The Quiet Resignation: Why Do So Many Female Lawyers Abandon Their Careers?

56 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2019

See all articles by Jane R. Bambauer

Jane R. Bambauer

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law

Tauhidur Rahman

University of Arizona - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Date Written: February 15, 2019

Abstract

Thirty percent of female lawyers leave their careers. The same is true for female doctors. Over time, an increasing number of married professionals have recreated traditional gender roles, and society has lost a tremendous amount of training and well-honed talent as a result. Neither workplace discrimination nor family obligations can fully and satisfactorily explain the trend. Both of those theories assume that women take a more dependent and vulnerable position in the household because of constraints, but in one important respect, men are more constrained than women, and they are better off for it: to maintain social status, men have to work. Women do not.

This Article advances a theory and corroborating evidence that the cultural acceptance of female under-employment is a privilege in the abstract, but a curse in practice. Even under the best conditions, the early stages of professional careers involve mistakes, mismatches, and disappointments. An opportunity to escape the stress of the public sphere by focusing on the family may have great appeal in the short run even though the longrun consequences are severe. Asymmetric cultural acceptance creates an easy off-ramp for females, to nearly everybody’s detriment.

Suggested Citation

Yakowitz Bambauer, Jane R. and Rahman, Tauhidur, The Quiet Resignation: Why Do So Many Female Lawyers Abandon Their Careers? (February 15, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3335481 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3335481

Jane R. Yakowitz Bambauer (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States

Tauhidur Rahman

University of Arizona - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics ( email )

P. O. Box 210023
Tucson, AZ 85721-0023
United States
(520) 621-8657 (Phone)
(520) 621-6250 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
71
Abstract Views
378
rank
324,983
PlumX Metrics