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What the Only Rose among the Thorns Has To Do

September 28,2010 by: admin

President Obama picked Elena Kagan to be part of the US Supreme Court. Talking about history this is just the fourth rare chance of having a woman to serve the US Supreme Court thus for women in the law, a pride was just given.

It is not new that the world of Law is composed mainly of male beings. Women are rare but not extinct. And in a world where a certain group comes in minority, issues of discrimination arise.

Being the only rose among the thorns must really be an uneasy task considering the facts of gender differences. One major issue faced by women in a male-dominated law firms are the leering comments of their male colleagues. Thus enter sexual harassment issues.

According to Judge Maryanne Barry in a 1992 conference about women in Law offices/firms, women’s “sensitivity and excessive confrontational attitude” can actually account to the un-ideal relation between sexes in a work place. According to Barry hypersensitivity of women tends to make big deal out of small things which again hinders a peaceful working environment. Judge Barry, as a member of a female group in Law enforcement said that she knew exactly the disconcerting feeling of wearing the only skirt in the land of male trousers. So how then should women respond with unwanted, unsolicited and most of the time rude, offending comments of their male co-workers?

Barry said, “instead of throwing down the gauntlet at every opportunity may I recommend the use of humor and gentle sarcasm.” A strategic use of female sexuality to be the intelligent approach to deal with males’ edgy comments in the work place is what Barry further suggested.

Another issue concerning women in the legal career was discussed in the ABA’s Women in Law Leadership Academy program in Philadelphia. This concern revolves around the “style” of female lawyers. According to US District judge Barbara Lynn of Texas, women before wore bow ties in court rooms but now style and fashion which women are mostly concerned with are brought even to court rooms. Lynn stressed that being noticeable because of one’s argument is the goal and not because of a stunning hairdo or jewelry.

What women must have loud are not their outfits and accessories, they must be the one being loud. This is another concern discussed in the program since women are said to need to boost their confidence some more in court rooms. According to US District Judge Norma Shapiro of Philadelphia, “women in general lack the confidence that men seem to have…”  Confidence was said to be strengthened by experience but for new lawyers Shapiro went on suggesting faking confidence would not hurt.

In a male dominated world of Law maybe it is indeed a call for women to adjust in a way that would not compromise professionalism. Women on law firms are now an asset not a liability.


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