Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

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Lwoods1020
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby Lwoods1020 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:54 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:
scoobers wrote:
Lwoods1020 wrote:a woman as a URM... seriously? women make up about half if not more at just about every school...


Uh...no. That's completely wrong. Most schools are male-majority; you can look it up on LSAC (I would actually do it and put it up, but my computer is slow and it's really easy to find).

http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/ ... eckdam.pdf

Male: 53%
Female: 47%


I was close.

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dresden doll
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby dresden doll » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:56 pm

Psingh wrote:
Clearly wrote:Because diversity goals aren't based on the legal field, they are based on matriculants, and most schools are actually quite balanced in male/female.


What's the reason they base it on matriculants as opposed to the legal field? It will take like 30 years until women are equally represented in the legal field like this.


The issue of women not making partner as frequently as men isn't solved by admitting more women to law school.

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yeslekkkk
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby yeslekkkk » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:59 pm

Lwoods1020 wrote:
kappycaft1 wrote:
scoobers wrote:
Lwoods1020 wrote:a woman as a URM... seriously? women make up about half if not more at just about every school...


Uh...no. That's completely wrong. Most schools are male-majority; you can look it up on LSAC (I would actually do it and put it up, but my computer is slow and it's really easy to find).

http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/ ... eckdam.pdf

Male: 53%
Female: 47%


I was close.


While being a woman may not be considered URM, I am sure schools take gender/sex into account when creating their IL class. They don't want a class that is 70 percent male, 30 percent female. So, just like UG or state of residency, they take that into account.

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Decimus
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby Decimus » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:09 pm

chneyo wrote:This whole thread...
:roll: :shock:


Sometimes one finds himself reading an entire thread just to catch an actual eye roll.

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midwest17
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby midwest17 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:15 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
NYstate wrote:
Psingh wrote:Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM when these groups are clearly underrepresented in the legal field? For example there are more male attorneys and more male partners than female/transgender partners at big firms. So would it not make sense to in addition to accepting more African Americans, to also admit more women to law school to balance the scale?


There are many successful women lawyers you can't just look at biglaw or firm figures. I was shocked when I was as a bar association meeting and found out the vast majority of lawyers in New York are solo practitioners. Just looking at biglaw ignores all the women practicing in small firms.

This is true, but it's also clear that the power and prestige of the legal profession is centered in biglaw, where women are underrepresented.


One could choose to interpret the data as "women, unlike men, are pursuing worthwhile careers rather than biglaw partnerships." :)

Of course, that's probably not true. The fact that the numbers for associates are closer than the numbers for partners suggests that something more insidious is going on. But it is possible that women are lateraling out to PI/gov/policy at higher rates than men, which wouldn't obviously be a bad thing.

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dresden doll
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby dresden doll » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:44 pm

I think the lack of women in the biglaw partnership ranks pretty clearly relates to the fact that women tend to drop out of the rat race in order to have kids.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:05 pm

midwest17 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:This is true, but it's also clear that the power and prestige of the legal profession is centered in biglaw, where women are underrepresented.


One could choose to interpret the data as "women, unlike men, are pursuing worthwhile careers rather than biglaw partnerships." :)

Of course, that's probably not true. The fact that the numbers for associates are closer than the numbers for partners suggests that something more insidious is going on. But it is possible that women are lateraling out to PI/gov/policy at higher rates than men, which wouldn't obviously be a bad thing.

:) I should have qualified that. Personally, I agree with you about the worthwhile careers; I never even tried for the biglaw path, and think that lateraling out to other kinds of jobs probably makes most people happier. But while the money is concentrated in biglaw, I do worry about women's underrepresentation. (I know that mass torts-type solos can make way more than people in biglaw, but I don't see a lot of women doing that either.)

(I mean, I think you know that's what I meant, but thought I'd say all that anyway. :P )

I also agree with dresden about the effect of having kids. I don't think it should have to be that way, but I know going into the cause and effect of that and what employers should be doing vs what the employees should be doing to address that is usually a long tedious and unproductive conversation, so I'll pass.

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dresden doll
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby dresden doll » Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:09 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote: I don't think it should have to be that way, but I know going into the cause and effect of that and what employers should be doing vs what the employees should be doing to address that is usually a long tedious and unproductive conversation, so I'll pass.


