Meet the Manchester solicitor fighting gender inequality in the legal sector
A solicitor based in Manchester is gaining traction with her campaign to end gender inequality in Britain’s legal sector.
Charlotte Percy, 31, is an associate solicitor with new Manchester-based law firm McAlister Family Law.
She is the brains behind Leading Ways, an initiative she set up at the end of 2016 while working for Slater and Gordon.
Charlotte created Leading Ways after becoming frustrated at the lack of women in senior positions in the industry – and how little was being done to address the issue.
She explained: “Despite 80% of entry level positions being filled by women, and more than 70% of the workforce overall being female, at senior levels this was whittled down to just 30%.
“I submitted a proposal to my board and asked them to set specific targets to re-balance gender representation at senior levels and presented a plan to address the inequality.”
Leading Ways involves independent mentoring and coaching, events featuring women speakers, regular communications to highlight the visibility of women in leadership and driving firms’ commitments to gender equality.
Charlotte believes the impact of her initiative over the last 12 months has been “remarkable”, adding: “There were extraordinarily high levels of staff engagement, so much so that Leading Ways was used as a model to address all diversity matters including race and disability, leading to a champion for each issue in offices nationwide.”
Charlotte said that as Leading Ways is an intrinsic part of the culture at McAlister Family Law, she is now busy helping other national and regional firms set up their own Leading Ways models.
She continued: “I plan to focus my efforts this year on engaging more Manchester firms, so that we as a region can become a beacon for the legal industry across the country, addressing gender inequality in the kind of practical and effective way that delivers genuine results.”
Charlotte, who lives in Macclesfield, is on the board of Manchester Law Society and is chair of the Solicitors Group in Manchester.
She added: “With movements such as Times Up gaining serious traction, now is the right time for Leading Ways to really blaze a trail of gender equality in the boardrooms of Great Britain.
“And I believe that the talented and powerful women in the North will lead the way.”