The Gender Trap: Flexible Work in Corporate Legal Practice

Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Vol. 45, No. 4, pp. 773-811, 2007

ANU College of Law Research Paper No. 08-15

40 Pages Posted: 23 May 2008 Last revised: 18 Oct 2009

Abstract

Despite the fact that women comprise well over 50 per cent of law graduates in many parts of the world, women lawyers continue to be clustered disproportionately in the lower echelons of the profession. This paper considers the role of flexible work as a gender equity strategy and is illuminated by interviews with lawyers in élite corporate firms in Australia. It is argued that far from being a panacea, flexible work is being invoked to confine women to subordinate roles and to restrict access to partnerships. Not only is there a residual suspicion of the feminine in positions of authority and resistance to the idea of bodily absence from the workplace, the contemporary market discourse has erased a commitment to social justice and equality.

Keywords: Gender, legal practice, flexible work

Suggested Citation

Thornton, Margaret and Bagust, Joanne, The Gender Trap: Flexible Work in Corporate Legal Practice. Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Vol. 45, No. 4, pp. 773-811, 2007; ANU College of Law Research Paper No. 08-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1136004

Margaret Thornton (Contact Author)

ANU College of Law ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

Joanne Bagust

Deakin University ( email )

Burwood, Victoria 3215
Australia
55633537 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.deakin.edu.au/buslaw

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