I don't think it should be that way either, but even if employers were wonderful, the problem in re: long hours would remain. It's not fun being the mom who never makes it to her child's daycare for the annual Thanksgiving play.

It's not fun being that dad either, but the reality is that men are far more easily forgiven for their career-related absences.

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midwest17
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby midwest17 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:23 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
midwest17 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:This is true, but it's also clear that the power and prestige of the legal profession is centered in biglaw, where women are underrepresented.


One could choose to interpret the data as "women, unlike men, are pursuing worthwhile careers rather than biglaw partnerships." :)

Of course, that's probably not true. The fact that the numbers for associates are closer than the numbers for partners suggests that something more insidious is going on. But it is possible that women are lateraling out to PI/gov/policy at higher rates than men, which wouldn't obviously be a bad thing.

:) I should have qualified that. Personally, I agree with you about the worthwhile careers; I never even tried for the biglaw path, and think that lateraling out to other kinds of jobs probably makes most people happier. But while the money is concentrated in biglaw, I do worry about women's underrepresentation. (I know that mass torts-type solos can make way more than people in biglaw, but I don't see a lot of women doing that either.)

(I mean, I think you know that's what I meant, but thought I'd say all that anyway. :P )

I also agree with dresden about the effect of having kids. I don't think it should have to be that way, but I know going into the cause and effect of that and what employers should be doing vs what the employees should be doing to address that is usually a long tedious and unproductive conversation, so I'll pass.


Oh yeah, I understand what you meant and I agree that the imbalance in the distribution of high-salary jobs is problematic. I mostly wanted to take the opportunity to poke the biglaw bear. :D

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lawschool22
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby lawschool22 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:07 pm

dresden doll wrote:I think the lack of women in the biglaw partnership ranks pretty clearly relates to the fact that women tend to drop out of the rat race in order to have kids.


Note: The following comments are based on a combination of data and written work I have read on this subject, as well as a healthy dose of my own opinion, intuition, anecdotal evidence, and common sense. Take with a healthy grain of salt.

I don't want to get bogged down into this thread, because there are so many variables at play for explaining the disparity between women and men as biglaw partners and the upper-levels of corporate America in general. There are societal pressures and structures in play, personal preferences of the employee, subconscious gender biases that go both ways, and so many others.

I believe dresden has it partly right. The number of women leaving the workforce to raise kids does far outstrip the rate of men doing so. We can argue why this is, whether this is right or how it "should be" ad naseum. But the basic fact remains that this does have an effect on the chances of someone making partner at a large law firm. Sure the institution should be fully supportive of someone's choice to do this, and I am sure that many are. However the role of a partner is to bring in business, network, maintain existing client relationships, etc., all of which is very difficult to put on pause and come back to after a year or several, regardless of whether you're a man or woman. I am sure that if someone could take leave to raise a family, and them come back, bring in tons of business, maintain their old clients, etc., they would have a fair chance at partnership. But this is a) hard to do, and b) likely sounds much less desirable once you do have kids. Who wants to work biglaw hours in lieu of seeing their baby take her first steps, or watching your kid place 1st in the local spelling bee?

Yes, there are women and men who have balanced family with biglaw partnership, but I would venture to say there are a fair amount of people for whom this isn't desirable, and this accounts for some of the discrepancy. Again, I'm not taking a position on whether this societal "expectation" of women is right, just, should be changed, etc. I'm just stating that this is the way things currently stand, and accounts for a piece of this.

There is another piece of this that is certainly related to institutional (read: law school) gender biases from a few decades ago. The majority of biglaw partners today are older men who went to school at a time when the number of women graduating law school was much lower than it is now. Of course, then, it should be no surprise that currently there are more men in biglaw as partners. This should slowly start to correct itself over time, as the number of women graduating law school has increased compared to prior years.

I am sure, too, that there is a small piece of the disparity that relates to sub-conscious (or even conscious) gender discrimination from biglaw partners today. But I am sure this too should start to change. More and more men and women are going to school together in more equal numbers, men and women are working together in more equal numbers, so as the male piece of the partnership gets younger, I would expect we will see a larger acceptance of women by said partnership. As more women partners get admitted, an even greater acceptance of women should occur, and eventually parity should be reached (if you control for the other, non-discriminatory self-selection related factors discussed earlier).

