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“Pink Collar” Law

My first year of law school has been an illuminating experience, particularly when looked at through a gendered lens. As a female law student I have encountered particular challenges that stem not only from being a woman in a male dominated field but also from wanting to do work that has been coded as female.

From the first days of class, my female colleagues and I have started to get a glimpse of what being a female attorney will be like. We are questioned as to how we will balance family and work, something that our male counterparts are rarely asked. Those of us with women's studies degrees are asked why we chose that field of study, a query that is rarely presented to those with a background in accounting or political science. At our institution, the Women's Law Caucus Digest does not receive the same funding that the Journal of Business Law does. These are just some of the indicators that I have received that my entry into the profession of law may be an uphill battle.

While being a woman entering a traditionally male field may present some challenges, I have found that the areas of practice that have been deemed woman or female oriented carry an even greater stigma. Family law and public interest work that has a focus on gender discrimination, child abuse and domestic violence appear to be considered less significant than corporate or business law. In particular, the funding for students working in these fields over the summer is scarce and the salaries for attorneys entering these positions are smaller than what their counterparts will make in corporate positions.

Despite these obstacles, I am excited to begin my career in law this summer. I look forward to working in the child protection division of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office because it is important work. I want to set an example that "pink collar" law is just as crucial as working with large corporations and work towards creating a field that is equal for all of its participants.

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