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Gender discrimination sucks!
Yeah, it’s never impacted me directly.
But as a son, I’ve witnessed it.
And as a father, it terrifies me.
My mom worked as an airline stewardess in the ‘60s. At the time, she made a lot less money than men. It took a class action law suit and several long years for her to win equal pay. But when you consider the time, money and emotional costs, hers was a hollow victory.
But the discrimination story doesn’t end with my mom. It continues with my nine-year-old daughter, who wants to be a scientist. Should I sit her down and tell her, “Yeah, be the best scientist you can be but expect less pay because you’re not a boy.”? Even in the sciences, she'll face gender discrimination. As a father, this makes me sick to my stomach.
Despite what I just said, gender issues haven't been on my radar lately. However, three recent stories got me thinking about gender issues in the law.
The first story was this from the ABA Journal:
Interruptions of female justices has increased with their representation on SCOTUS
Three of the most powerful women in America – Justices Sotomayor, Ginsburg and Kagan – are interrupted more often simply because they’re women.
Something’s definitely wrong here!
The second was this article from Above the Law:
Are Older Women ‘Unemployable’?
Read the article’s caption. It’ll make you more than a little queasy:
Trying to change the invisible, unattractive, undesirable and unemployable view that many people have of older women lawyers is fruitless and hopeless.
And finally, LexisNexis recently shared this Twitter post:
How lawyer-moms balance motherhood with practicing law.
This article’s now 2-years-old, and it’s been shared over and over. But with every share, interest remains high because female lawyers need resources. Female lawyers need quality information.
I deal in information.
I don’t set pay scales. I don’t make hiring decisions.
Right now, I can’t affect those things.
But I can offer info.
So the first thing I can do is point female lawyers to great information. It’s my first nudge towards equality. It won’t help my mom, but maybe, this first nudge will create a push.
And then that push will create a tumble.
And then that tumble will cause a crash.
And when it all comes crashing down, I hope my nine-year-old is there to see it.
Above the Law: I’m a big, big fan of ATL and its founder David Lat. ATL has a Women’s Issues section that pulls no punches.
Best Friends at the Bar: This is the site of Susan Smith Blakely, who’s written several books for women lawyers. Her blog is cleanly formatted, which makes reading her content that much more enjoyable. Susan’s definitely a committed blogger; her first blog is dated November 24th, 2010.
Gender and the Law Prof Blog: A brilliant blog from Tracy A. Thomas, Associate Dean at University of Akron School of Law. With titles like these--What Does the Minimum Wage Have to do with Reproductive Rights and Is "Gender" the Same thing as "Sex" Discrimination?--this blog is hard not to read. You can also find relevant, up-to-date info on Professor Thomas’s Twitter feed.
Life School for Lawyers: Created by Lakeshia Ekeigwe, Life School for Lawyers coaches “women lawyers on life + career.” I’ve spoken with Lakeshia on several occasions, and she’s passionate about helping women in the legal profession. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for updates.
MothersEsquire: Their mission: “to provide events, content, support, and networking tailored specifically to our lawyer moms.” If you’re a lawyer and a mom, check out their reading lists for:
Ms.JD: This nonprofit, nonpartisan organization supports female lawyers and female law students. They have a robust blog and a resource library that “includes more than 500 resource abstracts for books, articles, reports, and best practice recommendations on topics ranging from work/life balance and retention issues to stereotyping and gender bias in evaluation and compensation systems.”
National Association of Women Lawyers: Their mission is “to advance women in the legal profession and advocate for the equality of women under the law.” The NAWL’s blog aggregates gender news from across the web, and the Publications section offers access to the Women Lawyers Journal, surveys and special reports
National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations: Representing women’s bar associations and approximately 35,000 lawyers, the NCWBA offers a list of helpful resources for female attorneys. Especially helpful: The NCWBA has an active Twitter feed that shares information supporting women lawyers.
National Women's Law Center: The NWLC champions policies and laws that help women and girls. Their blog, which is colorful and well designed, allows for filtered searches across issues. Posts are also divided by the following topics:
Women’s Rights Employment Law Blog: From the law office of Tuckner, Sipser, Weinstock & Sipser, LLP, this isn’t just a blog; it’s also a podcast and a videocast.
If I’ve missed any great resources, tell me in the comments. I’ll add them to the list.