I don't want to get into the whole "men are more competitive" crap that was bandied about earlier. I have a hunch that there may be a greater number of men who want to be biglaw partners in the first place, but I have absolutely no data to support this. It would be an interesting survey/study if it was ever done. At this point I don't know if this is true or not, so I don't think we should consider it.

Most likely I missed some other factors at play here, but I hit on a few. The main point, though, is that I don't believe current law school admissions are to blame, or can do much at this point to correct for this. It is much more a societal and firm issue. Law schools have, for the most part, reached parity among admissions for men and women. This will have positive long-term effects on women practicing in large law firms, which is truly a positive change. But because schools have reached near parity, women aren't really under-represented nor a minority in the sense of the URM definition, which explains why women are not getting a URM boost.

I hope this post hasn't offended anyone, because I would never mean it in that way. If anyone has criticisms of my thoughts, I would be happy to discuss them!

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby NYstate » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:35 pm

I'm willing to.just go with institutionalized sexism. Every department at my firm has had women who were up for partner, some get passed over, even though they are excellent lawyers and are often recruited to go into other firms as partners. Of course, some women do make partner.

The problem is that there are no lists external to a firm of who is up for partnership. I'm willing to guess there are women in every department and every major firm (or at least one woman) who had a reasonable shot at making partner. There is no good way to analyze the number of women who are deferred or passed over when men in the same department make it.

Some of these women have kids. Some don't.

My point is that there are plenty of women who are gunning for partner,maybe not as many men, but they are there with every class and in every department.

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lawschool22
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby lawschool22 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:40 pm

NYstate wrote:I'm willing to.just go with institutionalized sexism. Every department at my firm has had women who were up for partner, some get passed over, even though they are excellent lawyers and are often recruited to go into other firms as partners. Of course, some women do make partner.

The problem is that there are no lists external to a firm of who is up for partnership. I'm willing to guess there are women in every department and every major firm (or at least one woman) who had a reasonable shot at making partner. There is no good way to analyze the number of women who are deferred or passed over when men in the same department make it.

Some of these women have kids. Some don't.

My point is that there are plenty of women who are gunning for partner,maybe not as many men, but they are there with every class and in every department.


I agree with you on this, I just don't think institutionalized sexism is the only factor at play, and to think so would be to ignore other important factors.

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Decimus
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby Decimus » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:47 pm

lawschool22 wrote:
NYstate wrote:I'm willing to.just go with institutionalized sexism. Every department at my firm has had women who were up for partner, some get passed over, even though they are excellent lawyers and are often recruited to go into other firms as partners. Of course, some women do make partner.

The problem is that there are no lists external to a firm of who is up for partnership. I'm willing to guess there are women in every department and every major firm (or at least one woman) who had a reasonable shot at making partner. There is no good way to analyze the number of women who are deferred or passed over when men in the same department make it.

Some of these women have kids. Some don't.

My point is that there are plenty of women who are gunning for partner,maybe not as many men, but they are there with every class and in every department.


I agree with you on this, I just don't think institutionalized sexism is the only factor at play, and to think so would be to ignore other important factors.


Bingo.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby NYstate » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:13 pm

Decimus wrote:
lawschool22 wrote:
NYstate wrote:I'm willing to.just go with institutionalized sexism. Every department at my firm has had women who were up for partner, some get passed over, even though they are excellent lawyers and are often recruited to go into other firms as partners. Of course, some women do make partner.

The problem is that there are no lists external to a firm of who is up for partnership. I'm willing to guess there are women in every department and every major firm (or at least one woman) who had a reasonable shot at making partner. There is no good way to analyze the number of women who are deferred or passed over when men in the same department make it.

Some of these women have kids. Some don't.

My point is that there are plenty of women who are gunning for partner,maybe not as many men, but they are there with every class and in every department.


I agree with you on this, I just don't think institutionalized sexism is the only factor at play, and to think so would be to ignore other important factors.


Bingo.


