Posts Tagged 'gender issues'

On the need for Law Women Society

I’m sitting in the Commons at school listening to the trite argument that the legal profession isn’t biased toward males because half of our law school is women. Just because women go to law school doesn’t mean that the curriculum, teaching methods, and legal profession in general aren’t biased towards male perspective. They are, simply because that’s the way it’s always been. Everyone has an agenda to push, and for a long time, the male perspective and agenda were the only ones being represented.

Law Women isn’t just a way for women to segregate themselves from their male counterparts. It should be a forum to discuss issues that are uniquely female, such as how having children will affect your profession. However, I think that it should be open to men to a certain degree, because they need to understand their female colleagues’ points of view. Really, we all need to try to understand each other and get along so that we can have a healthy, inclusive legal profession, so that goes both ways. But also, it’s important to understand that a woman’s having a family affects her in a different way than it does a man because women actually have to give birth. We have to carry the child and take care of the child after he/she is born. Women make more of a physical commitment in having a family than men do. How many men have to go on bedrest because their wife/significant other is pregnant? How many of them go through labor and birth? Everyone has to make sacrifices when it comes to family, but men generally don’t have to worry about losing their job if they get someone pregnant. Women and men are different, and I absolutely think that some attention should be paid to how women function in the legal profession as a result of these inherent differences.

I think that attention should be paid to how men function in the legal profession, too, but hasn’t that been going on for the last several centuries? Women haven’t been in the field as long as men have, and as a result, everyone is having to learn how to adapt to new, unforeseen problems. Men have been able to share common experiences with other male lawyers because there were only male lawyers for a period of time. Women are still in the minority within the legal profession as a whole. Just because your 1L section is 50% men and 50% women doesn’t mean that the profession is like that, or that the points of view don’t favor one gender over another. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a group that encourages female law students to t discuss important personal issues in preparation for entering the legal profession. Would anyone object to a Male Nurse Society? Or a Male Elementary School Teacher Group? If not, why is it so inappropriate to have a Law Women Society?

There’s a difference between a club geared toward a specific group of people and a club geared toward a specific group that emphasizes superiority over another group. That’s the distinction that should be made here, not the straw man that every club like Law Women Society is sexist and wrong.

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