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Lawyers of San Diego is a specialty bar association committed to advancing the status of women in the law and society. We will be using this space to share articles written about Lawyers Club events and programs, and items of interest to our members which are relevant to our mission. The opinions outlined in content published on the Lawyers Club of San Diego blog are those of the author and not Lawyers Club. All members are encouraged to respectfully participate in discussions regarding the topics posted on the blog, and guest writers are welcome.

 

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Perfection in the Imperfection: "A Working Mother's Worth"

Posted By Megan O’Neill, Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Working Mother’s Worth

 

Jennifer Aniston released a statement addressing the rampant pregnancy rumors that have haunted her for years. "This past month in particular has illuminated for me how much we define a woman’s value based on her marital and maternal status." While this article focuses on the projection of inadequacy onto women who are not married or have kids, within the professional world I feel a completely different bias. One that women who are married and/or have children are somehow unable to handle the focus or commitment of a demanding career because she is balancing distractions from other areas of her life. A bias towards men (married and single) and single women, that they are somehow sheltered and/or better able to handle the distractions of a home life. So women with families are left to constantly justify and/or define their “value” at home and at work.

 

Perhaps one way to begin to challenge the definition of “value” for women in the workplace is to challenge the long-held standard of time as a measurement of one’s value in a professional career. Someone once told me that it is great that in this day and age I have the choice to enter the workforce and I have the choice to balance family and work. I disagree; I do not really have a choice. We have a choice to go to work, but if we cannot maintain the billable hour requirement, our perceived value suffers. While careers may tolerate our home life, we all continue to be held to the billable hour standard as a measure of our commitment and desirability to promote. I would like to choose to have a career that is challenging and demanding within a firm that allows me to grow and promote all while being flexible to the needs and demands of a family at home. Thankfully, I have found such a work environment but I am aware from conversations with peers just how unusual it is.

 

The film “I Don’t Know How She Does It” starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, navigates the challenges and successes of a professional seeking a partnership role in her firm, while also juggling duties of mother and wife. Sarah’s competition for the position is a single woman who is driven, qualified, hungry and undistracted. I love how the film explores Sarah’s character’s relationships with the PTA moms, with her high profile client, with her co-workers and the partners, and also with her children and her husband. The first time I casually watched the movie my jaw dropped and I felt so validated. While not an award winner, I recommend the movie to everyone!


This blog post was authored by Megan O'Neill

Tags:  balance  billable hours  family  I don't know how she does it  jennifer aniston  perfection in the imperfection  working mom  worklife 

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My So-Called First-World Problems: "Smarter Faster Better"

Posted By Rebecca Zipp, Monday, August 22, 2016
 Smarter Faster Better

Charles Duhigg’s 2012 book, “The Power of Habit,” set the corporate world afire by explaining how personal and institutional habits develop, and how they can change. His new book, Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, highlights a method of problem-solving popularized by Toyota, and described by Duhigg as “the Five Whys.” You identify a problem, and determine on the most surface level why the problem exists. Duhigg’s much-discussed example of a problem he solved, (courtesy of Toyota), was that he and his wife never got home in time to have dinner with their children. 

It turned out that in Duhigg’s case, hectic mornings at home bred hectic evenings. A couple of easy changes to the morning routine and voila, the four Duhiggs routinely sit down to dinner together. Heck, they are probably enjoying free-range chicken carbonara at their upcycled dining room table together right now . . . as they discuss Muffy Duhigg’s upcoming lacrosse tournament and Badger Duhigg’s design ideas for whimsical organic cotton oven mitts, the profits of which will be donated to the Celiac Foundation. 

Not the Zipps. We are washing down leftover Little Caesar’s with red wine and non-organic milk. Then, serving highly-processed desserts–think Teddy Grahams–before bedtime, when we like to impart a misogynistic fairy tale or two. But, I digress.


If you are a working mom (why, oh why, is "working dad" not a thing?) you know that something's gotta give. You are probably pretty committed to being a mom, and to your job, but those other minutiae of life–marriage, friends, fitness, and a house that doesn't attract the attention of CPS–feel more . . . discretionary. And
maybe, just maybe, you judge yourself for not scoring a perfect 10 in every area of life. 

