Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which has one of the lowest percentages of female partners (12%) of a City firm, gave a hint at its views about a woman’s place by choosing to celebrate yesterday’s International Women’s Day with a gender stereotype-affirming bake-off.
To commemorate the achievements of women through the ages, and campaign for fairer attitudes towards gender in the future, the magic circle law firm asked its lawyers to do what women were seen as best at in the pre-Suffragette era: bake cakes at home.
The lawyers then brought the cakes into the office where they were judged by a panel of experts, including London managing partner Mark Rawlinson.
It wasn’t just Freshfields’ female lawyers who got involved; chief executive Ted Burke and senior partner Will Lawes baked cakes, too.
The event was part of Oxfam’s ‘Raising Her Voice’ project, and raised £12,000 for the charity.
When I asked whether a bake-off was an appropriate way to celebrate International Women’s Day, a spokesperson for Freshfields said: “That’s a question for Oxfam. They are running a campaign based on coffee and cake initiatives which we got involved in.”
He added: “Everyone at the firm was asked to bake.”
A female associate at a City law firm told Legal Cheek: “I think womanhood is about much more than baking.”