Portfolio magazine has an article out about women in the working world. "Sexism in the Workplace" is full of interesting (and discouraging) statistics, such as:
In 1977, just 2.3 percent of the executives in U.S. firms were women. … Now, three decades later, 52 percent of all middle managers are women.
It also has its share of the kind of disjointed logic that such heated issues as gender parity inevitably attract:
[Senator Hillary Clinton] was the "inevitable" Democratic candidate — until she wasn't. Once there was a charismatic male contender, we as a nation had to once again face our true feelings about gender and power. Suddenly the question is whether we are more gender-blind or color-blind.
Really? If I support Obama, it’s because I’m scared of powerful women? So if I back Clinton, I’m a racist? What if I’m neither and I just pick the person with the most appealing combination of ideas, experience and priorities? Could I then not be a sexist racist? Please?
However, the most interesting paragraph for Legal Pad is the one about the legal profession.
Everyone’s worried about drawing women to the law and retaining them (though some Bay Area BigLaw offices could stand to be a little more worried, we hear). Well, while women may have come a long way in the legal profession, Portfolio says they’re goin’ back:
In the legal profession, the American Bar Association says the salaries of female lawyers are slipping in comparison with those of their male colleagues. Again according to the most recent statistics available, female attorneys' weekly wages amounted to 70.5 percent of male lawyers' in 2006, compared with 77.5 percent in 2005.
While the writer doesn't note where male lawyers' salaries are going, that can't be good.
The article also has some interesting suggestions about how women can help their rise up the corporate (or partnership) ladder, to overcome such problems as their tendency to not receive enough honest feedback from male supervisors. Of course, the advice — ask for lots and lots of feedback, but don’t sound emotional or needy — is its own challenge to implement.
We'd love to know what lawyers, and women lawyers in particular,
think of the article and its implications within the legal profession.
See the comment button? We'd like your feedback, lots and lots of it.
Not that we're needy.
— Brian McDonough