Revealed: females make up less than 10 per cent of top 100's equity partner ranks

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  • Female ex equity partner | 30-Oct-2012 6:45 pm
    There is reseach which shows that women (with or without children) get fed up with the culture in law firms (whioh includes all the long hours etc,), not being appreciated, not getting access to the best work and not being promoted when their male colleagues are. So they leave. What a surprise.

    No kidding, the long hours kill everyone. Don't know about the other factors you mention - I never saw it happen, perhaps you can link to the research.

    I do think it is time for men, and the leadership of law firms, to stick up to this bullying campaign by the feminist lobby.

    The truth is that most big law firms are pretty brutal places to work whatever your gender is. That more women choose to drop out of it in favour of other choices shouldn't surprise anyone, as they often have better choices than their male counterparts.

    For those who are willing to make the sacrifices their male peers make - no time with the kids, no home life, precious little social life - I don't see how women can't make it.

    A lot of this is really special pleading to get women into partnerships just to "balance the numbers", i.e., because they are women.

    Pretty sexist, but we all know this campaign at the root isn't about "equality".

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  • The following letter, published in Wednesday's Times this week, on the subject of board quotas is rather au point:
    "The misconception that underlies the resistance to imposing boardroom quotas is that there are only a limited number of 'good' (suitably qualified and experienced) women and that quotas will lead to 'poor' (ineffectual) women being appointed over 'good' men.
    In reality there are as many cracking professional women as men out there, in ample numbers to fill quotas ten times over. Women will rise to their posts and skill up appropriately as they do now lower down the job market and as men have been doing as they have historically taken up these top posts. The reason for higher ratios of men continually being appointed are rooted in comfort, tradition and unconscious bias, which
    quotas are needed effectively to bust."

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  • To Anonymous 31 October 9.47pm
    I don't understand what you mean when you say that "we all know this campaign at the root isn't about "equality"".
    What do you think it is about?

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  • "In reality there are as many cracking professional women as men out there, in ample numbers to fill quotas ten times over. "
    In this discussion I do not read, nor is the dispute here about whether one could find women with the professional ability to do the work and fill the position.
    Rather, do women WANT to do the whole job or prioritize it to the same extent as men have been socialized to. If not, it is not in the firms best interest to promote women over the more compliant men.

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  • Its complicated. The reasons are primarily cultural (and by that I mean gender culture) as well as physiological (women are likely to have far more commitments outside of the office).
    Yes women leave the industry in droves on having children. However I am not sure that is particular to law, I believe that is an English cultural thing – in our UK society, if both parents “have” to work past the second child, you are the subject of pity (as in “he can’t be doing very well then, can they if they need two wages?” and the infamous “I don’t know how you do it” said to any FT working mother). I think that in parts of the continent, the opposite is true, ie, an educated woman having a number of children and holding down a successful full time job is something to be proud of – almost a status symbol! (Differences in cost and availability of home-help and childcare in UK compared to wider Europe also a key factor here). The fact that Helena Morrisey CBE has 10 kids sort of proves the point that its not the number of kids that makes or breaks you its more complicated than that.
    But outside of that, like many workplaces, law firms are essentially (as proven by this report) a male hierarchy and a man’s world in which success is based on playing the game by men’s rules. That is not to say that women cant also succeed but to do so is trickier (even leaving aside the more obvious differences like having primary care of children). Women cannot “be like a man” – we all know the women who do try this and how it backfires. We have a more limited scope of acceptable business behaviours than our male colleagues and we have to operate carefully within these paremeters, in ways that would more usually be quite alien to the fairly “egalitarian” tendencies of female culture. Many women, frustrated at the difficulty and apparent double standards quit at this hurdle, it just seems too hard – not at the junior levels but in fact at senior associate level, which serves as a “holding pen” for such frustrated female talent. I would like to see more women “accepting” the way it is and getting on with it. And would like to see more value placed on the sort of relationship maintenance, soft selling and “connecting” of networks that many women are naturally very good at.
    Quotas are not the answer. Education and talking about the differences will be helpful. As would cheaper childcare and homehelp.
    Husbands yes – definitely the sort of husband you have makes a difference. He is either going to support you in your career (by getting you to challenge and push yourself out of your comfort zone) or he is going to give you the easy option (don’t worry darling, why don’t you stay home and bake cakes instead).
    Told you its complicated.

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