I do. And so I decided to test the Toyota method in my own life, with my so-called first-world problems. Maybe implementing the Toyota method could help me become a perfect 10 mom and perfect 10 homemaker. Here is what happened:

Problem #1:  My five-year-old is crying on the floor.

Why? I told him he must use a pencil, not his foot-long Ninja Turtle pen, to do his homework.

Why? Because I believe that kindergarteners (mine in particular) ought to use pencils, not foot-long Ninja Turtle pens, to do homework.

Why? Because they make frequent mistakes on their homework. 

Why? Kindergarten homework is their first experience with producing a written work product.

Why? Because they are five years old.

Lesson: My five-year-old is crying on the floor precisely because he is a five-year-old!

Problem #2:  My laundry is clean, but is neither folded nor put away.

Why? I do not immediately fold my laundry when the dryer cycle ends.

Why? I become engaged in another activity.

Why? Just as the dryer cycle finishes, my three-year-old asks me to help him make a rattlesnake puppet out of an old sock.

Why? He lacks the motor skills necessary to complete this task by himself.

Why? He is three years old.

Lesson: My laundry is not put away because I have a three-year-old.

The takeaway for me is that I have about fifteen years before I can expect to be faster, smarter, or better. The same expanse of time stands between me and a tidy house. Better luck to the rest of you, as you strive to implement this super helpful method in your personal and professional lives.

This blog post was authored by Rebecca Zipp. 
Rebecca Zipp currently has a sink full of dirty dishes.

Tags:  book review  My So-Called First-World Problems  self-help  self-improvement  working mom 

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Chasing the Last Wave: "Find Our Voices"

Posted By Molly Tami, Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Finding Our Voices

  

Women’s struggle to find their “voice” pervades the three waves of feminism. During the first wave, women fought just to have their voices heard at all in political and social spheres. Second wave feminism found women advocating for their rights and voicing their ambitions to engage in market work, not just family work. In this current wave, women strive, with mixed results, to be the voices of leadership in our professions and workplaces. When it comes to women’s voices being equally heard in the legal profession, I think most would agree that we are not there yet. So why is that and what can we do to change it?   

 

I bet we’ve all listened to women apologize for something they said or did, whether they really meant it or not or whether the situation really warranted an apology. (I know I’ve been guilty of doing that.) In a New York Times opinion piece entitled Why Women Apologize and Should Stop, the author discusses the theories on our “sorrys,” and suggests that women often apologize for things that are clearly not our fault as a prompt for the person who actually should be apologizing. She contends that women give “assertive apologies” that are too indirect and come off as a passive- aggressive. She urges us to stop. 

 

In a Huffington Post blog, Women’s Voices: Are They Fully Heard?, the author suggests four challenges that keep women’s voices from being fully heard in the U.S. corporate world: women’s style of speech sounds less confident; women don’t assert themselves until they feel they really know what they are speaking about; women get “talked over;” and women who speak up are penalized. The author’s goal is to create awareness of these so-called “challenges” (which smack of gender bias) so that women’s voice can be heard loud and clear.

 

And why do successful and ambitious women sometimes fail to assert themselves in high-level meetings? The authors of a Harvard Business Review article entitled Women, Find Your Voice addressed that question in a research study involving 1,100 female executives at or above the vice president level. Their article discusses their findings and provides advice on what women can do to become more effective and more comfortable in meetings such as mastering the “pre-meeting,” preparing to speak spontaneously, maintaining an even keel, and moving past confrontation without taking it personally. 

 

Women lawyers all want their voices to be heard. So here are four practical steps towards that end that I challenge us all to try over the next 21 days (the time it takes to create a new habit): 1) stop apologizing; 2) don’t allow others to interrupt you- keep talking; 3) prepare to speak at meetings and then speak confidently; and 4) don’t become defensive or uncomfortable when others disagree with you. Despite how far we have come, when it comes to women having their voices equally valued in our profession, we are definitely still “chasing the last wave.” Let’s resolve to raise our voices above the waves until we are at last fully heard.     

