For International Women’s Day, we are proud to celebrate the women on our team at Gluckstein Lawyers. Women hold key positions at Gluckstein – they are lawyers, law clerks, paralegals, administrative assistants, managers, marketers, receptionists and medical staff.
Gluckstein celebrates the strides that have been made to achieve gender equality, but we also recognize that we still have a way to go. To break down the barriers that still exist for many women, we understand and share the following industry insights we must all be aware of:
In many firms, including Gluckstein, there are a higher number of women in administrative roles. The industry has more female assistants than males. We must recognize this fact and ensure that we do not fall into a bias of assigning administrative tasks directly to women, when there may be a male available to do the work, or a team member responsible for those specific tasks.
Female lawyers and law clerks are disproportionately assigned administrative tasks, in comparison to their male counterparts. If the job description between female and male lawyers/law-clerks/paralegals are the same, the focus of their work should naturally be quite similar, from critical administrative tasks to higher-level litigation.
Administrative work is a fundamental and essential role to any business — and the work associated with this administrative work should reflect the job description of the team member, not the gender of the team member.
To achieve change, awareness is the first step!
Work-Life Balance & Personal Choice
Both men and women love their families. Both men and women require rest for their self-care and mental health. As well, men and women can be equally ambitious, and deserve equal access to desirable opportunities in the workplace, without assumptions about who may be more dedicated to their work. To achieve this, all team members must equally value a work-life balance.
Gluckstein has worked hard to achieve a team-wide recognition of the importance of personal life, family time and self-care. All team members are supported and provided with opportunities to take care of their lives outside of the workplace. We believe this fosters a healthy, happy, and productive workforce.
That being said, Law Firms traditionally did not support work-life balance. Historically, the practice of law was dominated by men with wives at home taking care of the household and children. As the times have changed, the traditional model no longer works for many in the legal industry. To ensure that there is not an imbalance, everyone (i.e. not just women) needs to value work-life balance.
Team Building and Inclusivity
Historically lawyers were disproportionately male. Because of this, the legal industry was a “Boys Club” that discouraged female team members from actively participating by using stereotypically “male” social activities. Firms must consider if they are still unintentionally supporting this type of culture.
From golf tournaments and hockey games to scotch tastings, these events may cause some female team members to feel excluded, unwelcome, or pressured to participate to be a team player, despite their discomfort or disinterest. The danger of exclusively hosting these events is that it may foster the assumption that women are not wanted or welcome.
The intention is not to prevent, ban or discourage the events mentioned above, but to consider if all team members might be happier at other events or give multiple options and opportunities.
The legal profession is highly demanding, regardless of one’s gender.
That said, society puts more familial expectations on mothers; while at the same time, telling working mothers they’re not productive enough at work. Mothers are faced with constant critiques and scrutiny to be a ‘good mother’ by putting their children first over everything.
As a society, we need to see parenting as a joint venture, the responsibility of both the mother and father. We must encourage paternity leaves and active fatherhood. This type of counter-movement is the best way to support women and work toward true equality.
To women everywhere — thank you! To the women at Gluckstein Lawyers – we appreciate you, we need you, and we support you!
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