Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Some female attorneys claim female superiors are their worst tormentors

This is an interesting story.  The May issue of The American Lawyer includes an article called The End of Sisterhood discussing the complaint among some female attorneys that female superiors treat them the worst.  As the article explains:

Over sushi, cosmos, and the occasional mani/pedi treatment, [women attorneys] are bonding, united in the mission for gender equality. The message is clear: Women are united, and they want their sisters to succeed.

But scratch the surface a bit deeper, and some members of the sorority tell another story: that women--particularly their immediate superiors--can be their worst tormentors. Fact is, despite the veneer of harmony and the decades of shared struggle, there's tension on the women's front. Talk to any group of women lawyers, and there will be plenty of war stories on the betrayals--real or perceived--that they have experienced at the hands of other women. 

These are more than just anecdotes. Last year, in an American Bar Association survey, a majority of female lawyers under 40 expressed a preference for male bosses (the 1,400 respondents gave men higher marks for constructive criticism and keeping confidences). Moreover, in a University of Toronto study of U.S. workers released last fall, women who reported to a female boss claimed greater depression, anxiety, headaches, and other ailments than those who worked for a man.

What makes this different from the usual tensions between boss and subordinates? In a word: expectation. Women expect other women to be more empathetic and nicer--or at least hope they'll be. When their women bosses aren't, some women feel betrayed. And that betrayal can feel especially sharp and personal coming from someone who shares XX chromosomes.

You can read the full story here.

Hat tip to our great friends at Above the Law.

I am the scholarship XY chromosome.


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