According to a study published on PayScale, the legal industry has one of the highest wage gaps not influenced by education or experience, as high as 38.6 percent. While this gap is outrageous at first glance and may appear to never close, there are some noticeable caveats to that statistic. First, while there are more women working in legal professions than men (at 68 percent), men dominate the higher-paying and higher-ranking legal jobs. This statistic also includes legal support workers, paralegals, and secretaries, which slightly skew the statistics because these lower-status jobs are more likely to be filled by women.
According to the NAWL 2017 Annual Report Survey, “for over a decade, approximately 50 percent of law students nationwide have been women, law firms have recruited women entry-level associates in proportion to their representation among law school graduates.” However, as in many male-dominated industries, we do not see the same proportion of women represented as equity partners in those same law firms.
Calendars have flipped to April, which means that in addition to longer days and rising temps, we’re closing the chapter on Women’s History Month. However, we’re here to remind you that gender equality is not about a single day, or a single month—this year’s theme for International Women’s Day makes it clear that the Press for Progress is an ongoing call to drive change in ourselves, in our workplaces, and in our communities. The “hype” may have passed, but the need has not.
International Women’s Day is a global day to celebrate the achievements of women and to continue making the call for gender parity.
Let’s break that down.
What are the signs that your organization might benefit from an organized women’s group? It might be a formalized employee resource group (sometimes called “ERGs”) or a more informal “affinity” group, but the needs typically fall into a few categories.
This story highlights so many of the challenges (and disappointments) that come up time and time again in our workshops—a lack of awareness of what is offensive, inappropriate, and even illegal. I am so impressed by this woman and her ability to call out her boss, with whom she had a great relationship, to point out the fact that she was being treated differently based on her gender. Bringing this awareness to the forefront of someone’s mind is a huge step in the right direction toward equality. I also know that the practice of demanding to be respected and treated equally is just that—a practice. One we can and should all continue to work on, push for, and remember each and every day.