Decalogue of sorority in the legal field

Decalogue of sorority in the legal field

“As women, we must stand up for ourselves. We must defend each other. We must defend justice for all.” –Michelle Obama

Understanding that sisterhood is the relationship of solidarity between women, especially in the fight for their empowerment, from a practical and application point of view, it is difficult to determine which are the most effective practices and with the greatest impact that we can implement to achieve support. to other women in this fight for empowerment.

For this reason, and based on my personal experiences and that of some other legal professionals, below are some recommended practices to encourage the practice of sisterhood effectively among legal professionals.

1. Don’t judge and honor other women’s stories.
On many occasions we tend to judge and/or minimize the experiences of other women, and each woman has a story that has led her to be what she is, it is an accumulation of experiences that has resulted in the forging of character. By honoring her stories, we learn from experiences that enrich our own perspective; while by not judging we create an environment of trust, in which the support network will be genuine and free of prejudice. Even though we are all women, and we have all been discriminated against; We have not been in the same way since the intersectionality that certain attributes give us such as privilege, absence of it, social class, sexual preference, ethnicity, age, among others, greatly differentiate the experiences between one and the other.

2. Avoid toxic criticism of another woman.
This does not mean always agreeing with another woman, however, we must avoid falling into toxic criticism that is versed in gender prejudices. Carrying out objective and constructive criticism, which provides learning and improvements to another woman, is very different; to fall into the use of appellations to the personality of this one of hers. And, while it is true that women are not perfect, it is also true that we are judged by a much more demanding standard than men. A direct woman can be classified as “bossy”, while a direct man is classified as a “leader”. Using adjectives like “crazy”, “bitch”, “angry” or even referring to a woman’s menstrual cycle, physique or sexual life adds toxicity to any criticism.

3. Stop gossiping about another woman.
Being a professional woman is very difficult, and even though the tendency is not to care about “what people will say”, in the working world it is very common to hear gossip about women; about their love life or choice of partner, their conditions as a mother, or if they are conflictive or problematic people. By sharing and/or spreading gossip, we discredit women’s professional achievements; We question progress very harshly, we give moral weight to attitudes that should not be anyone’s business. If you hear gossip about another woman (even if it is true), it is best to avoid promoting it and put an end to it.

4. Adopt a mentee.
Starting a professional life and cultivating it is very complicated, no matter what phase and/or stage of your professional life you are in, your experiences can serve as a guide for younger women. Helping future generations to solve problems and have greater professional visibility will contribute to reducing the gender gap. Any advice, teaching and/or support for another woman will help her grow professionally and be able to clearly outline a career plan that not only projects work achievements, but also achieves a balance between personal and professional life that also promotes her comprehensive development. as a woman.

5. Educate yourself, learn and unlearn.
Even though we are aware of the historical reality of discrimination against women due to gender, it is important to recognize that we do not have the absolute truth; in many cases intersectionality and privilege cloud our judgment, adding to the fact that it updates reality. and it exceeds our basic knowledge, which is why it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to continually educate ourselves, learn and update ourselves on gender issues, and unlearn behaviors imposed by the patriarchal society in which we have been educated.

6. Share and celebrate the achievements of other women.
When we recognize, share and celebrate the achievements of other women, we are celebrating ourselves. We are recognizing and celebrating the progress in the professional world that we are making as a gender. Avoiding toxic competition and envy is vital and necessary, with the understanding that the triumph of one does not mean the failure of the other. In order to achieve a gender-equal society, break cement and glass ceilings, eliminate the wage gap, among others, it is necessary to have representation in decision-making bodies. The representation of women is key to continuing their professional development; celebrating achievements is the first step towards an equal society. The triumph of one must be the triumph of all.

7. Zero tolerance for sexual harassment and harassment.
Justifying sexual harassment towards another woman is simply unacceptable. One of the main obstacles at work that we have as a gender is sexual harassment and harassment. By believing the victim, not questioning them, and supporting the creation of zero-tolerance policies and processes for sexual harassment and harassment in the workplace, we are creating a safe work environment for everyone.

8. Listen and be empathetic with other women.
As human beings we react differently to the various events in our lives. If a woman wants your advice, she wants your support or she just wants to vent to you, listen to her and be empathetic. Empathy is a quality that allows positive coexistence, improves social skills, develops relationships with other people and generates an environment of trust and complicity that will help us better understand other women. Listening to another woman allows you to avoid frustrations and give a new perspective to the resolution of both work and personal conflicts.

9. Give opportunities to other women.
Our duty as women is to promote the development of equal opportunities for other women. This doesn’t just mean hiring women, and stopping working with men; but rather opening the door for women to develop in areas that make them more competitive in the work environment. To not only look for capable women, but to trust, collaborate and promote positive actions through which gender equality is achieved.

10. Promote feminism, sisterhood and an egalitarian environment.
Prepare articles, columns, actively participate in the creation of diversity and inclusion policies, go to marches, share content on social networks, and in general, promote feminism and sisterhood among women, stop and raise our voices against misogynistic jokes, demand Due respect for oneself and others are first steps that will result in having more and better tools that are necessary for the creation of an egalitarian environment.

Due Diligence |  Lawgic Innovation in Legal Education

By Mónica Paulina Mora Ávila, associate Basham, Ringe y Correa.