This blog post was authored by Molly Tami. 
Molly Tami serves as the Assistant Dean for Career & Professional Development at USD School of Law. She previously designed and taught a course on Law, Gender and the Work/Family Conflict and is passionate about advancing women in the legal profession.

Tags:  apologize  bias  career  Chasing the Last Wave  feminism  feminist  gender  legal profession  voice 

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Off the Beaten Partner Track: "Sit at the Table"

Posted By Jillian Fairchild, Monday, August 15, 2016
Sit at the Table

One of the things that Sheryl Sandberg encourages women to do in her book Lean In is to “sit at the table.” She tells a story about high-ranking women that visited the Facebook offices with an international diplomat. The women had just as much right to engage in the discussion as the men, but they continued to sit off to the side even after Ms. Sandberg offered them a seat at the table. She argues that it is important for women to literally and figuratively sit at the table. 

 

Ms. Sandberg notes that part of the reason that women fail to engage and “sit at the table” is a lack of confidence. Compared to men, women generally underestimate their abilities, predict they will do worse on tests and do not consider themselves as ready for promotions. Several studies show that when men are successful, they attribute this success to their ability and intelligence. When women are successful, they attribute it to luck, someone else’s help, or hard work. Generally, men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them. 

 

Confidence can affect promotions and can even be more important than competence in some situations. When asked about this, senior partners at law firms recognize this confidence gap is a problem. Some female associates are extraordinarily competent as attorneys, but do not speak up at client meetings. For this reason, partners have identified this as a reason they are not confident the female associate can handle the client’s account. This confidence gap is hurting women’s ability to get promotions at law firms.

 

This is something that I have struggled with in my practice as well. I have a memory of a client meeting where I sat off to the side with the paralegals and not at the table with the partner. Needless to say, I did not actively participate in that meeting. Should the partner have introduced me to the client as the associate on the file and encouraged me to sit next to him? Yes. But I should have also had enough confidence in my abilities and intelligence to engage in the meeting and sit at the table. Moreover, if I had the courage to sit the table, then the partner would have been more likely to introduce me.

 

During the past couple of years I have found the confidence to speak up. I try to make sure that I contribute verbally to all meetings. I do this not only to share my ideas, which is important. I also try to voice my opinions in order to appear confident in my abilities.

 

Have any of you had experiences where you did not participate at meetings for lack of confidence? Have you found ways to overcome this confidence gap? I would love to hear from you regarding your success stories for overcoming fear of contributing at meetings.

This blog was authored by Jillian Fairchild


Tags:  Confidence Gap  off the beaten partner track  Sheryl Sandberg  Sit at the Table 

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My So-Called First-World Problems: "June 27, 2016"

Posted By Rebecca Zipp, Wednesday, August 10, 2016
 June 27, 2016.

When San Diego’s Coalition for Reproductive Justice (formerly the Coalition for Reproductive Choice), scheduled a June 27, 2016 screening of Trapped many moons ago, we were ignorant of the date’s auspices. Trapped follows the travails of abortion providers and their patients following the enactment of HB 2—the 2013 Texas law requiring that (a) doctors performing abortions must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic; and, (b) each abortion clinic meet standards for ambulatory surgical care centers. Serendipitously, we aired Trapped just hours after the Supreme Court of the United States held that HB 2 unconstitutionally placed an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

A little history: Traditionally, abortion foes prioritized the fetus, whereas advocates of abortion access have prioritized women’s lives and right to self-determination over any competing rights of the fetus.

In the last decade, the right-to-life camp has shifted gears, claiming that they are on the side of women—the more barriers to abortion, the better for women. Abortion, they began to argue, is inherently harmful to the woman physically, emotionally, and mentally. (NB: None of this is borne out by the evidence. Abortion is safer than childbirth. It is safer than a colonoscopy. Safer than liposuction. And, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), abortion does not cause mental health problems for most women.)  

