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Meet the debaters: 60 seconds with Vivienne Artz

Ahead of Thomson Reuters’ next Legal Debate on 19 September, we are publishing a series of quickfire Q&As with each of the four debating panellists. At the event, Vivienne Artz, President of Women in Banking and Finance and Chief Privacy Officer at Thomson Reuters, will be arguing against the debate’s motion “quotas are the solution to gender equality in the workplace”.

Artz tells Legal Insights UK & Ireland about her career journey so far, and her passion for advancing gender equality in the workplace.

How did it all start for you, and when did you first become interested in the law?

I read Philosophy and Theology at university, and realised I needed to do something more practical to move into employment. So, I opted for the law as it seemed to be the sensible choice – a respected profession which would provide a useful starting point for a career in law or elsewhere. It was obviously a great choice, as I am still practising law and loving it!

Tell us about your role as President of Women in Banking and Finance, and why you decided to become involved with the organisation?

I worked in banking for many years, where we were a member of Women in Banking and Finance (WIBF). I was impressed by the vision of WIBF, and the tremendously positive feedback we received from women who attended the WIBF events. Over the years, I helped nominate and support candidates for the annual awards, one of the only awards at the time, and then a colleague proposed me as a nominee – I was truly taken aback! Having been involved in diversity, and specifically the business case for women to progress in financial services, I was so much in the thick of things that I hadn’t appreciated how passionate and involved I had become. Long story short, I was delighted to be awarded the Champion for Women Award in 2016, and decided that there was no better way to pay it forward than to apply to lead WIBF when the opportunity arose the following year. As President of WIBF, I am proud to lead this amazing not for profit organisation which is focussed on ensuring equality of opportunity for women in the financial services sector.

What influences have impacted your career path?

The tough times have made me appreciate the good times, and the great leaders and role models I have had the privilege to work with. You never know how good it is until it isn’t!

What do you think are the main challenges in tackling gender inequality within the workplace? 

There are many challenges including unconscious bias, lack of leadership, inequality of support for families and a focus on talent rather than fairness.

The Legal Debate will take place at 17.30 on 19 September, at The Mermaid, Puddle Dock, London, EC4V 3DB. To register for your free place at the event, click here.

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