Legal Workplace: Women Overcoming Obstacles Essay

1653 words - 7 pages

The legal workplace is a high demand job that requires a lot of sacrifices to achieve success. Attorneys at law work over the standard forty hours per week, and have to sacrifices many parts of their social life for their jobs. Women in law find work even more stressful and difficult to balance with home life because attorneys have high demand jobs. Women attorneys have to find a balance between the demands of practicing law and the demands of their traditional gender roles on the homestead. The legal workplace is unfortunately victim to discrimination, whether discrimination is quid pro quo, hostile work environment, or wrongful termination. However, the legal workplace is changing and adapting to a more gender-neutral workplace environment. Discrimination is taken more seriously, especially since women are in a protected class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Young women, adolescents and children, are being encouraged from a young age to strive for success in the same frame of mind as men. In other words, young women are not being as encouraged to be housewives. Independence is strongly encouraged. Finally, legal workplaces are redesigning their organizations to better accommodate for female specific needs, such as maternity leave. The legal workplace is evolving into an equal playing field between genders by raising awareness about discrimination, encouraging young women, and implementing policies that support female specific needs.
Women in the legal workplace suffered discrimination for many years because of the preconception that law is men’s work. In recent years, discrimination has received more attention. Discrimination in the workplace is now a hot topic in employment law and policy making. Employers are being educated in discrimination laws and firm policies are being implement to try and decrease occurrences. Ninety-six percent of top 50 fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender discrimination in their non-discrimination policies. New organizational policies have been created to protect women in various situations from discrimination. Unless gender is a bona fide occupational qualification, an employer cannot discriminate based on gender when hiring applicants and/or at work. Similarly, women cannot be terminated for becoming pregnant. Eighty-five percent of female employees will be pregnant at some point in with working lives, but under the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act women now do not need to fear becoming pregnant. However, discrimination occurs most often in more covert forms. For example, many men will be promoted because of the gender stereotype that assumes men are natural leaders. Employers are trying to remedy even the covert issues and imbalances between genders because the increased benefits to the entire organization. Now, organizations as a whole are being educated on the firm policies, including women in the social environment, use unbiased assessment and...

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