Announcing a New Series: The Confidence Game

Number one!I’ve been thinking about a lot of loosely-related things lately, which are gradually coalescing into one question:

Why aren’t women getting ahead?

And what can be done about it? (Okay, technically that’s two questions, but bear with me.)

What’s the Problem?

Is the problem that women don’t ask? Or are they asking, but still not being rewarded? Are men just more willing to engage in ridiculous self-aggrandizing behavior to get ahead?

Or maybe this isn’t a “problem” at all, but a series of choices, freely made because of different personal preferences? (Is the personal still political, or is that totally passé?)

In a world where women have made up nearly half of law school classes for a generation, but are still a small minority of law firm partners, judges, law school deans, etc., these are questions worth asking.

And, even if it annoys some people, I’m going to ask them.

So, let’s get started!

I’d love to have guest posts on the topic, so let me know if there’s something you’d like to bring to the discussion.

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Why do you think women in the law aren’t getting ahead? Talk to me!

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Or check out the first post: Why Diversity Matters.

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  1. The most important stat from the Catalyst report is this one:
    “One study found that nearly half as many men lawyers as women lawyers (44% vs. 84%) have a spouse that is employed full-time.”

    If you flipped the study around and asked about which gender spends more time parenting, it would be incredibly skewed toward women. Whether that’s by choice (of both men and women) or by cultural imperative, who knows. But its still dramatically the case, and it means that women face work/life challenges significantly more than men.

    Until men are as involved/invested in family as women are, the work success numbers will continue to heavily favor men. Another way of putting this is that men are more stigmatized than women for taking parenting leave, flex time, etc. This won’t change until men demand that it changes.

    Feminism has been far more successful in changing our ideas about women’s roles than in changing our ideas about men’s roles.

    • Agreed that’s a huge issue. I wonder if that’s changing somewhat with Gen Y? I see more of an emphasis on work-life balance all around, but who knows if that will result in real change.

      One of the things I found most interesting was the comparison of the percentage of 7th-year associates to the percentage of partners/of counsel/etc. It doesn’t seem like hugely disproportionate numbers of women are taking themselves out of contention (given that they’re still around in the 7th year), but something happens after that.

      • I would think that would be around the time that a lot of women (and men) are starting families. That could explain much of it. I’d be interested to see how it compares to other demanding professions.

        As for Gen Y (or the Millennials or whatever we’re calling the kids these days), it’s an interesting question. Here’s a purely unscientific, anecdotal answer: I asked a group of my (college) students yesterday two questions: First, how many of them expected to have kids at some point? Almost all raised their hands. Second, how many expected to share parenting equally with their future spouse? All of the women but only one or two of the men raised their hands.

  2. New slogan needed: You CAN’T have it all. You need to prioritize and then act. Sometimes kids won’t be in the picture. Other times, career won’t be in the picture.


  1. […] just went to get a link and came across this new blog; A Girls Guide To Law School. You have to read this. Diane, in the first comment nails it. Then Alison and Joe add support. (This is not an April fools […]

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