A survey of available data (courtesy of the Guttmacher Institute and the APA) suggests that abortion is not harmful to women. What is harmful is the stigma our society attaches to abortion, and the strategically placed barriers to early abortion access. (Early abortions are safer and less expensive than later ones). What I love most about Whole Woman’s Health is the Court’s refusal to give credence to falsified claims that TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers) laws do anything to help women. Why the refusal? Because the claims are not supported by evidence. We lawyers traffic in facts, and the record in Whole Woman’s Health is chock-full of facts demonstrating that barriers to abortion care are unhelpful and even dangerous.

The Court found the stated justification–keeping women safer–to be seriously lacking, and it found an unconstitutional undue burden. Among other persuasive facts, the Court considered that most abortions are not surgical, but medical (where the woman takes a pill to induce the abortion); thus, repudiating the opposition's assertion that abortions ought to occur at ambulatory surgical care centers.

 

State laws similar to HB 2 have proliferated in the past few years and are expected to face serious scrutiny in the wake of Whole Woman’s Health. As a result, the anti-abortion camp is expected to again revamp its strategy, returning their focus to the rights of the fetus, while reproductive justice advocates will continue to work toward the complete physical, mental, spiritual, political, economic, and social well-being of women and girls.

The atmosphere at CRJ’s screening of Trapped was celebratory yet somber. In the wake of HB 2’s enactment, Texas lost half of its abortion clinics. Rebuilding will take time, and in the three years it took the case to wind its way through the courts, real women and girls bore HB 2’s consequences. 

This blog was authored by Rebecca Zipp. Rebecca Zipp is the proud owner of a Notorious RBG t-shirt.



Tags:  Abortion  My So-Called First-World Problems  reproductive justice  SCOTUS  Supreme Court  Texas  Texas TRAP laws 

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Chasing the Last Wave: "Rising Above the Gap"

Posted By Molly Tami, Monday, August 8, 2016
Rising Above the Gap

Much has been written about the “confidence gap” for women. Many commentators have noted that men often overvalue their strengths while women too frequently undervalue theirs. (Gender stereotyping, of course, which nevertheless seems true.) Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about why women lawyers (and women in general) lack the confidence of their male counterparts. It’s not that difficult to understand how we got here. 

 

Historically, women were made to feel “lesser” or unworthy. When my 92 year-old mother graduated as valedictorian of her high school class, she was told that she achieved that status because the boys “did not apply themselves.” (Sadly, she did not go on to college and realize her dream of becoming a nurse.) When I graduated from the same high school more than 30 years later, the tradition was to include the top five students as speakers in the graduation ceremony. That year the top five graduates were all girls. While I was invited to speak, numbers four and five in the class were replaced with boys lower in class rank. None of us thought to question that at the time. While women have overcome many such barriers throughout the three waves of feminism, we still struggle to confidently aspire to top leadership positions.  

 

A New York Times piece entitled Overcoming the Confidence Gap for Women cited a study on women’s attitudes toward leadership which found that nearly two-thirds of the 3,000 professional and college age women surveyed expressed a desire to become senior leaders. But only 40% were able to envision themselves as leaders. Eighty-six percent of the women surveyed had been taught to be “nice to others” growing up and to do well in school, but less than 50% received leadership lessons. Interestingly, receiving praise from mentors and leaders was the single biggest factor influencing women’s perceptions of themselves in the study, more so than receiving raises or promotions. 

 

I was reminded of this “gap” when I attended a recent event honoring a colleague for her outstanding leadership. She received much praise and adulation at the event. When I emailed her to again congratulate her on this recognition, she replied thanking me but wrote that she “really didn’t deserve it.” But of course she did! And I told her so the next time I saw her. I would like to think that I personally do not suffer from this “confidence gap” but in truth, I probably do. While I strive constantly to be an unapologetically self-assured female role model for my daughter and our students, I occasionally find myself downplaying my own achievements and abilities.   

