Main Difficulties Faced by Women Lawyers in Canada, and What Can be Done to Make it Easier for Women Lawyers to Succeed Main Difficulties Faced by Women Lawyers in Canada, and What Can be Done to Make it Easier for Women Lawyers to SucceedIntroduction Conceivably the highly dramatic change occurring in the labor market for lawyers over the past twenty years or so is the fast increase of the number of women in the profession. However, their numerical increase has not resulted to a corresponding increase in power, income and status from the profession.
Women lawyers in Canada have faced and indeed continue to encounter various challenges in their professional endeavors as discussed hereunder. Main Difficulties Faced By Women Lawyers in CanadaThe issue of motherhood and marriage life is one challenge facing women in the legal profession. This is because it has led to women receiving less amount of pay compared to men under same conditions of work. This is based on the discrimination of women as it is assumed that they work less as they are tied to family issues according to Kaye and Reddy (2008).
It is argued that mothers and married women work for fewer hours as lawyers, and in most cases do not work on fulltime bases hence the discrimination in terms of payment. Secondly, women lawyers face difficulties in their profession due to pregnancy. Women lawyers have faced the difficulty of getting recruited in law firms due to gender discrimination based on pregnancy. When women get pregnant, they experience bodily changes both physically and psychologically, and this is likely to interfere with their profession activities.
In this respect, when they get pregnant, they are required to take a break from work. As a result they end up having little to do for their profession at this time of their life, and this is a challenge to the law firms they work for. Thirdly, women lawyers face difficulties by being proportionally underrepresented in private sector practice and overrepresented in government, public defender, corporate/private industry and legal aid work. Despite this, in organizations within which women are presented, they are usually concentrated in the bottom positions in terms of status and income.
In private practice, women are underrepresented in the ranks of supervisor, partner and general counsel. Yet again, women in the legal profession face denial of the rights and are in most cases loaded with responsibilities on gender basis. Women lawyers are not being given equal opportunities for growth compared to their male counterparts. Women, as a result, tend to be given office work and are denied the chance engage in the real practice of their profession. This is because they are regarded as weak and highly emotional compared to men. Finally, another difficulty facing women lawyers in Canada is the issue of sexual harassment and humiliation during court proceedings as suggested by Morton (2002).
Sometimes the women lawyers are threatened of sexual harassment even by their clients and even by fellow lawyers. This has led to less women engaging in this profession. What Can Be Done To Make It Easier For Women Lawyers to SucceedThe establishment of women rights organizations which fight for the rights of women lawyers against discrimination may be a step toward winning the war for women in the legal profession.
These organizations should enact provisions which will help in protecting women in this profession. Moreover, such existing firms should adopt more provocative measures to ensue that women who face these difficulties do not leave the profession but are given appropriate support. Women’s organizations such as the Women’s Law Association have emerged in order to help women counter these difficulties according to Abel and Lewis (1995). Another way to counter the difficulties faced by female lawyers is by establishing counseling and mentorship programs in their favor.
Through these programs, women lawyers should be encouraged to face such difficulties with determination since some of them like family issues are hard to avoid. Women lawyers should be counseled on how to balance their family life and work life in order to succeed. Women also need to adopt social networks which will enable them understand how to handle their clients and fellow lawyers. In such a case, women lawyers will be able to fight against sexual harassment and other humiliating behaviors in court proceedings. This is because the social networks help women lawyers in establishing and maintaining important relationships with fellow lawyers and clients. The government should enact provisions which are against the discrimination of women in legal firms.
This will ensure that women recruited in the law firms are treated similarly with men. This will lead women toward high motivation at work in the legal field leading to a successful career. ConclusionIn conclusion women lawyers in Canada have been facing difficulties in their profession and this is mostly due to the factors outlined above. This has led to a situation whereby women are losing interest in the profession and many who study law do not end up working as legal experts.
ReferencesKaye, J.S. & Reddy, A.C. (2008). The Progress of women lawyers at big firms: steadied or simply studied? Fordham law Review. Vol74,issue 4, 1942-1974Abel, R.L. & Lewis. P.C. (1995). Lawyers in Society: An Overview. California: University of California Press. Morton, F.L. (2002). Law, Politics and the Judicial Process in Canada. Calgary: University of Calgary Press.