South Island law firm Portia (formerly Ebborn Law) has been presented a UN White Camellia award for their work in promoting gender equality.
The White Camellia awards celebrate organisational commitment to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a UN Women and UN Global Compact initiative which encourages gender equality in the workplace.
New Zealand WEPS Committee Chair, Vicky Mee, says they were “impressed by [Portia’s] incorporation of the WEP’s principles into their business practise, and their valuable work in the community to promote gender equality”.
Portia is one of the dozens of signatories to the New Zealand Law Society’s Gender Equality Charter.
Principal Lawyer Erin Ebborn received the award from Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy at Government House in Auckland.
[Erin Ebborn, far right, with Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, centre, and other award winners.]
In her acceptance speech, Erin Ebborn said Portia has undertaken 152 domestic violence matters so far this year.
“We have signed the UNWEPs charter and have proudly published this fact on our website. We also talk about our involvement in WEPs often at public meetings, training and when we interview new staff,” says Erin, “We have adopted a workplace culture and ethic that attempts to address areas that traditionally create a power imbalance. These include how we hire, hours and days of work, place of work and career pathways.
“We provide professional supervision – where a staff member meets with a counsellor or clinical psychologist to debrief on a regular basis, to help manage stress – not only to our lawyers but to all staff members, in recognition that we all share the emotional impact of working with traumatic situations.”