An equal world is an enabled world. This year, the International Women’s Day (IWD) is calling for collective action to achieve more gender balance in the world. Celebrated on 8 March, this annual celebration is also an opportunity to reflect on the importance and value of diversity within society and the role we all play in encouraging equal opportunities.
Here at AIJA, diversity is the beating heart of our association and we have dedicated the year of 2020 to this topic. As the International Association of Young Lawyers, it’s diversity that first brought us together and continues to do so.
‘My election as the fifth female President of AIJA in the last decade illustrates how the members of our association for international young lawyers actively support female empowerment and leadership’, says AIJA President Paola Fudakowska.
Our statistics speak for themselves: 43 per cent of our members are women and 51 per cent of the officer roles are held by women. There is currently a gender balance across the Association’s executive board and during the past ten years 73 per cent of the senior leadership roles on our executive board were held by women.
Paola makes the point that, ‘We lead by example to show - in the words of another champion for female empowerment - women don’t need to find a voice, they have a voice. They need to feel empowered to use it and people need to be encouraged to listen’.
Following the 2020 narrative of 'an equal world is an enabled world' – and recognising everyone’s role in this – AIJA will celebrate diversity at our 58th annual congress in Rio de Janeiro, from 24-28 August. Under the theme ‘United in Diversity: Empowering our Future’, the congress will advocate for a dynamic and wide-ranging profession; it will offer a discussion platform to provide insights into the complex and multidimensional nature of our society. The congress will also mark the launch of the AIJA Women’s Network, an initiative to leverage the strength and capabilities of AIJA’s members to promote and progress the advancement of women’s careers in the legal sector. Whilst we can’t single handily solve the issues women face in the legal profession, we believe that our collective strength can enable us to together build brighter careers for the woman of today and the future.
With over 4,000 members from more than 90 countries, it’s also the cultural diversity within our association that has empowered us to grow strong alliances across our differences, fostering strong relationships and connections both inside and outside our association in the past 58 years.
Collectively, each one of us is able to contribute towards a more gender equal world. Gender equality matters in business, government and society. Because an equal world is an enabled world, AIJA chooses to be #EachForEqual every day.
This year, our members have accepted the #EachForEqual challenge launched by the UN to promote equal opportunities. Want to share your photo? Put your arms up front and strike the #EachForEqual pose. Send us the photo by email with a short message on the value of diversity and gender equality within society. Over the next weeks we will be publishing our members’ messages on our social media.