 

So how do we combat the confidence gap for women in our profession? I urge us all to sing our own praises and those of our women colleagues, gently correct women friends who minimize their achievements, stop apologizing when we disagree or express our opinions, and do whatever else we can to validate women’s successes. When it comes to overcoming women’s confidence gap in the legal profession, we are definitely still “chasing the last wave.” Let’s resolve to rise above the gap and hold our heads high!     

 

This blog was authored by Molly Tami
Molly Tami serves as the Assistant Dean for Career & Professional Development at USD School of Law. She previously designed and taught a course on Law, Gender and the Work/Family Conflict and is passionate about advancing women in the legal profession.              



Tags:  career  Chasing the Last Wave  confidence gap  feminism  feminist  gender  last wave  legal profession 

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Reclaim Your Voice: "Equal Pay For Equal Play"

Posted By Daphne Delvaux, Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Equal Pay For Equal Play

Growing up in Europe, I’m expected to love soccer. It’s part of our culture, on par with bread and cheese, a unifying factor in a divided continent. Sadly, I never cared too much about soccer, or any sport that involves fighting over a ball. Just buy your own ball.  Problem solved.  

 

But then I learned the U.S. National Women’s Team (“USNWT”) is playing offense for equal pay. Ladies, you have my attention! Earlier this year, five members of the USNWT filed an equal pay action against the U.S. Soccer Federation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The complaint alleges that the women earned $2 million for winning the 2015 World Cup, while the men earned $9 million after being eliminated from that same tournament in 2014. The complaint further alleges that both national teams are required to play 20 exhibition games a year; however, a male player who loses all games would make $100,000, while a female player would make $99,000 for winning all “friendlies.” Their concerns are broader than equal pay—other discrepancies include the quality of the stadiums (men always play on grass), and flights to games (women fly coach, men fly business class).

 

We do not know yet how this conflict will end. But to me, they already reached their goal because it’s important for successful women to keep fighting for more. Some say these women may have the most desired jobs in the world. Every day they live their passion. The women have achieved fame and notoriety. Young girls all over the world idolize them. Arguably, they do not desperately “need” more money.

 

“We continue to be told we should be grateful just to have the opportunity to play professional soccer,” two-time Olympic gold medalist Hope Solo said on NBC’s Today show. 

 

This is a reoccurring theme when women fight for equal pay: They are perceived as being “difficult.” I’ve encountered this not only from others, but from myself, “I shouldn’t be difficult . . . because at least I am no longer scavenging vending machines for forgotten change,” and, “I shouldn’t be difficult . . . because maybe I will be perceived as ungrateful.” We need to get over it.

 

The simple truth is that the men’s soccer team is getting more money and better working conditions. The inherently unfair message in pay discrepancy is simple: “Women are inferior to men.” 

 

This is evidenced by U.S. Soccer Federation’s release in response to the complaint: “While we have not seen this complaint and can’t comment on the specifics of it, we are disappointed about this action.” They clearly dropped the ball here. Even though U.S. Soccer did not even bother to read the allegations and has no idea what the basis of the complaint is, they have already concluded that they are disappointed in these women. It’s like giving a red card without observing any foul play. 

 

The EEOC will now conduct an investigation into the claims. As an employment lawyer, I expect the team to pursue their case in U.S. District Court if the EEOC cannot resolve it.

 

When women speak up at the highest levels of professional sports, it creates a ripple effect. We have the ball, let's kick it and win.

Editor's note: The U.S. Women's Soccer Team starts competing in the Rio Olympics this afternoon. As we cheer them on, let's also recommit ourselves to advancing the status of women in the law and society.

This blog was authored by Daphne Delvaux


Tags:  employment law  equal pay  reclaim your voice  soccer 

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Off the Beaten Partner Track: "Building Confidence Through Posture"

Posted By Jillian Fairchild, Monday, August 1, 2016
Building Confidence Through Posture

Taking control of your body language is not just about posing in a powerful way. It’s about the fact that we pose in a powerless way much more often than we think – and we need to change that.

 

               -Amy Cuddy

 

We can all use a power boost from time to time and attorneys are no different. We all know that when we feel more confident, it shows. We have a spring in our step. We stand up a little taller and laugh a little louder. But what if we can create this feeling just by improving our posture?

