Skirting the Ceiling: Success in Strength

Over the past year as a writer-in-residence, I explored gender dynamics and sexism in law. We talked about gender stereotypes and sexual harassment and how they affect workplace dynamics. We learned about women in law who were the first to break gender norms and how the industry's treatment of women evolved over time. Most importantly, we've engaged in conversation. Whether it be in the comments at the bottom of this page, on LinkedIn, or on Facebook, I've learned so much from each of you and am honored that so many took time to read and think about these issues that shape so many lives. 

There are a lot of sayings and idioms about the strength of women. There are a couple themes that run throughout: Men may be in charge, but it's the women that are in charge of the men. Women are strongest when they support other women. Women must rise to the challenge. It is is not enough to ask for what men have and do what men do, women must demand and do more. 

While there may be some truth to all of these ideas, the final thought that I would like to leave everyone with is this: You don't have to play masculine to be a strong woman.

We seek equal treatment and opportunity in life, in law, and in life in the law. Men and women are different, but men and women together can work towards this goal. Women do not have to push themselves to be more masculine to succeed and shouldn't have to deny their feminity to succeed either. 

When we evaluate the problems and the progress, sometimes it seems like the problems loom too large and the progress made is too little. In the midst of the problems and the progress, in the struggle to shape the daily realities and future of law, is the sheer strength of women. Be proud of the progress! It is monumental. Be proud of continuing to ask for more! The value of your effort is immeasurable. 

Thank you for a wonderful year. Here's to 2018!

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