasantly surprised to find a room full of both men and women – on my table the men outnumbered us! – ready to engage and explore the topic at hand.

The discussions were so interesting but the one that stands out was related to male allyship.

Everyone agreed that it is critical to have men who are willing and able to support women, as gender inequalities cannot be a one-sided discussion.

On my table, it was interesting to see how some of the men found it hard to navigate being an ally because it was not their lived experience. They wanted to take the first step but found it challenging to do so.

Having only just left sixth form, this did not really surprise me as I am used to seeing an increase in the number of young female advocates but simultaneously young men and boys who do not speak up on the topic as they are not sure it is their place. If anything, this shines a light on the fact that we need to encourage men to speak up to help their female colleagues despite not having their own lived experience of being a woman. 

My first lesson at A&O was just how important it is to have open and honest dialogue, as it is only then that we can make progress. 

What an insightful first day and I cannot wait to see what is next!

Content Disclaimer
This content was originally published by Allen & Overy before the A&O Shearman merger