 

There is research that shows that expansive posture can affect not only how others perceive us, but also how we feel about ourselves. If you haven’t watched the TED Talk by Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy on youtube.com, it is definitely worth checking out

 

I also recently finished Ms. Cuddy’s book “Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges” which expands on this same topic. This book explains how your posture can be used to increase personal power. Nonverbal expressions of power are so hardwired that we instinctively throw our arms up in an open V when we win a race. This is true regardless of cultural background, gender, or whether we have seen anyone else do this. Because we naturally expand our bodies when we feel powerful, do we also naturally feel powerful when we expand our bodies? The answer is yes!

 

Standing in a “Wonder Woman” position or power posing for two minutes can alter our brain chemistry. The altered chemistry causes a hormonal shift that decreases anxiety and improves the ability to deal with stress. This affects the way you do your job and how you interact with other people. This can be especially helpful when you have a big event coming up, such as a job interview or an important deposition/court hearing.

 

The way we bend over to look at our smart phones and our small devices is also affecting our posture and, in turn, our personal power. This is obvious when we think about it, i.e., hunching down to look at a smart phone screen creates an inward stance as opposed to a more powerful expansive stance. This can be overcome by taking a few minutes to set up your work station to elevate your chair just enough so that you won’t be looking downward for extended periods of time. It is also helpful to avoid hunching over small screens for too long. It is important to put the devices away and expand our bodies as often as possible.

 

 

I have been using the power pose and have been trying to improve my own posture. I recently started working at a new firm. The strategy came at a pivotal time in my own life since day to day confidence can be a struggle in a new position. I have found that using a power pose for two minutes in the morning can lessen my anxiety and improve my overall outlook during the day. I am also more cognizant of my posture throughout the day. My brain feels less clouded and I am able to interact with people more effectively. I am now encouraging others to take time out of their day to check their posture and use it to their advantage. I would love to hear from anyone who has tried this to hear how it is going! 

 
This blog post was authored by Jillian Fairchild 

Tags:  Amy Cuddy  confidence  LCB  off the beaten partner track  posture  power pose  Wonder Woman pose 

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Chasing the Last Wave

Posted By Molly Tami, Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The concept of “choice” runs deep throughout the three waves of feminism. During the first wave (late 19th to early 20th centuries), women fought for the legal right to make social, political and economic choices that critically affected their lives. Hard to believe that women in this country could not even vote until 1920!   Second wave feminism (1960’s continuing in the 1990’s) saw women exercising choice to work outside the home and in fields traditionally the province of men. The fight for a woman’s “right to choose” and control her reproductive rights and health also dominated during the second wave. (Women continue to battle today to preserve those hard-earned choices.)     

 

During the period of third wave feminism, (early 90’s to present), the rhetoric of “choice” arose in another context as women (predominantly professional women) struggled to deal with the “work/family conflict.” Women discovered it was not easy to have it all. The resulting “mommy wars” pitted women against each other, as conflict arose between women who chose to be homemakers versus those who chose to pursue careers. You may remember the controversy around Hillary’s statement that “I suppose I could have stayed home, baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided was to fulfill my profession.” This conflict continues to threaten feminist coalitions. (And it glosses over the fact that most women, because of financial realities, lack the choice between working and staying home to raise a family--a larger topic for another day.)        

 

Many have tried to unpack the notion of “choice” when it comes to women making decisions that affect their advancement in the legal profession.  We’ve all heard stories about women “choosing” to leave their firm or stepping off the fast track because of the pull of home/kids or because they feel too stressed out to do it all.   Professor Joan Williams and her colleagues at the Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings recently published an extensive report entitled ’Opt Out’ or Pushed Out? How the Press Covers Work/Family Conflict.”  In that report, the authors analyze the “opt out” story and tell “the untold story of why women leave the workforce.” While the stories in the press pinpoint the pull of family life as the main reason women choose to quit or opt-out, Williams cites a recent study showing that 86% of women cite workplace “pushes” such as inflexible jobs. The report’s overriding conclusion?  Women quit because they encounter “maternal wall bias”- gender bias triggered by motherhood.  Such women are not freely opting out- they are being pushed out by family responsibilities discrimination.

