RUTGERS (US)—Women lawyers are taking control of their lives by choosing employers that support a flexible workplace, a new study says.
“One of the study’s key findings is that women are now willing to leave an employer to seek a more flexible work environment,” says author Teresa Boyer, executive director of the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers. “It appears that women no longer feel trapped or helpless in their pursuit of a successful career in the law.”
The researchers used a confidential online survey focusing on factors that contribute to success and attrition, as well as choices regarding work and life balance. Researchers also held focus groups with women lawyers and conducted individual interviews.
Almost two-thirds of respondents indicated they were satisfied with their ability to integrate work and personal lives and the predictability of their hours, the study says, but while many women were satisfied with the compensation, professional autonomy, job security, and recognition they received from their employers, others expressed frustration with the biases they felt were still present.
Women gave a variety of reasons for dissatisfaction with former employers, including an unsupportive work environment, poor promotion opportunities, and issues related to work/life balance, but the study showed that they were not hesitant to choose an exit strategy when faced with these dilemmas.
Women lawyers who made it to the top of the profession cited the importance of role models and mentors. Some felt that their firms were supportive in their quest for work/life balance, while others felt they succeeded in spite of their firms’ lack of support in that area.
The report was sponsored by the Council on Gender Parity in Labor and Education of the New Jersey State Employment and Training Commission.
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