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(April 2009) at our magazine swap that I picked up specifically because a Hanna Rosin headline caught my eye: “The Case Against Breastfeeding.” As the birth of my second child draws nearer, breastfeeding is one of the things I look forward to most. She latched beautifully, my milk supply was always good, and it was a wonderful opportunity for me to pray and contemplate as I shifted into motherhood. I felt like my body was beautiful in its singular ability to feed my child, to provide her with all the nourishment she needed to grow. My husband and I chose to live right across the street from my place of work, only a four minute walk from home to office. I would just bounce home when I felt the urge to nurse or when my daughter was hungry. Their milk supply is low, the baby won’t latch right (and subsequently won’t gain weight), and rather than feeling beautiful and powerful, the seemingly never-ending demand of a newborn to nurse is perceived to be onerous and exhausting.And I had a fantastic department that let me do most of my work from home those first few critical months when breastfeeding is so time-consuming. Rosin’s argument is that woman should not be made to feel guilty for choosing not to nurse, especially when the evidence in favor of nursing is just not as overwhelmingly in the breast’s favor as we might be prone to believe.When I looked at the picture on the cover of Sears’s –a lady lying down, gently smiling at her baby and still in her robe, although the sun is well up–the scales fell from my eyes: it was not the vacuum that was keeping me and my 21st century sisters down, but another sucking sound. She fallaciously identifies breastfeeding as a cause of gender inequality, rather than a symptom of much deeper inequalities and prejudices.It is true that woman face a seemingly impossible task if they choose to both work and nurse, but this is not a problem with nursing itself, but the lack of supportive structures that allow women to do both.Imagine that attorney works at one of the biggest law firms in the country, and your esteem of her probably even grows higher.So why shouldn’t “Biglaw” look like a perfectly viable career to many employment-bound young women?
And yet, women today are twice as likely as men to leave law firms for reasons like work-life balance.
What’s more, in a survey of more than 17,000 law firm associates, women rated their firms’ culture, their job satisfaction and their compensation (to name just a few) much lower than their male counterparts did.
This may provide some insight behind the statistic that only 4 percent of the 200 top U. law firms have female, firm-wide managing partners.
For a profession whose guiding tenets include equity in treatment and the elimination of bias, law is failing its women.
As an adviser to corporate women’s networks, I am hard pressed to name an industry that simultaneously has more progressive policies and yet more of an old-school culture than the large law firm environment does.