Juliana Marques Kakimoto is General Counsel of Sandoz Brazil and Head of Jurídico de Saias, a group of female lawyers which share the common goal of promoting gender parity and the professional development of women in the Brazilian legal market. In this feature interview, Ms. Kakimoto discusses the current outlook for female attorneys in the Brazilian legal market, the group's main initiatives as well as the key challenges towards achieving gender parity, among other topics.
Leaders League.What is the story behind Jurídico de Saias? And what are its main goals?
Juliana Marques Kakimoto. Jurídico de Saias started in 2009, via the initiative of our founder, Josie Jardim. At the time, Josie was working at General Electric (GE) and began engaging in diversity-related initiatives at the company. That was when she decided to assemble a group of women in leadership positions within corporate legal departments, with the goal of discussing gender issues in the legal sector, which led to the creation of Jurídico de Saias.
Our main goal is to provide a collaborative network and an environment which offers conditions for more women to take on leadership positions within legal departments or develop themselves professionally. We believe sorority has the power to positively transform our society. We use our power so that women may be increasingly heard, represented and fight for equal rights.
Could you tell us about Jurídico de Saias’ main initiatives? What has been the practical impact of these projects?
Over the last 12 years, we have overseen several great projects. Highlights would be (i) the ‘Godmothers’ project, in which our senior “Skirts” coach and help unemployed “Skirts” to re-enter the labor market; (ii) several lectures and workshops, on varied topics and with highly qualified professionals, exclusive to the “Skirts”; (iii) and our most recent partnership with Fundação Zumbi dos Palmares for the mentorship of black female law students. Additionally, we also have an internal recruiter and a legal English teacher which create monthly videos with tips for the group. However, these are but a few examples. The truth is that our group is an endless source of initiatives and revindications.
All of these projects have a direct impact in improving the qualifications and knowledge of our members.
How can legal professionals participate and benefit from these initiatives?
Any female attorney working at a company, association or non-profit organization can join our group. To do so, all she needs to do is register on our app, https://juridicodesaias.glideapp.io/ and await approval. Once approved, that individual becomes a part of Jurídico de Saias.
Which measures are needed to reduce gender inequality and increase women’s participation in the legal market?
Gender inequality is a structural problem in our society and must be equally challenged by both men and women. Countless initiatives can take place in this respect! From fathers and husbands which effectively do their part, encouraging and supporting their wives in their careers; bosses and leaders which provide equal opportunities for their employees; to politicians which enact laws and govern with both genders in mind. For example, extending paternity leave would be a powerful development in the fight against gender inequality.
The main obstacles are rooted within the unconscious bias of both genders, in the way in which we were educated, how we pass on these concepts to our children and the lack of initiative from many companies and politicians.
What initiatives can we expect from Jurídico de Saias over the next 12 months?
We are constantly innovating and preparing new initiatives for our “Skirts”. New members can expect a great deal of support, quality networking, lectures and workshops about the main issues in Law, extending professional qualifications, as well as many social impact initiatives and debates. The Zumbi dos Palmares mentorship project will also be expanded as, certainly, we still have much to do to support black professionals, which face even more difficulties, in comparison to white female attorneys.