A MASSIVE 65 per cent of Lawyers Weekly online readers would prefer to work with men than women, according to the results of an online poll.
Out of 250 votes to the poll asking readers whether they prefer working with men or women, 161 chose men over women, leaving only 89 choosing the fairer gender.
These results have inspired Lawyers Weekly to cover the somewhat forgotten issue of women in law next month. An April issue of the magazine will include an investigative report into the issues faced by women in law, how far equality should still be on the agenda for law firms and Australia’s top companies, as well as profiles of some leading women lawyers, who will speak on this still relevant and important issue. As well, Lawyers Weekly will examine this evidence that many prefer working with men than women — examining if this is really the case and, if so, why.
While the glass ceiling is now regarded as a thing of the past for many in the business world, some still claim that while cracks may have appeared, the barriers are still very much in place for those women trying to make it in business.
This was a big issue for the legal profession in 2004, when most firms began to address how internal structures could be improved to help promote gender equity. At the time, Justice Marilyn Warren claimed that women are different to men, but that this was a good thing for the profession:
“Women provide perspective. They search out the resolutions … Women have finely honed organisational skills …Women are adaptive and flexible … Women bring to the law a strong sense of method. This is borne out in the judgment writing of women in the superior courts. They approach judgment in a chronological manner with a strong sense of method and stepped analysis.”
Further insight was provided by Justice Michael Kirby. In a speech to Victorian Women Lawyers’ Association, published in the Australian Feminist Law Journal in 2002, he said: “Women are not just men who wear skirts. They have a different life experience. They sometimes have a different way of looking at problems. Occasionally, they demonstrate less combative tendencies — to ‘kick heads’ and to ‘thump tables’ — and more skills in conciliation and the rational resolution of disputes.”