Deeksha Rathi

Associate from our Tax group tells us about what Break the Bias means to her and the challenges faced by women

What does Break the Bias mean to you? Are there, for example, any specific forms of bias that you have worked/are working to break or in respect of which you think further work needs to be done to break them?

To me, it means breaking apparent but not called out systems, behaviours, patterns etc. that hinder the experience of women in the workplace and beyond, and eventually adversely impact their growth as professionals and people.

One bias I hate and I really hope I can break is that women (especially junior women in the team) are afraid to speak up.

How can allies help to break the bias (or any specific form of bias)?

By consciously identifying such systems, behaviours, patterns etc., and thinking how they can support women in breaking those. I also think, mentoring, especially from senior male professionals in the industry can go a long way in helping with that.

Who inspires you?

My mother – her honesty, ability to work hard, and diligence is exceptional.

And also my husband – his calmness and maturity in the most difficult personal and professional situations and his passion for his work is something I wish to emulate.

What have you done since the start of the pandemic to help drive diversity and inclusion – either in a professional or personal way?

As co-chair of the firm’s diversity and inclusion network, DIVERSE, I have been part of number of D&I initiatives in the firm.

I also regularly speak to students from across the country (and from India), especially ethnic minority candidates, who are interested in City law.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing women?

Lack of good mentors, and more importantly champions, who can spot talent and potential at the right time and support the career progression of younger women.

I also think women themselves need to do more to support other women in their lives – at home and in the workplace.

What one piece of advice would you give a woman entering the legal sector?

Be seen, be heard, be like a sponge when it comes to learning, and constantly look out for opportunities for growth.

Who was/is your mentor – and why?

Paul Asare-Archer, Compliance Officer for Virgin Media O2. I was paired up with him through the INvolve mentoring programme but we have stayed in touch even after the end of our official mentoring relationship. He keeps me on my toes when it comes to thinking about my career growth.

Who would you say is a role model, either in the firm or outside it?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg – how she balanced a fantastic career and a great family life despite all odds is exceptional.