"Girlfriends of the Court"

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The legal profession’s treatment of women lawyers is a barometer of its ethics

In Career, Employment, law, women on December 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm

ImageWoman as justice – but is there justice for women?*

The release of the VEOHRC Report into women in the legal profession raises a number of important issues.  We have already highlighted the concerning lack of progress in terms of women’s retention and progression in the profession.  In this post, we explore the implications of these findings in terms of the health of the justice system.

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In the Legal Profession, the Gender Card comes up Trumps

In Diversity, Judiciary, Solicitors, women on October 24, 2012 at 8:11 am

The gender card, so we’re told, has been played by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.  In the context of contemporary debate about sexism in public life, I’ve had a few interesting conversations lately about issues concerning women.  These conversations have been with educated men with whom I usually enjoy excellent interaction.  I have to say though that their thoughts about sexism and women in the context of the discussions we have had, did surprise me.  Mostly, it seems to me that not just in the public sphere but also more broadly, so many men (and some women) can’t (or won’t) see the issues as so many women experience them.

I have asked myself whether, perhaps, I misunderstand my own experiences.  That the current public debate about sexism has it seems captured the imagination of so many women indicates that I am not alone.  In addition, there is a lot of evidence, including scholarly study, that would back me up.  Why is it then, that the way that women experience sexism is not acknowledged?

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What’s so hard about consensual sex?

In law, legal rights, women on August 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Ahhh sex.  There has been an unusual global confluence of sex and public life in recent weeks, culminating in an extraordinary display by political leaders and aspiring political leaders around the world.  This has caused me to ask: what sort of man wants to have or defend non-consensual sex with a woman?

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Don’t Call Me Girl. I’m a Woman.

In Career, Guest Post, media, TV, twitter, Uncategorized, women on August 1, 2012 at 10:20 am

Is this how we wish to represent women athletes? (image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Twitter has been abuzz since the start of the Olympic coverage, with the observation of Australian commentators’ use of ‘girl/s’ to describe women competitors.  The complaint that women have about this language is its capacity to diminish women’s athletic achievement and infantilise them.  Many disagree with this interpretation, pointing out that our male athletes are also called ‘boys’ or ‘lads’.  So why do many women feel so strongly about being called ‘girls’ in this context?

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Lawyers’ Lingerie League: Clothing as Control?

In Career, fashion, media, shoes, women on June 13, 2012 at 8:59 am
Cassie McRichie - page 8.jpeg

Single-sculler Cassie McRichie, founder of the Albert Park Lake women’s rowing club, wasn’t troubled by an overly sexualised costume in 1900.

The last couple of weeks has seen the Lingerie Football League (‘LFL’) in the news.  If you’re uncertain about what this entails, it is ‘Hot babes in lingerie playing footy!’ according to the Triple M website promoting it. (See also a spectator’s view here.)

Some commentators have decried the so-called sport as sexist, while others claim that this is snobbery.

So is it sexist?  If so, why?  Are there implications for women more broadly?

 

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Do Clothes Make the (Wo)Man?

In Career, fashion, Guest Post, legal education, shoes, women on April 29, 2012 at 10:32 am
fashion, law, blog

Are we just reproducing the dominant paradigm?     *Mattel

The Culture of Professional Dressing 

There’s been a lot of talk on this blog here and here amongst others, of women’s (and some men’s) experiences as legal practitioners, in terms of what to wear.  We could ask why these posts are so popular with readers.  Is it because women love clothes?  (I mean – you know what women are like, right?)  Perhaps.  However I have another theory.

It’s about culture – in particular, the dominant culture of the law. Read on. Read the rest of this entry »

Who Controls Women’s Bodies?

In Advocacy, Community, media, women on February 19, 2012 at 3:48 pm

My Body. My Business.

In my last post on Amicae Curiae in response to an article by Bettina Arndt, I described the way in which women were objectified in media whether or not they displayed their breasts.  It seems however that the media’s obsession with breasts is not going to go away.

In mainstream media, on Twitter and on Facebook, the last week or so has seen a constant stream of the kind of mixed messages and double standards that represent society’s view of women’s bodies. {read on} Read the rest of this entry »

‘I Know What Boys Like’: What Women Wear

In fashion, media, Photography, women on February 12, 2012 at 7:06 pm

It's all in the attitude, isn't it?

What women dare wear:

An op-ed over the weekend by Bettina Arndt has re-opened the debate about what women wear – in particular her statement that: ‘Everywhere you look, women are stepping out dressed provocatively, but bristling if the wrong man shows he enjoys the display.’

This appeared not long after the national press focused on the physical appearance of the lawyer for Vincenzo Focarelli, the leader of a bikie gang. Lawyer Stacey Carter was compared with ‘Melbourne Underbelly lawyer Zara Garde-Wilson’ and the newspaper report I read showed photos of the two (though online shows only Ms Carter).  A lot in the article turned on establishing Ms Carter’s credibility – apparently despite her attractive appearance:

(read on)

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Respect Ma Authoritah!

In Advocacy, Family Court, Guest Post, Judiciary on December 15, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Margaret Battye (WA) wore her wig well.

The question of what lawyers wear is in the news again since the Family Court of Australia has announced  that judges have new robes, it will dispense with wigs, and there is a new dress code for lawyers appearing before it.  The Family Court changes caused me to think again about the reason behind court dress – and others too, as evidenced by an animated discussion on Twitter following the Court’s announcement.

read on… Read the rest of this entry »

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