Women In Criminal Justice: Attorneys And Law Enforcement

2512 words - 10 pages

During the late nineteenth-century, women went to court to continue to secure their rights to participate in public life: to vote, to be a justice of the peace, to be a notary public, to serve as school district directors, school committee officers, school officers, and prosecuting attorneys, an of course to practice law (Drachman, 1998).
The criminal justice system is a male dominated occupation. For many years women have tried to break down the barrier and some have succeeded. But unlike men, women have to fight to be respected and to be heard. There has always been a gender bias. Women have decided to work outside the home and “move in” on careers that were specified as male professions. Females unfortunately have to deal with the sexist remarks, jokes, sexual harassment, and any other negativity that comes with being a woman in a man’s workforce. They get ridiculed for being mothers and wives. The research that was found while writing this paper will show some of the struggles of female attorneys, and police officers.
Female attorneys have a great deal of pressure from their male counterparts. As women, not only do they have to balance work and family, they also have to deal with 80 hour work weeks, numerous cases, and mountains of paper work. It becomes a burden when work has to go home. Although some law firms offer a part time schedule, most women refuse to take one. Women feel reducing hours will jeopardize any chance of advancement at the firm. Women are expected to be flexible and able to adjust their priorities. They tend to get less “valuable” cases when they work less hours. In an article written by Vanessa Lloyd Platt, Platt states:
“The first overwhelming burden that faces a young legal mother in the question of when she goes back to work again and whether she will be downgraded according to the time she takes off. In a still predominantly men-orientated world, male lawyers seem to resent the time that women have off for maternity leave, many complaining of what they perceive as holding the fort after a woman’s decision to become pregnant. Many women complain that on their return to the legal profession, they are expected to work at twice the pace to make up for the time off, which puts inordinate pressure on them when they are trying to develop a sensible working pattern and balance.”
Female attorneys feel like their first priority has to be work. Sometimes home responsibilities, children, husbands or boyfriends have to come second in order to further in their career. Working the long hours is to show dedication to their superiors and prove they are serious enough to get the good assignments.
Females are labeled as being too assertive, but as an attorney, one would think that it was good to be assertive. It is much harder for women to get employment at a law firm. Some go on to work for a private practice. Gender bias also affects hiring and promotion. Female lawyers perceive that it is harder...

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