In EQUAL in LEGAL’s Trailblazer series we feature Mirjam de Blécourt. Mirjam is an employment lawyer and partner at Baker McKenzie in Amsterdam. Together with her team she advises the boards of multinational companies on labour law issues in the broadest sense of the word.
In addition to her position at Baker McKenzie, she is also a member of the Senate (Eerste Kamer) of the Dutch Parliament and sits on various boards and advisory committees, such as Rutgers, Stichting African Parks Foundation and Female Cancer Foundation. Furthermore, she is happily married and the mother of two sons. They are a very close family and enjoy amongst other things traveling together, especially exploring Africa. For 7 consecutive years, Mirjam is ranked as is one of Netherlands’ Top 200 most influential people, published by De Volkskrant. Furthermore, she is ranked in the top 10 of the most influential women in politics, published by Opzij.
Mirjam: “I recently celebrated my 30th anniversary at Baker McKenzie and as long I can remember I am actively involved in and committed to diversity, inclusion, and equal treatment of women. Gender equality is a basic principle, as well as an essential factor in a successful professional environment. I am proud to have contributed to embedding D&I within Baker McKenzie’s DNA. This means that I can combine my passion for the law with my passion for driving equality and inclusion. And it allows me to exert influence on the topics I’m most passionate about: diversity & inclusion, equality, and justice.”
Equality & Wages
I had the honour to receive the first copy of the Labour Rights Index from the WageIndicator Foundation just recently. This worldwide index is a ground-breaking new open resource that gives important information on labour, wages, equal pays, employment rights and is freely available for everyone. Open access to objective academic information on for example minimum wages, working time limits, and dismissal rights is the first step to a more equitable world. I hope that you will get inspired to learn more about this important initiative.
The importance of role models & mentors
It is important for young professionals to have role models and mentors. I was fortunate to have Christine Lagarde as a role model and mentor. This grew organically as we worked so well together in the same practice group. She advised, empowered, and supported me. And she taught me well to navigate as woman in a global law firm and how to approach balancing work and motherhood.
In 2019, I wrote a book ‘Vrijgevochten’ about my career path, balancing work and family, and achieving success in a male-dominated environment. After being approached by a publisher who asked me to write this book I was at first a bit hesitant. ‘What do I have to tell?’ But they convinced me to tell my story and inspire and help young professionals by sharing my personal career journey and give out some tips and tricks. But I have always been open about the fact that it was not always easy being a wife, mom, and career woman at the same time. I hope that young professionals feel heard and get empowered by my story because I am highly committed to empower women and men within a better framework of inclusion and diversity.
Last but not least I do think that, like probably a lot of other women too, we can be very proud of Kamala Harris who has become America’s first female vice president! She addressed the country in an inspiring speech with an important message about gender equality and is a role model for the future generation.
Kamala Harris ‘But while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities. And to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourselves in a way that others may not, simply because they’ve never seen it before, but know that we will applaud you every step of the way’.