A fifth of female lawyers choose kids over careers

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  • My research with over 2000 working mothers shows that preparation during pregnancy followed by a reinduction program which includes confidence building is a positive step forward. However, a sustainable rate of retention and balanced gender diversity that delivers high performance can only be maintained with a wider perspective; one that challenges both collective and individual unconscious bias of women as carers and men as breadwinners.
    At a recent conference a delegate asked “Why is it that a man can take a 6 month sabbatical with no negative impact to his career, whereas a woman who takes 6 months maternity leave is side-lined because of doubts over her ongoing commitment?”
    On March 4th, Deloitte are hosting a Working Families conference to look at just this, how to engage both working fathers and mothers and deliver a positive return (www.WorkingFamilies.org.uk)

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  • Delete "pressures of motherhood" in the article title and replace with "the inability of male driven partnerships and female partners who just want to protect their own to understand that some female lawyers want to look after their children in person in addition to having them". The women at the top are the ones who probably took the least maternity leave or more likely the ones who started motherhood after 35. And anyway which new mother wants to work for a woman who who never sees her own kids and thus judges your child care arrangements by hers? The men at the top are the ones who probably throw so much money at their wives for nannies that they don't understand what motherhood actually entails. Working for most city law firms is a lose lose situation for any real woman wanting to be a real mother.

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  • @Anonymous 7.43: are you saying that if you go to work you are not a 'real' mother? Dangerous territory

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  • Exasperated @ 10.15 should re read Anonymous @ 7.43

    As a male observer the picture painted by 7.43 whilst a little "over painted" has sufficient accuracy to be a real and valid point of view which firms wishing to increase retention of female lawyers would do well to consider.

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  • Why are these articles always about partners? The juggling act of motherhood and work applies to female lawyers of all ages and stages in their careers, from trainees to partners. In many respects I believe it is more achievable for a female partner to balance motherhood with her career than it is for a trainee or NQ, for example.

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  • To exasperated: of course not and your interpretation is rather a defensive one. Working mums should be proud of themselves. It seems to me that working in city law firms however require you to compromise your obs as a mother more than other professions. Most doctors, teachers, architects, researchers, marketing and fashion professionals I have spoken to don't go through half of the problems working female lawyers go through when they are mums at work- no "pressure" for attending client drinks, most take 6 months plus mat leave, their flexible hours are strictly adhered to and so picking up a child from nursery or relieving a child carer never is a problem. From my experience of law- all the working mothers in law i knew worked way more than the 4 day weeks they came back to after maternity leave, almost always had to make arrangements for someone else to get a child from a carer because a partner said he needed something for the next day and in one case a woman was told to come back to the office when she had in fact left for the day to pick her child up at 7pm. So what I am saying is that I feel sorry for these women who still work despite being treated so badly. In such a situation when mum at a law firm does not have clear work arrangements with her employer and her colleagues the woman will suffer and so therefore will child. When i myself took mat leave a partner told me he was thrilled I was going to come back as he had never had me down to withstand the boredom of being a stay at home mum. Now I am a mum I realise that lawyers really think maternity leave is a sojourn and realise its far from that. Luckily I had the support enough from my husband when I decided 5 months in to leave that going back to a law firm would never fit in with the type of mother I wanted to be. What frustrates me is seeing other women who are far more talented than I was, being back at law firms after mat leave and not being allowed to be the type of mothers they want to be (which they can be whilst also being excellent lawyers). The boundaries are blurred and its as if mums in law have to just be grateful for the salary and put up with the rest. The male driven partnership structures also are very much akin to dividing and ruling women in law. And please dont tell me that you know many working mum lawyers who have it great- one who told me her firm was excellent had herself only taken 4 months mat leave!!- whilst everyone has a choice- these kind of women do not make it fair for women who want to have babies and be with them for their formative months.

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  • At 3.00 i am the anonymous commenter at 7.43 - its excellent you admit that and I hope though that women follow their biological clock or personal circumstances when conceiving not just career. Its physically much easier to have a baby between 25 to 30 - having said that a partner is going to have a higher income to afford the requisite child care. Whatever the age though women should not be punished just because they had a baby when they were 2/3pqe- these women have their reasons and the employer must treat them equally.

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