Why Women May Not Be Advancing in Their Careers

three_women_working-1Powerful quote opening up a Huffington Post article by Linda Addison, Managing Partner of Norton Rose Fulbright US and a Founder and Immediate Past President of the Center for Women in Law:  “If women don’t expect to be and insist on being treated as the professionals we are, we certainly won’t be.”

While women have certainly made great strides in the past several years, the number of women at the top–whether in law, business, medicine, education, etc.–is still a small percentage.  Linda believes that “women who are determined to progress in their careers must be proactive to make that happen.  And they must work in an environment that supports those efforts.”  Here’s an excerpt:

Our firm has made a global commitment to advance women by setting a target of 30 percent female equity partners and 30 percent women in leadership positions by the year 2020. While our firm is currently 6 percent ahead of the industry average of women equity partners, at 23 percent, this target represents a significant and aspirational goal.

Networking and anti-bias training sessions haven’t failed; they are tactics within broader strategies that critically require metrics to make a difference. What gets measured gets done. Companies can promote gender diversity by offering a career-strategies program that provides opportunities for and supports women on their way to senior positions, and providing inclusive leadership training and education. It’s also important to incorporate strategies that encourage partners to provide business and professional opportunities to women partners and associates. These promoted changes foster critical collaboration, cross-selling, and collegiality. 

Many firms are working to provide greater opportunity and equality for women lawyers. Yet in the end, each of us has to take charge of her own destiny. So if you’re stuck permanently scheduling meetings, keeping the calendar and taking notes, and you have no prospects for advancement, make your career goals known and ask for a change. If that doesn’t work, move where you can achieve your potential. You may have to leave your comfort zone and work harder, but in the end, working to build your own client base and expertise gives you autonomy, power, and value — and you can bet you’ll never be treated like an assistant.

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