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Empowering Girls and Women

This bold initiative focuses on empowering, advancing and protecting the rights of women and girls around the globe.

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The Power of Generosity – Panel Discussion at Hogan LovellsEurope

"How can women help each other reach the top?" This topical question was the subject of the discussion held in our Frankfurt office on 3 November as part of the "Women of Achievement" series, hosted by Angela Hornberg, founder of Advance Human Capital.

The panel comprised Ana-Christina Grohnert, managing partner and member of the management board of Ernst & Young; she is responsible for HR strategy and organisational development and has been chairwoman of the management board of the Diversity Charter since 2012, as well as Galina Hesse, head of strategy and alliances at the liquid drugs segment of the Sanofi group, and Heike van de Kerkhof, head of the European titanium technologies business at The Chemours Company, a spin-off of DuPont.

The panel members in the photo from left to right: Heike van de Kerkhof, Galina Hesse, Angela Hornberg, Ana-Christina Grohnert 

In the course of their own careers, all three panel members have championed the concerns of other women and plan to continue doing so. Although they are motivated by different factors, they are united in their belief that women can only progress if they themselves champion this cause and actively promote other women. Numerous studies show that mixed teams with a significant proportion of women are more successful. Politicians have already got the ball rolling with the introduction of statutory quotas, but efforts need to be redoubled in order to achieve real change. Like any other corporate objective, an increase in the proportion of women in management positions can only be implemented if it is linked to corresponding measures and is quantifiable. It is important for all women to show a heightened awareness right from the beginning of their working lives. It is strategically clever for women to position themselves in order to help each other. Things will only change if women in particular champion this cause and actively promote other women.

Around 50 participants from different industries took the opportunity to contribute to the discussion and to talk further with each other at the get-together afterwards.

The "Women of Achievement" series of events is part of Hogan Lovells' "Women@HL" programme, under which the firm specifically supports and promotes female lawyers on their way to becoming partners. Dr Katlen Blöcker, Sponsoring Partner Diversity Germany, invites women to a network event held once a year at HL's Frankfurt office, during which well-known guest speakers from politics, business and society ensure an interesting thematic framework.

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Supporting Sarah's HopeAmericas

In 2014 our Baltimore office selected Sarah's Hope, a 24-hour emergency shelter in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of Baltimore City, as our local Touch charity and has since devised a series of activities and fundraisers to support the charity's homeless women and children.

Sandtown-Winchester, located in West Baltimore, has long been plagued by severe unemployment and poverty. According to a recent article in the Baltimore Sun, the area accounts for some of the city's grimmest statistics: "The 72-block neighborhood is part of a section of West Baltimore in which about half the children live below the poverty line, nearly a quarter of adults are out of work, and the homicide rate is more than double the citywide average." The 2015 events surrounding the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray have resulted in increased awareness of the issues besetting this neighborhood, and we are prouder than ever to continue our efforts in support of the community.

One of Baltimore's fundraisers for Sarah's Hope - the Summer Celebration Cookout Lunch and Jeans Day - asked employees to donate US$5 to enjoy hamburgers and hot dogs with all the traditional sides and fixings and casual dress for the day. Attendees were also asked to consider an additional donation to help purchase camp supplies such as sunscreen, children's swim shoes, beach towels, and snacks, or to donate these items in kind. After providing a portion of the proceeds to our global Touch charity, the remaining funds supported Sarah's Hope in the purchase of camp supplies for an eight-week summer camp for homeless children ages 5 to 12, many of whom live at the shelter.

Earlier in the year, the office hosted a pancake breakfast, through which 37 lawyers and staff members donated towards the purchase of all five Pack 'n Play portable cribs listed on Hope House's amazon.com wish list. Given the widespread response, the office exceeded its fundraising goal and, with the glut of funds, purchased other high-need items on the charity's list, including items ranging from hygiene and fitness products for the women to games and furniture for the kids.

The office also hosted a School Lunch event, featuring disposable lunch trays and a throwback meal comparable to our old school lunches, in which donations were collected to purchase school supplies for the shelter's children.

In addition to providing financial contributions with the firm's match during 2014, our volunteers donated 25 Halloween costumes to ensure the children could take part in fun festivities and provided 30 bags of blankets, sheets, and toys, as well as Target gift cards, to support the families before the Christmas holiday.

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Pro Bono Work with Liberty AsiaAsia and Middle East

Liberty Asia is a Hong Kong charity working to provide a more effective, coordinated response to slavery, in particular by involving the corporate sector in NGO-sector work to facilitate this response. Liberty Asia's goal is to provide new solutions to change the way slavery is addressed, with a particular focus on the Mekong region. Since May 2014, our Hong Kong office has been a member of the Pro Bono Panel of Liberty Asia. We have been working on projects involving numerous members of the Hong Kong office, from paralegal to partner level.

An important part of the fight against human trafficking is obtaining criminal sanctions against the traffickers themselves. Civil remedies provide an alternative and/or supplement to criminal proceedings and are attractive as a means of holding perpetrators accountable and providing victims with compensation for harm they have endured and losses incurred. The use of civil remedies remains largely underutilized. To help frontline staff working with victims of trafficking to identify possible means of redress, we assisted Liberty Asia in preparing a comprehensive report on the various civil remedies that may be available to victims of human trafficking in Hong Kong.

The work was very well received by Liberty Asia and has been used in its training sessions for solicitors and duty lawyers in Hong Kong. It has also been published on the Liberty Asia website and on LexisNexis. We hope that it will continue to be used in the daily work of duty lawyers, charities, NGOs, and other law firms and practitioners in Hong Kong to assist with the identification of civil remedies in the drive to help the victims of these crimes.

Obtaining compensation either from the perpetrator or through a compensation scheme is fundamentally important in enabling and helping victims of human trafficking to rebuild their lives and prevent them from being re-trafficked or exploited. However, the Criminal and Law Enforcement Injuries Compensation scheme in Hong Kong does not currently provide a realistic or viable framework to enable victims of human trafficking to claim compensation, and it suffers from several fundamental shortcomings that make it unfit for purpose for these types of claims.

Hogan Lovells has been working with Liberty Asia to examine the existing structure and the difficulties it presents and to prepare comparative views with other systems and key recommendations for reform, including making the case for a separate fund for victims of human trafficking in Hong Kong. The research and materials will be used by Liberty Asia in its lobbying work and to support calls for reform in this important area with the ultimate objective of opening up monetary compensation to victims of trafficking.

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Booklet Advises Girls Who Wish to Play Sport on Their RightsUK and Africa

In consultation with a number of human rights NGOs, a team in our London office worked on a booklet titled "Your Right to Play Sport," advising girls and young women on the rights and protections available under the South African constitution for girls and women who wish to play sport. The booklet will be used by Coaching for Hope to train around 60 coaches, and will reach 6,000 girls living in South Africa.

Young women who play sports are often the targets of misogynistic and homophobic abuse and violence in South Africa. This can result in practices such as "corrective rape," an issue that received heightened press attention following the rape and murder of the national South African footballer, Eudy Simelane, in 2008.

Coaching for Hope is a nongovernmental organization that uses football as a tool to deliver vital education on issues such as HIV prevention and human rights for young women in Africa. It provides training to local youth football coaches who deliver the program in areas where young people are most at risk.

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