The stereotypes are not just about paying less and getting fewer promotions. According to a recent survey of
2,827 female lawyers, female lawyers, especially women of color, are more likely to be
interrupted than their male counterparts, mistaken for non-lawyers, do more housework in the
office and receive fewer bonuses. work assignment. The study was recently completed by the
American Bar Association’s Committees on Women in the Profession and the Minority
Corporate Bar Association.

Here are some of the sad results of the study on Stereotypes along with suggestions provided by the study’s authors on how to remove bias from your organization. 

The Stereotypes often lead to
Female Lawyers Mistaken for Janitors, Administrators, or Court Personnel
Female attorneys of color were eight times more likely to report being mistaken for a
supervisor, administrative officer, or court employee than white males, with 57% reporting
mistaken identity. More than 50% of white women also experience this type of bias, while
only 7% of white male lawyers are mistaken for non-lawyers. A female lawyer said: “I am
often referred to as a court reporter. In my own company, I was repeatedly asked if I was a
legal administrative assistant, even after becoming a partner. 

The stereotype’s that Female Lawyers Relegated to Do Office Housework

Not only are female lawyers confused with non-lawyers, but female lawyers also find
themselves stuck with more illegal domestic affairs. Office work includes planning meetings, parties, and practical household chores like cleaning up food after a
meeting. And current research shows that female lawyers are much more likely to shoulder
these household chores than their male counterparts.

Why do women do more errands in the office?

Women are expected to be helpful and
therefore tend to feel social pressure to volunteer for these jobs. Organizations are also more
likely to give women these tasks because women are more likely to agree to do them. 
Female Lawyers Penalized For Assertive Behavior Required By The Job
While assertiveness and self-aggrandizement are often necessary to succeed in the legal field,
women often feel like they have to walk a tightrope. If they are too assertive, they will be
criticized for behaving indiscriminately. If they are not assertive enough, they are often seen
as lacking the confidence to succeed. Study participants confirmed their balancing experience
on this rope. “Over the past year, I have been called ‘overconfident’ and ‘not respectful
enough’ by my co-mentor, another Asian American. It was extremely frustrating because I
was finally starting to feel confident, assertive, and outspoken, acting like any white lawyer in
a law firm. I was then excluded from the case,” one study participant described. 
Female Lawyers More Likely To Be Interrupted
Female Supreme Court justices were more likely to be interrupted, with 65.9% of all
interruptions at trial targeting the three female judges on the bench (Ruth Bader Ginsburg,
Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan). The same seems to be true for the attorneys interviewed
in this study, nearly half of the female lawyers surveyed were interrupted in meetings,
compared with only about a third of men.

“White men don’t realize how much ‘space’ belongs

To them or they feel they subconsciously own that space. They frequently interrupt others, but
if a woman on a conference call speaks her mind, she is immediately criticized for
interrupting,” one lawyer described in the study.  

Female Lawyers Penalized For Motherhood

Few men complain that they are not valued at work after becoming fathers, and research
shows that men often receive paternity bonuses in their pay when they have families.
However, the female lawyers in this study often felt they were treated differently in the
workplace after they had children. Here’s how some female lawyers describe it to researchers:
“I was not selected as an associate because I have children. Two male lawyers hired at the
same time as me, who had a similar experience and the same job responsibilities, became
partners, but not me. When I asked why, I was told it was because I gave birth.
Eradicating The Bias at Work
As if it weren’t enough for less pay, cleaning duties, and frequent interruptions, the female
attorneys in this study also reported having fewer networking opportunities and less access to
legal services. main tasks than their male counterparts. And about a quarter of female lawyers
surveyed said they had been victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. While bias seems
to permeate nearly every aspect of these lawyers’ professional lives, the study’s authors offer
a variety of strategies to help eliminate discrimination in the legal profession. The following five
suggestions for eliminating discrimination in the workplace are particularly appealing: 

  1. Use measurement. Follow up to determine if there is a difference in pay, a difference in
    performance ratings, or a difference in the type of tasks assigned to different teams. In
    particular, organizations should consider whether these measures differ by gender, race, or
    parents returning from leave. If your measurements show inequality in a particular
    department, help the department think about why there might be bias in the way it treats
  2. List of recruitment capacity. To eliminate recruitment bias, organizations should write
    down exactly what qualities are required for a particular job. If the criteria are waived for a
    particular candidate, ask for an explanation of why they are exempt and follow up with those
    exempt from the requirements to determine if there is bias.
  3. Identify the right culture. Often, employees think that the right culture is to hire people
    who are like them or who they want to have a beer with after work. The problem is that this
    criterion often leads to hiring trends.
  4. Institute of housework. To reduce women’s burden of household chores in the office, do
    not ask for volunteers for these tasks. Instead, develop a rotation or ask administrative staff to
    help you with these tasks.
  5. Start mentoring programs. Establish a mentoring program to help all employees connect
    with and access advice from more experienced employees.

By Apoorve Raj Singh Baghel Intern At Fastrack Legal Solutions

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