Monday, January 22, 2007

A historic day at the firm today. The partnership held elections this afternoon for a handful of leadership positions that recently opened up with some departures and deaths. For the first time in the firm's history, a woman was elected to a leadership position. I'm very pleased that we've finally taken this long-overdue step. Women have worked hard to establish their equality here, and largely foregone the opportunity to have spouses and children just to show everyone how dedicated to the firm they can be. And now, finally, after more than four years of having female partners, a woman has been named Head of Female Issues at the firm. I think I heard a cheer reverberating through the halls just a few seconds after the e-mail was sent out announcing the election results. (It might have just been because they were refilling the vending machine at the same time, I'm not sure... we'd been out of Salt & Vinegar chips for about a week and people were starting to get desperate.) It was a hard-fought contest between the woman who won and three very well-qualified men, with a combined 9 wives and 7 daughters, so they definitely have experience dealing with women. And I'm sure they would have done an excellent job in the role but that isn't the point. I know this is a controversial position, but I think we should be choosing women for leadership roles when they are 25% more qualified than the men, or more. I'm fighting a battle to get that language added to the firm's constitution, but right now all it says it that women are not prohibited from having leadership positions and that a woman's vote at the partnership meeting counts for 2/5ths of a man's vote, with a similar calculation used to determine partnership profits. I've argued we should bump that up to 65%, on the grounds that the women are a lot more masculine nowadays than they used to be, but I was voted down. Because I exhibit some feminine qualities (I've only been married once, my office is relatively clean), my votes only count 87.5%, so sometimes it's hard for me to carry a resolution through. But I will continue to try.

We almost had two women elected to leadership positions, but the woman running for Chair of the Coffee Committee lost by a hundred and three votes. Okay, it wasn't close, but at least she had the courage to run. We should have more plucky women like her at the firm. She's a sparkplug. I see great things in her future. Maybe even her own office someday, and a secretary. I'm working on getting her a desk chair next time someone quits. I keep promising it, but new men keep getting hired, so they get first priority.

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