Anne-Marie Rice in Lawyers Weekly writes:
I am tired because I am 44 years old, self-employed and the mother of two primary school aged children. Tired goes with the territory.
I am tired because I am a lawyer and the law is a jealous mistress.
But, most of all, I am tired from 20 years of doing a job through a prism that is inconsistent with who I am. A lens that I find fundamentally one dimensional and inherently aggressive. It is inherently masculine. The way the law is, largely, practised invites lawyers to solve problems by first making them bigger and by then aggressively holding a position until a decision is imposed or a compromised based on brinkmanship is reached.
I am exhausted from walking that walk. It affects who I am. It dims my light. And, looking around this room, I know I am not the only one who feels it.
But it also affects those who are NOT in this room tonight. The women who have left the profession. Not having retired after a full and fulfilling career but who have opted out. Early.
The responsibility for the change to make professional life sustainable for women, is mine. It’s ours. The responsibility to stop pretending that a flourishing legal career and committed parenting (or other) role is at all easy, realistic, healthy or sustainable, is mine. It’s ours.
We all know that Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but that she did it backwards and in high heels. But puzzle me this: what might have happened if Ginger Rogers had been invited to turn around?