The Glass Ceiling in Law Firms: A Form of Sex-Based Discrimination
University of Baltimore - School of Law
Journal of Employment Discrimination Law, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 251-263, Summer 2000
At a certain level, women lawyers collide with a "glass ceiling," an invisible, artificial barrier which prevents women from being promoted to management and leadership positions within a business or firm. The glass ceiling 'represents a subtle form of sex discrimination - unwritten, generally unspoken, but very pervasive.' Its presence is reflected in trends and statistics which consistently reveal women's underrepresentation in executive and management positions.
This article focuses on whether the glass ceiling formed as a result of sex discrimination, blatant or subtle, or whether it formed as a result of women lawyers' differing qualifications or career choices. It explores many aspects of law firm culture, including business development, mentoring, and the demands and pressures associated with becoming a partner. Moreover, it addresses family issues and the effects of family life on succeeding in a law firm environment. Finally, it discusses the effects of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sex stereotyping, and the devaluation of women in law firm partnership.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 13
Keywords: women lawyers, glass ceiling, sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sex stereotyping, law firms, devaluation of women, women attorneys
JEL Classification: K21, K29, K39, K49
Date posted: June 11, 2009