Women get a bad rap. Whether it's "Mean Girls" or catfights, there's this awful notion floating around that women don't help women (and we know there's a special place in hell for those ladies). But what about the women who help each other out? Why don't we ever hear about them?
We're going to take this time to roar about ways women attorneys can help other women attorneys in the
ok, we get it, discriminating legal industry. Hint: it's not by sending out these kinds of memos.
1. Be a Mentor
One of the things we took away from reading Lean In, was how much more difficult it is for women to find mentors, especially in male-dominated fields. Break that pattern, and make it a point to mentor younger female associates at your firm. Having a mentor can be a life-changing career move, just ask Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
2. Teach How to be a Mentor
Take mentoring a step further, and teach others how to mentor. You not only want to break the pattern, you want to start a new one. Start a mentorship program at your firm -- it doesn't have to be anything formal (or it can be) -- it can be as simple as lunches, or drinks after work. It takes time to develop skills to mentor someone, and practice makes perfect.
3. Share Your Story
You may look like you have it all to the younger associates, but they're not getting the full picture, are they? Sometimes hearing about someone's particular path to success sheds light on how others can achieve their goals. Hearing that "having it all" is a myth from a real-life successful woman speaks volumes.
4. Lean On
Yes, we should all "lean in." But if we really want to help other women out, we need to "lean on." When it comes to raising families, Hillary Clinton famously said that It Takes a Village. The same goes for building women's careers. Take a cue from mothers' groups, and create a network of women at your firm to help each other out when family duty calls. It can be as simple as a weekly rotating dinner exchange (make huge batches, freeze and distribute), or letting an associate work from home when her son is sick.
It's easy to get caught up and just complain about how awful things are. But in order to really effectuate change, we need less talking, and more doing. By taking small steps we can start breaking down barriers ourselves, our way -- with women helping women.
What have you done to help other women attorneys? Did women attorneys help you? Join the conversation on Twitter and tweet us @FindLawLP.
- Lean In, Lean Out -- Stop Telling Me Which Way to Lean (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)
- Soaring Child Care Costs -- What Your Firm Can Do To Help (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)
- Taking a Career 'Time Out'? 5 Tips for a Smoother 'Opt In' (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)