March 8 is International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to highlight the achievements of women and to strengthen efforts to create equity in social and professional settings. This year’s theme, Break The Bias, encourages us to envision a gender-equal world, free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.
As a law firm that works with individuals and organizations from various backgrounds and cultures, often with reduced political agency, Ratcliff champions equality, diversity, and inclusion. Each day, we are fortunate to represent First Nations with female leadership, businesses with female founders, and families with women at their heart. Our communities and our workplaces benefit from hearing, amplifying, and learning from a multiplicity of voices.
“I am most inspired by my clients who are ‘women in business’. Whether they are taking a risk and starting an entirely new venture, building the business they already have, or successfully transitioning into a new phase of their lives, they uniformly show strength, courage and incredible commitment. I am honoured to be a part of their journey.” –Veronica Singer, Partner
We are big believers that where women work, they make a difference. But we don’t just talk the talk: At Ratcliff, we have a 65% female workforce and 50% female representation among our partners. “When I first started practicing business law over 30 years ago, I was almost always the only woman in the room,” acknowledged Ratcliff Partner, Veronica Singer. “While there is still much work to be done, that is certainly no longer the case. Hopefully, the days of being identified as a lady lawyer are over, and we can all be recognized as lawyers for the strengths and skills we possess.”
The strength and skill of the women at Ratcliff have led them into leadership positions, including COO, however, pathways to success are not without effort and sacrifice. “Not a day goes by where I don’t interact with another woman trying to do what often seems completely unattainable to me – have a successful career, while being a present and involved parent for their children,” reveals Associate Hannah McDonald.
For many women, a work-life balance is a persistent battle. Dividing time and energy between a career and a home life remains a lived experience for most professional women. For Hannah, that shared struggle provides a certain solidarity and hope: “I am constantly supported, encouraged and grounded by other women who have experienced the same challenges. To hear their stories, feel understood and validated, and be reminded that it’s ok not to be absolutely everything to everyone all the time, provides a huge relief and the inspiration to keep trying.”
It is undeniable that our firm benefits from the unique experiences and perspectives of the women working at every level of our business. They drive our successes, guide our client relationships, and inform the changes ahead. We are proud of the exceptional, talented people on our team that continue to forge a path forward…and who just happen to be women.
“I am lucky to have a strong network of women who have helped and supported me while I start to lay the groundwork of my legal career. I am grateful for these women and all women in the legal profession who advocate for ongoing progress in diversity in this line of work.” –Grace Hermansen, Articled Student
Outside our walls, we are proud to support initiatives in our community that increase access to justice for women and people who experience gender-based discrimination. It is just one way we live up to our firm motto: Our success is measured by the positive difference we make to the world around us.
“I applaud all those women who are focusing on their education or career, pursuing their passions, focusing on their families, or trying to do it all. While women may have come a long way, being a woman today remains hard no matter which path she pursues. The resolve, dedication and hard work it takes deserves the recognition, celebration and respect that International Women’s Day symbolizes.” –Hannah McDonald, Associate