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Women, Law, And Equality Essay

1935 words - 8 pages

In the past 3 decades, women made great advancements in the workforce. First, they have become an integral part of the labour market; they have access to higher education and consequently to traditionally male dominated professions such as medicine, law and business. While statistics show that women are equal to men in terms of their numbers in the law profession, it is not clear however, whether they have achieved equality in all other areas of their employment. In this paper, I will examine women’s experiences in the law profession; whether women are earning equal salary compared to the male lawyers, do they still face barriers that are gender related and whether they have broken the glass ceiling in a profession that is supposed to be an example for practising equality and justice.

The experience of women lawyers.

Despite improvements to women’s role in the labour market, women are still facing obstacles that are gender related. Women continue to bear the main responsibility for domestic duties and child care and further more, policies have not enabled women to fully succeed.

While women were able to gain access to this highly male dominated profession, and in some cases they outnumber their male counterparts, researchers agree that women are still facing discriminatory barriers. While discrimination is more subtle nowadays compared to the blatant and stupid style of the recent past (Adcock, 2006) women are still experiencing discrimination which is preventing them from receiving equal pay, thus hindering their progress and altering their career paths. They still face an array of barriers to achieving equality in their careers, including the allocation of work, opportunities for advancement, income differentials, lack of accommodation for family responsibilities and sexual harassment (L. karakauer; Charles P. Chen, p. 66).

Women have demonstrated that they possess the academic capability to go through law school. For example Clara Brett Martin, the first woman to become a lawyer , had essentially paved the way for the following generations to be accepted into the law profession, however, many of the barriers that she had to face are still in existence, starting with the male attitudes towards women lawyers to hiring discriminatory practices in firms and general cultural attitudes towards the role of women lawyer.

Historically women have had to fight to get equal access to the profession and to the practice of law however, as late as the 1970 women were refused partnerships within firm even after they have demonstrated that they are capable of doing the job. For example, Judge Carolyn king who had practiced corporate law for 10 years at one of the highly established firm, and according to her account had a great experience and her career path proceeded exactly like the career paths of men, was refused partnership simply because she was a woman. She was told later that the possibility of her getting pregnant and taking...

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