The National Lawyers Guild New York City Chapter (NLG - NYC) and the national NLG Anti-Sexism and Anti-Racism Committees continue to have serious concerns about the upcoming New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) panel previously entitled "Their Point of View: Tips from the Other Side" and currently entitled "Sharing their Points of View: Tips from Both Sides." While the NLG-NYC appreciates NYSBA's recent decision to include women on what had been a male-only panel, the panel remains problematic for the following reasons.
First, the new panel description continues to state that male attorneys will be giving “tips” to women about what they can do to “strengthen their practice”. This suggests that the discussion may still result in the perpetuation of gender stereotypes and a failure to openly address the ways in which sexism delimits the opportunities and experiences of women in the workplace.
Furthermore, any discussion of challenges that women face in the legal profession must also recognize that sexism is shaped by other forms of oppression including discrimination on the basis of race, class, sexual orientation, age, nationality, and physical or mental disability.
Second, to the extent that men can contribute to such a discussion, they should be encouraged to direct their remarks to the ways in which institutionalized, organizational and interpersonal sexism is manifested in the legal profession. We hope this change in focus would result in a greater commitment on the part of men on the panel and in the audience to engage in critical self-reflection and action to fight sexism wherever it exists.
We therefore call upon the NYSBA Committee on Women in the Law to incorporate the foregoing recommendations into the January 26th, 2010 panel.
The National Lawyers Guild is dedicated to the need for basic and progressive change in the structure of our political and economic system. Consistent with its mission to work as a political and social force in the service of the people, the NLG has committees such as the Anti-Sexism and Anti-Racism Committees, which work to eradicate multiple forms of oppression within society and the legal profession.