As part of this week's Alt Legal IP news, we're thrilled to collaborate with MothersEsquire, a wonderful organization founded by an Alt Legal customer, Michelle Browning Coughlin of Cahill IP, with stories discussing the motherhood penalty and women in the law! MothersEsquire is working not only for gender equality but also to disrupt the Motherhood Penalty in the legal industry. Visit their site to learn more about the organization and to join their cause (no children required)! You can also follow MothersEsquire on Twitter!
The Motherhood Penalty
- What is the motherhood penalty? In short, it is the effect that having children has on a woman's career. As the name implies, it isn't a positive effect; it's worse pay.
- My collaborator for the week, Michelle Coughlin, recently did a great interview on creating a mom- (and dad-) friendly practice.
- Equal Pay is something that everyone has heard about, whereas the motherhood penalty is a lesser-known concept. It's time for that to change because the motherhood penalty not only affects women who don't have children; it's hurting everyone.
- At least one firm, Davis Polk, is taking steps to embrace mothers in the workplace.
- Mothers and pregnant women are also often denied very basic accommodations like breastfeeding at the workplace and events. If you are hosting or involved with an event, consider reaching out to Michelle to get information on setting up such a space. It’s a small act that can make a tremendous difference!
Women and the Law
- One interesting place to examine gender and the law is the Supreme Court. To start, can you guess how many women have argued before the Supreme Court?
- Statistics reveal that the bench isn't a bastion of gender equality. To date, only four of the 112 justices have been women. For those four women, making their voices heard can be difficult: men just won't stop interrupting. Although women make up 22% of the current bench, they are subject to 52% of the interruptions. In 1990, when Sandra Day O'Connor was the only woman, 35.7% of interruptions were directed at her.
- Are law firms' gender diversity programs keeping women in the industry? No. The diversity varies across practice areas as well. Could eliminating performance reviews help this problem?
- Right now, there are many women continuing to practice and making great strides in the law. Some highlights include the women of the ACLU and the founder of the International Refugee Assistance Project.
Let's Talk Money
- Equal Pay Day was on April 4th but that doesn't mean the discussion on pay equality needs to be contained to one day. To start, the pay gap isn't a myth and it disparately affects mothers and women of color.
- One very eye-opening way to understand the pay gap is by using this extension. You'll see how much of a difference the gap can really make. There is also a chatbot that wants to help women "make a sh*t ton of money."
- In a world first, Iceland is requiring proof of equal pay.