When work got really short and it was because of the recession, they would literally take the—we had files for each client and each patent—they would take the files from my desk or the other woman’s desk, they would literally take it off our desks and give it to one of the boys... He said, 'Well you have a spouse that works so therefore you don’t need to work as much as the guys who don’t have spouses who work.' So you’re penalizing me for being married to someone with a job?... But let’s save all the billable work for the boys. That’s very much how it felt.
Women’s experiences of unfair treatment have increased over the past decade. In 2010, 23% of women reported unfair treatment, while in 2020, 29% of women indicated that they have been treated unfairly at work. Experiences of bias include lack of access to high-quality assignments, receiving less support from staff and colleagues and being excluded from social networking activities.
Experiences of workplace sex discrimination have increased over time as well. Among those who experienced unfair treatment in 2010, 42% said that this treatment constituted sex discrimination. However, in 2020, 58% of women who reported unfair treatment indicated that the treatment constituted sex discrimination. Thus, while 10% of women reported discrimination in 2010, 17% of women reported experiencing sex discrimination in 2020.
In 2010 and 2020, women respondents overwhelmingly reported that discrimination was based on sex though many also indicated discrimination based on marital status, caretaker status, age, religion and disability. Overall, we observe an increase in reported experiences of sex discrimination by women lawyers in every employment type.
Experience of Discrimination: % Women Attorneys Reporting Sex Discrimination
|In Corporate Counsel Positions||10%||19%|
|In Non-Profit Organizations||0%||6%|
|In Law Firms||10%||17%|