Women in the Law—Finding Your Balance
Since this interview series began, we have brought to light many common issues that affect women in the legal industry. We have discussed the myth of “having it all,” the need to find your inner strength to fight for those who have none and the desire to find your voice in the crowd. All of these themes have individually touched on the professional challenges that women attorneys face in order to succeed. However, in honor of the month of May, a month in which Americans take time to honor their mothers, this edition of Women in the Law will discuss a different kind of challenge, one many women in this country face—the challenge of being a working mother.
With the rise of social media and constant communication, it seems that we live in a world of relentless peer competition to prove who has the most fulfilling life. Images flash along an Instagram or Facebook feed showing well-behaved children, beautifully decorated homes and expensive vacations to exotic locales. These images are used to project a version of a life that may not match up with day-to-day realities. The posted pictures do not show an exhausted child’s meltdown in the middle of that expensive vacation, that beautifully decorated home when it is a cluttered mess at 6:30 pm on a weeknight, or a weary woman who has returned home from a long, aggravating day at the office to face a second shift of domestic chores and childcare.
Women’s rights and equality continue to take a central role in the media as many continue to come forward and share their stories. However, the majority of the narrative surrounding such empowering movements as #MeToo and #TimesUp has been made up of negative stories of male chauvinism and times when women felt powerless. While such stories are necessary to make change and bring a sense of awareness to an ongoing problem it is just as important to bring forth empowering stories of female victories to renew in ourselves a sense of how truly far women have come and how strong our voices can be.
Many Americans are hopeful, as we begin the new year, for a fresh start for our country and perhaps time to mend broken bridges and band together. A glance at the most-read stories from the New York Times in 2017 reflected a tumultuous year. One of the biggest news stories to break was the seemingly unending stream of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct allegations concerning powerful men across all walks of public life, from politics to entertainment. As accusations continued to hit the newsstands a safe place was suddenly created for women, and in some cases men, to come forward and speak out about what they had experienced. The resounding message to come forth is that women should be able to speak up and not apologize for having an opinion. 2017 began with women hitting the streets worldwide to protest for equal rights and came full circle at year-end with women banding together to support one another, lending a voice for those who were afraid to speak out.