 

Williams’ report highlights that the press invariably focuses on women after they leave the workforce and before they are divorced (in a country with a 50% divorce rate). I recently talked with a lawyer facing divorce after decades of marriage to a successful high-earning professional. She had always remained involved in her profession, but had foregone major career opportunities to support her husband in his career and serve as the primary caregiver for their children. Although she had a job at the time of the divorce proceedings, she asked for partial income equalization (i.e., spousal support) to retain her financial security. Her husband conceded that she supported him in his career and cared for their kids, but he claimed that she made the “choice” not to pursue more lucrative opportunities during their marriage. So in other words, it’s her own fault that she will be less financially secure than he after the divorce because of her “choices.”  I shared in her outrage at that assertion.     

 

So what’s the takeaway here? I say we quit talking about women making the “choice” to get off track or opt-out completely. We need to reject using the “choice” rhetoric to explain or validate (to ourselves and others) the hard decisions we make for the benefit of our families but to the detriment of our careers and economic security. When it comes to having “free choice” around career advancement, we are definitely still “chasing the last wave.” Let’s resolve to catch it rather than drown in it.      

This blog post was authored by Molly Tami



Tags:  career  choice  discrimination  feminism  feminist  gender  last wave  LCB  legal profession  opt-out 

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Perfection in the Imperfection: "Self-Compassion"

Posted By Siobhan Strott, Monday, July 25, 2016
Self-Compassion

I have been feeling it lately. The continuous inner dialogue that, usually a low hum, has reached a deafening scream. You know the feeling. Constantly deciding what gets your attention when a million things are vying for it. Some days/weeks/months, I feel like I’ve got this working mom gig handled. Other times, when every aspect of my life seems to demand my immediate attention, I feel like I’m dropping all of the balls at once.

Before becoming a mother, I poured my energy into my education and later my career. My source of pride was in getting good grades in school and positive reviews at work. Now having a husband and two young children who also deserve the best of me, it’s been a bit of a juggling act to maintain all the areas of my life with that same, limited amount of energy. 

I know you have heard it before: balance. But what does it mean? What do you do when you are preparing for trial, your husband is traveling, and you have a sick child?  It means you do your best with the resources you have. Sometimes work may get neglected and sometimes your family may feel neglected because the truth of it is, you can’t be everything to everyone at the same time.

I have been beating myself up lately. I haven’t made any big mistakes, I just feel like my overall performance has been lacking. I’m either at the office late or taking work home while my kids watch a little too much Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, or I’m leaving early to run to this pediatrician appointment or that school show while I have emails piling up and phone calls not returned.

I recently saw an article in The Atlantic titled, Why Self-Compassion Works Better Than Self-Esteemby Olga Khazan. The author of the article interviews Kristin Neff, a psychology professor at the University of Texas and author of the book, Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind. In the interview, Ms. Neff discusses the pitfalls of focusing on self-esteem, most notably, that to build our own self-esteem, it comes at the cost of putting others down. Instead, she advises, “treating yourself with the same kind of kindness, care, compassion, as you would treat those you care about – your good friends, your loved ones.”

Since reading the article, I have been keeping the notion of self-compassion at the forefront of my inner dialogue. Now that doesn’t mean I give myself a pass for poor work. To me, it means I acknowledge the current situation for exactly what it is and sincerely examine my role, without judgment. 


The thing about life is, it’s messy and imperfect and we are all imperfect humans (as much as we try to deny it). Imperfection has been a difficult lesson for me to internalize and self-compassion is a fairly new concept for me. Going forward, I plan to dig deeper into my definition of self-compassion and I urge you to do the same.  After all, we are all imperfect humans trying to get through this life as best we can. Maybe self-compassion can turn into compassion for each other.

This blog was authored by Siobhan Strott


Tags:  balance  inner strength  insecurity  LCB  perfection in the imperfection  self compassion  self esteem  working mom 

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