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Lawyers Club of San Diego is a specialty bar association committed to advancing the status of women in the law and society. We use 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 authors and not of Lawyers Club. All members are encouraged to participate respectfully in discussions regarding the topics posted on the blog. Guest writers are welcome. Guidelines for writers may be found on the Leadership Resources page.

 

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No advancement in anti-discrimination, as recognized by Professor Hill, and as demonstrated by Google

Posted By Kristen Marquis Fritz, Tuesday, August 15, 2017

No advancement in anti-discrimination, as recognized by Professor Hill, and as demonstrated by Google

 

At the 2017 Lawyers Club Annual Dinner, keynote speaker Anita Hill shared her experiences with both race and gender discrimination with a record audience.  Professor Hill acknowledged that while it is certainly more of a public issue now than it was in the 90s, solutions to the problem of discrimination have advanced little since that time. 

 

The truth of her statement was grandly demonstrated by an internal Google memo that was leaked to the media last week. The ten-page memo, penned by a male Google software engineer, is the epitome of an anti-diversity statement. The memo came to light at the same time as Google is battling a wage discrimination investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor. Thus far, that investigation has uncovered that Google routinely pays women less than men in comparable roles. The author argues that women are underrepresented in tech because of inherent psychological differences of their gender, not because they face bias and discrimination. 

 

The following is the memo author’s statement of his position: “I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.” The author then goes on to provide a bulleted list of “personality differences” of women which cause the disparity, which is simply too ridiculous and nonsensical to quote here. 

 

The release of this memo prompted Professor Hill to write an Op-Ed for the New York Times, wherein she discussed the male-dominated leadership of Silicon Valley, and reflected upon how deeply and passionately anti-equality attitudes are held. With words echoing the Lawyers Club mission statement, she said, “It’s time women in tech consider taking advantage of the law to disrupt the industry once and for all.” 

 

What do you think?

 

Kristen Marquis Fritz is an attorney with Smaha Law Group and is also the owner of Professional Fiduciaries of San Diego, Inc.

Tags:  Anita Hill  Google memo  LCB  mission  New York Times 

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Guest Blog Post: "The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same..."

Posted By George Brewster, Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same . . .


I was on the Lawyers Club Board when, on September 9, 1991, we approved a statement written by then President Rebecca Prater that opposed the appointment of Judge Clarence Thomas to Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Testimony regarding his appointment was scheduled to begin the next day and Anita Hill testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee a month later.


I remember Hill’s testimony, and I remember the outrage, and I remember that the next year was the “Year of the Woman.” And here we are in 2017, with greater outrage. Any complacency that existed with respect to Lawyers Club’s mission to advance women in the law and in society has been trumped by renewed energy and angry motivation.


But thinking back to 1991, what I don’t remember was the Board debate about why, pre-Hill, we voted to oppose Thomas. The Board minutes reflect that we met for an hour and a half and discussed multiple topics. By counting lines devoted to any one topic in the minutes, we apparently spent the most time on the upcoming Wine and Cheese Reception (18 lines) and the least amount of time on my Treasurer’s Report (3 lines). The Thomas statement took up 4 lines.


The October Lawyers Club News was put together before the Hill testimony, so that issue does not reflect the ensuing firestorm. Prater’s statement, passed by the Board, was included. The basis for our opposition pre-Hill was several fold: (1) He did not support the right to choose, (2) He opposed affirmative action programs that benefited women and minorities, and (3) His performance as Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reflected an arrogant lack of respect for established laws, policies, and legal doctrines. 


Those significant concerns later took a back seat to the explosive testimony of Anita Hill who described Thomas’ sexually explicit comments to her while she worked with him at the EEOC. The television reports of that testimony cannot be shaken. Recent events have only brought that anger back to life, and then some.


George W. Brewster, Jr., is a Chief Deputy County Counsel for San Diego County, he has served as a Lawyers Club Board Member for more years than any other male, and he wrote this for the History and Archives Committee.


Editor’s Note: Archived Lawyers Club News issues are available, click here to view. 

Tags:  Anita Hill  Clarence Thomas  History and Archives Committee  LCB  Rebecca Prater  sexual harassment  United States Supreme Court  US Supreme Court 

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