Alison Stein on “Women Lawyers Blog for Workplace Equality: Blogging as a Feminist Legal Method”

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Alison I. Stein (J.D. Candidate, University of Pennsylvania Law School) has posted to ssrn her article, “Women Lawyers Blog for Workplace Equality:   Blogging as a Feminist Legal Method.”   Here is the abstract:

Legal scholars and academic commentators have long written about the ways in which close-knit communities of people employ extra-legal or non-legal methods to structure conflict, resolve disputes, and advocate for their rights and interests. From cattle ranchers to diamond merchants to third-wave feminists, scholars emphasize how groups of people opt out of the legal system and instead use personalized and informal methods of rights assertion as a means of “overcoming the ineffectiveness” of state-sponsored laws, and because they reject the law as a viable means of achieving change. Similar to cattle ranchers and diamond traders, a growing number of women lawyers have developed their own method of rights assertion and conflict resolution that does not involve turning to the legal system. Despite the cottage industry of articles, books, and reports describing gender inequality in the legal profession, few, if any, have focused on what women lawyers are actually doing to address the challenges and grievances they face in the workplace, and to increase the proportion of women in leadership positions in the profession. Based on a detailed, empirical analysis of women lawyers in law firms, this Article argues that similar to cattle ranchers and diamond traders, a growing number of women lawyers have rejected the law as a viable means of personal advocacy and are instead, using blogging – an alternative, informal and impersonal form of engagement – to advocate for their rights and interests in the workplace.   One would expect that women lawyers, when confronted with unfair hiring practices, unequal pay, or unjust choices, would turn to the legal system. They are legally trained and undoubtedly immersed in the law, and therefore, one might presume that they are particularly attentive to legal rights and predisposed to think of personal grievances in a legal framework.   Nonetheless, a growing group of women lawyers are using the Internet–and, in particular, blogging– to resolve their disputes, address their personal grievances, challenge implicit male bias engrained in the profession, and share and obtain the information they need to become stronger bargainers in the workplace.

The full paper is available here.

I’ve read Stein’s article; I think it is a great contribution to the discourse by a star-on-the-rise.
-Bridget Crawford

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0 Responses to Alison Stein on “Women Lawyers Blog for Workplace Equality: Blogging as a Feminist Legal Method”

  1. PunditMom says:

    Interesting concept. I just wrote at Huffington Post Blogging is a Feminist Act.

  2. I don’t know that women employ blogging as a means to opt out of the law as a means to resolving their disputes. Women however do tend to share and like to seek support. Women may think that the change they are seeking may have to do more with effecting a culture shift than enforcing legal rules and in this respect they may feel that publicizing their grievances may put pressure on the system.

    On the other hand some women may indeed need a bit of a push from supporters to boldly step out and get legal representation. Some may not be as bold as [name redacted] or [name redacted] and we fellow blowgers are here to give them that support as as PuditMom says, “Yeah, we’ve got blogs and we’re not afraid to use them.”

  3. Ann Bartow says:

    Daille Nation – sorry but your referencing of specific women made me uncomfortable so I redacted their names.

  4. Ann Bartow – That’s fine I didn’t intend for you to feel uncomfortable. It is your blog after all and I respect your views

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