By Brenda L. George • July 07, 2017•Ms. JD, Writers in Residence, Careers, Firms and the Private Sector, Other Career Issues, Issues, Balancing Private and Professional Life, Sexism, Sexual Harassment, and Other Forms of Discrimination, •Women and Law in the Media
The Seattle Times recently reported on a "revolutionary" law, one-decade in the making. Washington State is joining California, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington D.C. in mandating employers pay workers' salaries while they take time off for the birth of a child. The Washington State law allows 12 weeks of leave at 90% of income (higher than any other state mandating the pay). This law, which has technically been on the books since 2007, is funded by weekly paycheck contributions from the employee and the employer and will take effect in 2020.
I'm sure you can imagine how excited I was to hear that this bill passed. And, Washington State created a model for other states that are looking to do this in the near future. These are the steps in the right direction that need to occur.
This is certainly something to be celebrated, but it does not fix the problem of the well-known "maternal wall" implicit bias. In a nutshell, the maternal wall is a stereotype presuming that women with children are less competent and less committed to their work. Essentially, the maternal wall reinforces gender roles.
This implicit bias has been known for a while and there are many proposed solutions. What do you think can be done about this implicit bias? Or, what is working in your law firm?