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Gender Stereotypes and (Often Unconscious) Biases Challenging Women Attorneys

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Andrea Kramer’s advice for women attorneys is consistently high-value, and her article in the most recent NAWL Women’s Law Journal (downloadable file, see page 10) is no exception.  In this article, Andie first discusses three examples stereotypes hurt women lawyers:

  • First, the stereotype that women should be warm, affectionate, sensitive, and friendly, while men should be aggressive, risk-taking, confident, and tough leads people to believe that careers for men and women should align with these characteristics.  For example, in the last few weeks alone, after using the words “The attorney….,” (no gender indicated) I was met with responses such as “He can call me…” or “…glad you have him involved.” no less than four times.  I was talking about a female attorney, but when I did not indicate gender, people consistently assumed I was talking about a man.
  • Second, the stereotype that mothers should constantly be available for their children leads to the view that a mother cannot be committed to her career, or if she is, she is neglecting her children.
  • Third, the stereotype that successful lawyers “have a relentless commitment to working long hours in the office or on the road, while single-mindedly pursuing career success,” constantly pursue such success, and do not allow for interruption to their careers presents particular challenges for women attorneys with children, family, or other responsibilities.

She then shares a concentrated gold mine of practical, actionable, game-changing tips for women lawyers that we highly recommend you print, read, and save.  It is rare to see such concrete tips with the potential to make a profound difference, but Andie consistently provides career-altering advice.  Fortunately for all of us, she is writing a book to help even more, and we’ll be sure to let you know when it’s ready (join our email list so you don’t miss it).

 

This story was part of our September WLN News 0.1.