Peg

Women only attorney-client events

The blog "Above the Law" has this snarky post today about a woman only attorney-client event that centered around designer shoe shopping.

Okay, disclaimer #1: I love shoes. I'm addicted to designer shoes.

Disclaimer #2: I like to shop for my shoes alone. I dislike having my husband or friends there and I really can't stand having my kids there. I feel like the shoe shopping process needs to be deliberate and cannot be rushed. I also understand that the process drags on for spectators, kind of like baseball does for me when I'm a spectator while it is certainly invigorating for those taking part in the game.

Putting aside my affinity for shopping all by my lonesome, I still have mixed feelings about these sorts of events.

On the one hand, I think they are enjoyable and, if done correctly, provide a great atmosphere for women to socialize, network, and perhaps get some real deal negotiating done as often happens on the golf course.

On the other hand, they are very limiting in that only women are present. What if I really need to network with some male partners that have control of a deal team I want to get on? What if the clients that need my attention all have male CEOs and general counsels?

I have some experience with these sorts of events, albeit not shoe shopping specifically. I've attended firm functions that were women only cocktail parties and women only spa outings. I found that I really enjoyed them. We women talked, networked, even gossiped a little (which I know is counterproductive but enjoy nevertheless), and probably felt a little free-er to express our emotions and true feelings more than we would have if men were among the group. There is some productivity in that.

However, these events served to embolden the men to hold male-only events that were either golfing, surfing, or some other sporting event. I admit to feeling jealous. I wanted to golf, I wanted to surf.

I also recognize that the men were likely jealous when we all headed to the spa.

Jealousy-- well, that's not productive.

How do others feel? I expect that there are plenty of readers that have mixed feelings as I do and many that will respond that these women-only events are great because they would not be envious of a golf-outing. Please comment.

5 Comments

Eralon

<div align=“left”>As someone who HATES shoe shopping (size 12 feet make it nearly impossible), I would hate this.  I also really think it's a problem in that it totally excludes men- you're shopping for <i>women's </i>designer shoes right?  It's one thing to offer a spa day and allow men to attend, ala golf outings but it's another to deliberately exclude the men.  I think it's great for women to have a networking or support lunch among themselves to talk about these issues but when business development is the goal, I don't think we ought to be exclusionary the other way.  I'm not entirely opposed to the androgenous events- maybe a baseball game at the park or trip to a museum or boat cruise- things that aren't inherently gendered.  Mostly I think this is important because everyone needs to learn to network across genders, especially in a world where men are disproportionally in the higher positions which would be advantageous to business development. </div>

Kalokagathia

I want to surf :( I would be absurdly jealous of this outing. I do not want to golf. But if I were excluded from the outing because it was boys only - a part of me would probably want to attend… just because. That being said, I see the value in women only events - for all of the reasons you mentioned - but I don’t know yet if I am willing to accept the benefits of such events at the cost of jealousy and possibly competition amongst the genders when it comes to holding such events. I haven’t had any experience with such events really, so I can’t comment from experience. The only thing I do know is that I would want to surf

jessie

<div align=“left”>I would be totally pissed if I weren't included in an office activity because of my sex.  Similarly, one of my initial problems with Ms. JD conceptually was that it seemed like it would end up being a women only conversation.  Obviously domestic equality is essential to professional equality, so why only talk about professional advancement with each other, when we need our life partners to chip in to make it work?</div><div align=“left”> </div><div align=“left”>Well that's all well and good, but everytime I've publicized Ms. JD to my law school community at large only women have responded.  When I tell my male professors they should post, they tell me they'll be sure to tell their wives about the site.  When I invite my guy friends to Ms. JD events and or just to look at the website they make jokes about forming "Mr. JD" and never actually pursue involvement in either.  </div><div align=“left”> </div><div align=“left”>So last month, when I was incharge of organizing dinner for students with our female faculty, I didn't even bother inviting any men.  You win guys-you're involvement's not worth the trouble.  </div><div align=“left”> </div><div align=“left”>On the other hand-I don't think there's anything wrong with inviting everyone to everything.  My guess is if you invited the guys, they probably wouldn't show up for shoe shopping, but hey-it might be fun if they did:) </div>

Boss

<div align=“left”>I'm all for this.  As much as we'd like to say that women are equal in the legal field, we aren't!  And until we are, we do need support of other women to figure out how to navigate the legal field as a woman.  That's entire reason behind MsJD, and that's the point of events like this.  </div><div align=“left”> </div><div align=“left”>Now of course, I would love to be able to attend mixed gender events as well.  The priority should  be for firms to have mixed gender events, but to also sponsor several events for smaller groups that could benefit from networking.  </div><div align=“left”> </div><div align=“left”>As for the shoes…I'm all for that!  That sounds like a trendy version of a Mary Kay party.  For those of you who don't like shoes, suggest an alternate event, such as previewing a clothing line, or a swanky makeup demo, or an upscale culinary event.  Think back to Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, etc.  When you're not being prompted to buy, they're actually pretty fun to go to.  Now upscale it and go mingle! </div>

one_elle

 Shoe shopping v. surfing seem to be a little far apart on the gender spectrum—or not…but nevertheless, how about wine tasting? Neutral! Or musicals etc.—hey everyone likes food! I'd guess I'd really like to see sex segregated events be the anomaly in law social events.

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