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Women in the workplace

Whilst equality for women at work has undoubtedly improved - there's still a long way to go. But - as Rhian Radia, Head of the Employment team at law firm Bishop and Sewell, explains - Covid may be offering some help.

I feel fortunate to work in a firm that is made up of 61% women and committed to equality and diversity.

However, as an employment law specialist, my cases remind me every day about the problems women face at work – from being paid less than men to being made redundant or marginalised when they come back from maternity leave.

I was lucky enough to be able to work flexibly after having my sons and this was a game changer, as it allowed me to balance my job with my role as a mother. I have also been lucky to work in firms which promote and support their women.

But sadly, this is not the situation for many women, and I act for many female clients who cannot benefit from such fair and progressive policies.

Good news though, especially for women has come from an unlikely source. The Covid pandemic has forced employers to embrace flexible working patterns and to be responsive to change. Although it is tragic that coronavirus has been the catalyst, it certainly appears to be the case that employers are more forward-looking, and willing to accept and adopt flexible working practices. This can only help women managing work and children, and indeed everybody who wants to work on their own terms and to have more freedom.

Work is not a place to ‘go to’ in my opinion, it is a role to be performed which can, for many jobs, be delivered in different places.

And while a lot still needs to be done to tackle issues such as discrimination around maternity or pregnancy or pay equality, if we see a culture shift that embraces choice and flexibility, we will all end up happier.

Rhian Radia, Partner and Head of the Employment team at Bishop and Sewell.

Rhian Radia joined Bishop & Sewell to head up the employment team in 2019. She has a City background and over 19 years of experience practising employment law, specialising in a range of areas including equal pay claims, grievances and unfair dismissal. Contact Rhian by email: rradia@bishopandsewell.co.uk or call 020 7079 2434

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