This year, “The Feminine Mystique” turned 50. Published in 1963, the book is credited with sparking the second wave of feminism in the United States. In the years since Betty Friedan wrote the book, much has changed in the way of the women’s independence.
But in some areas, the needle hasn’t moved much. Women today earn somewhere between 77 percent and 84 percent of what their male counterparts earn, according to Pew Research and White House reports. Women in Fortune 500 leadership positions remains stagnant, with only 14.6 percent holding CEO post in the nation’s top companies. And we still haven’t seen a woman achieve the title of Commander in Chief.
At the Global Women’s Leadership Summit, the topic of advancement of women in the legal profession dominated conversations. The purpose of the Summit was to provide female in-house counsel and law firm lawyers with an outlet to discuss best practices in law, share ideas, network with other like-minded lawyers and continue to move the needle forward.
Throughout the Summit, panelists offered advice for women on pursuing board membership positions and discussed the value of having women in those roles. They discussed best practices for managing and maintaining a strong, trusted relationship with the CEO and other senior executives. They offered advice on building and leading successful legal departments. And they talked about the changing face of feminism—working together to give women that confidence they need to succeed in an ever-evolving corporate legal environment.
“The culture of law is changing,” said one former lawyer who addressed the audience at the event. “Looking at everyone in this room, if you existed while I was in law, I would still be practicing today. The culture is changing.”
While some women are trying to break through the glass ceiling, thanks in part to events like the GWLS, others are building a ladder and climbing around it. Working together to empower women creates a brighter, more diverse future for the legal profession.
As one keynote speaker said in closing, quoting famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman: “If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If they’re shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.”