Becoming a parent changes many aspects of your personal and professional life. As more women leave the legal profession, the question is whether a work/life balance can easily be maintained under current conditions and attitudes.
As leading boutique recruitment specialists for the West Australian legal industry, McKenna & Associates understand the pressures women may face when climbing the corporate ladder while dealing with the demands of motherhood.
Women in Law
The 2018 National Profile of Solicitors showed that in Western Australia, there were an equal number of male and female solicitors. Women comprised the majority in government and corporate law, while men outnumbered women in private practice.
Many workplaces take care to promote gender diversity. Yet men still hold a higher ratio of senior positions, and women are much more likely to leave the legal profession than male counterparts.
Motherhood and Work
Successfully managing parental and professional responsibilities requires exquisite time management, and an understanding that modern workplaces are constantly adjusting policies to better meet the needs of today’s mothers.
But it is clear, considering the notable amount of women disengaging from the legal profession, that meeting the needs of modern mothers in the legal industry is an ongoing process requiring further attention.
Many women are wary of social media platforms because of the potential for harassment. But in an isolated world, recent years have seen digital communities provide support for working mothers.
Online parenting groups can help provide a sense of reprieve as the pressure mounts. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram all provide ways to interact with other parents facing similar issues and situations.
There are organisations in West Australia and Australia created for female lawyers that may be able to offer information regarding workplace equality and related policies, as well as general support, and a sense of community.
Work is always underway to ensure new initiatives are embraced, and issues such as gender bias and the pay gap are scrutinised. But for some women, staying at the top of their game professionally and personally, is exhausting work.
Self Care for Mum
In 2019, the World Health Organisation recognised burnout as an occupational phenomenon. Burnout can happen for myriad reasons. One example is when what needs to be done, and the time available, don’t match up. Theory and reality misalign.
Self-care sounds easy, but when time is short, feels impossible. If responsibilities are impacting you negatively, reach out to management. Your health matters, and there are initiatives available to assist you in stabilising a workable balance.
Progressive Workplace Culture
At McKenna & Associates, our specialist recruitment team understands how imperative it is that client placement meets the needs of all parties involved. This includes taking into account the requests of mothers in the legal field.
We believe in finding positions where women are encouraged, and mothers feel supported by their peers. Being a parent is important work, and a workplace culture that doesn’t recognise this is problematic.
McKenna & Associates believes increasing the retainment of female lawyers, including mothers, is an important ongoing issue for today’s legal industry. As recruiters, we are committed to placing women in positive workplace environments.
Mothers need to feel supported, and employers need to understand the power of an adaptable mindset. Flexibility has become integral to landing talented individuals, and the returns of innovative management are manifold.