Latham under fire for holding cooking event for female network

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  • Whatever is arranged for people with these views it will never be good enough. God forbid that they would actually enjoy themselves and appreciate the effort others had put into organising such events in the first place. Then again are these the sort of people whose values we hold dear and would wish to network with in the first place. It's what gives us women a bad name in the first place. I''d love to know what they would have rather have done!

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  • Isn't food preparation a gender neutral activity?

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  • If we strip out every possible activity that could cause offence, then the only thing left is 'people sitting in a circle on chairs in a grey room with no props or activity, dressed conservatively with no fashion impetus, appreciating and respecting each other's diversity (silently, in case a poorly verbalised thought causes offence).
    NB: You're not allowed to have fun in the world of diversity - too much potential for trouble. Respectful soulless neutrality only. Oh God, I've implied the existence of a 'soul' and just blasphemed, offending the atheists and religious at the same time.

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  • Agreed James, I know a number of men as well as women who would be interested in this. It wouldn't do anything for me (I am female but don't like to cook) but I don't see what the problem is. Nor does the article actually explain who Lathams is apparently "under fire" from - just one invitee who perhaps has a chip on their shoulder or hasn't moved into the 21st century yet (anyone heard of Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal....)?

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  • The best way to enrich women would be to have more female partners. Oh wait, no, let's just carry on with this mere fluff and teach them how to make canapés.

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  • Interesting that the vast majority of top chefs, as seen on many popular TV programmes, are men, yet cooking is often seen as a female activity. I think the problem is that if it is gender neutral, why does it need to be part of a women's networking event rather than done as part of the firm's mainstream events. Presumably becasue it is assumed that women are more likely to be interested than men.

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  • The Freshfields cake bake raised over £10,000 - why not focus on that rather than some illusory/pathetic/retrograde dig

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  • Guess this has put paid to our follow-up knitting event then.

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  • That's very interesting, luv. Now could you make us a cuppa tea?

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  • One source who received the invite for the event, which takes place on 31 May, said: “I almost fell off my chair laughing when I received an invitation to the ’Women Enriching Business Group’ and it’s master class on ’creative canapé making’.
    Now read:
    One source who received the invite for the event, which takes place on 31 May, said: “I almost fell off my chair laughing when I received an invitation to the ’Women Enriching Business Group’ and it’s master class on ‘car maintenance for beginners’, how bloody patronising, suggesting women can’t mend cars.”
    You just can’t win with these people.
    Well done L&W for trying. As a woman, I appreciate the effort.

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  • Litigateuse (2.09pm),
    Testator, testatrix. Victor, victrix. Litigator, litigatrix?

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  • Well done Latham for trying to have a women's event, not so well done for having made such a clumsy mistake.
    Cooking is of course something that both sexes can do, but as any fool can see, is also traditionally associated with "women's work", so was not an ideal choice for an event centred on women's advancement. This is obvious it is depressing it needs to be pointed out.
    The idea that 'these people' (i.e. women) can never be satisfied is the sort of thing we might reasonably have expected not to hear after the 1980s. And who are the WOMEN pouring scorn? Are you trying to win acceptance from the boys?

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  • Matt Choman, as you seem to assume any female who isn't outraged with this move must be seeking acceptance from the boys are we to presume that you've annoyed your wife/secretary/office fling and in posting with your full name are hoping she'll see this and see your sensitive side?

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  • Thanks Pedant. It's actually my own personal play on words because I am bilingual, I speak both English and French :-)

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  • Pedant | 20-Apr-2012 4:52 pm

    I thought it was victress (like actor/actress), not victrex.

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  • Appalling. I would go to an evening to talk about tax law pllicy (as a senior female lawyer) but not cooking. I would got to one on pensions policies or politics but canapes! It is beyond belief. What do they think we are?

    Leave that to men. Life is too short to stuff a mushroom as Shirley Conran said. . Sexism knows no bounds in some places.

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  • For a publication that purports to champion diversity and inclusion, this is a pretty disappointing article from The Lawyer.

    Much as The Lawyer would have us believe that handbags across the L&W client base are flapping, I suspect the reality is very different.

    Who cares what it is that those involved in a Women's Network event (which, incidentally, very often include men) choose to do? Attendees go along to Women's Network events in order - surprise, surprise - to network among their professional peers. If, in addition, they happen to make canapes, support the same football team or particpate in underwater basket-weaving, so what?

    Networks are hugely important in our professional world and shouldn't be ridiculed. The fact that the Lawyer saw fit to make a story out of this based on gender stereotype simply highlights the need for Women's Networks in the first place.

    Well done L&W - keep up the good work!

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  • To female lawyer - I don't think this event was designed to necessarily teach female lawyers anything per se and it certaintly isn't going to detract from their prospects of being promoted. Perhaps you would have rather seen L&W send its female lawyers on a training and development course then? ..... Although wouldn't that actually be more offensive...?!

    Lighten up a little - whatever is chosen, it is going to offend someone. The fact you raise the matter simply enforces the stereotype so it persists.

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  • A mud-wrestling training & development course would have been more appropriate.

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  • Cooking was the domain of men for centuries and continues to be dominated by male chefs. But it is enjoyed by both men and women today. So I think we can drop the sexism argument. If you, female lawyer, are so insecure that you can't even allow yourself to be seen to enjoy a creative networking evening and would rather go to a talk about tax law policy then I feel sorry for you. And if you think that sort of thinking is going to put you on the fast track to a partnership I suspect you have another think coming. And if it is, do you really want to be in a culture that encourages that sort of thinking and behaviour, breeding humourless, soul-less shells?
    Why do so many lawyers insist on denying themselves the things that just might enrich their lives and give them pleasure? It is not the making of canapes in itself that will enrich someone (although it might, and why not? Who are we to suggest otherwise?) It is the notion of getting together outside the legal context and getting in touch with your human, creative, fun side---all those things that are too easily sucked out of you when you practice law. And this goes for men as well as women. As a woman, and former lawyer, it pains me to read some of these comments. No wonder lawyers are such a miserable lot!
    I for one think that life is way too short to spend my precious spare time listening to a talk on pensions policy when I could happily be meeting new people and stuffing mushrooms. Get a life before it is too late!

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