I'm just asking people to not underestimate the number of women who are there gunning for partner. Some of these posts make it sound as if all the competitive women fall away before their partnership year and that is why no women are making partner. I don't buy the maternity leave reason, many people don't take off years to raise their kids. They are gone for a few months. As I said, at my firm almost all the women partners have kids. That didn't prevent them from making partner.

Don't forget that many of these women are making a huge salary and are driven by work. They aren't so likely to just walk away from that. I feel that some of these posts are stereotyping big law women without any real knowledge of who they are. Lots of people can't take big law and move on to other things. But people who want to stay and gun for partner aren't those people.

Sorry for being repetitive. You guys get my point - women with excellent chances of making partner are being passed over.(so.are men) They've done similar work, run similar transactions, serviced the same clients. It mostly comes down to the pull of the senior partners they work with and how much those partners advocate for them. And the partnership has to agree to the number of new partners they want to make. That is where institutionalized sexism comes into play.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby lawschool22 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:17 pm

NYstate wrote:
Decimus wrote:
lawschool22 wrote:
NYstate wrote:I'm willing to.just go with institutionalized sexism. Every department at my firm has had women who were up for partner, some get passed over, even though they are excellent lawyers and are often recruited to go into other firms as partners. Of course, some women do make partner.

The problem is that there are no lists external to a firm of who is up for partnership. I'm willing to guess there are women in every department and every major firm (or at least one woman) who had a reasonable shot at making partner. There is no good way to analyze the number of women who are deferred or passed over when men in the same department make it.

Some of these women have kids. Some don't.

My point is that there are plenty of women who are gunning for partner,maybe not as many men, but they are there with every class and in every department.


I agree with you on this, I just don't think institutionalized sexism is the only factor at play, and to think so would be to ignore other important factors.


Bingo.


I'm just asking people to not underestimate the number of women who are there gunning for partner. Some of these posts make it sound as if all the competitive women fall away before their partnership year and that is why no women are making partner. I don't buy the maternity leave reason, many people don't take off years to raise their kids. They are gone for a few months. As I said, at my firm almost all the women partners have kids. That didn't prevent them from making partner.

Don't forget that many of these women are making a huge salary and are driven by work. They aren't so likely to just walk away from that. I feel that some of these posts are stereotyping big law women without any real knowledge of who they are. Lots of people can't take big law and move on to other things. But people who want to stay and gun for partner aren't those people.

Sorry for being repetitive. You guys get my point - women with excellent chances of making partner are being passed over.(so.are men) They've done similar work, run similar transactions, serviced the same clients. It mostly comes down to the pull of the senior partners they work with and how much those partners advocate for them. And the partnership has to agree to the number of new partners they want to make. That is where institutionalized sexism comes into play.


These are all fair points. Do we have any data on the number of women gunning for biglaw partnerships vs. men? That would be interesting to see.

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PepperJack
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby PepperJack » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:32 pm

It's URM based on being an attorney, not a partner. I'm sure women sometimes do get discriminated against in making partner. There was a study that showed white females are more likely than black lawyers to feel a client treated them differently than they would a white male. Producing more female lawyers would not address this issue. Additionally, there is a tangible benefit in helping more minorities join the legal profession. Many racial groups are more inclined to trust lawyers in their own racial group, and these lawyers are more likely to demonstrate an interest in helping people from their demographic. There's no data showing women are more likely to trust or even prefer female attorneys. Women as a community also are not underserved legally, but women from a certain city may be. For example, a woman in the inner-city who cannot find affordable representation isn't in this predicament because she's a woman. She's in it because she is from the inner-city.

With regards to homosexuality, I am not sure if they are underrepresented in the legal profession. It is a tough thing to assess because sexual preference is not really something you would know by looking at someone. Additionally, there is no evidence that the gay community is underserved as a group or struggles financially. Most legal work that needs to be done in more diverse communities deals with issues of poverty, employment, education, etc. The gay community isn't really geographically isolated like an inner-city is. Lastly the whole justification for extending preferential treatment to underrepresented minorities is that by producing more black attorneys now, for instance, we will not need to extend preferential treatment in the future because their children are going to be much more likely to become attorneys too so ultimately there will be equality. There is no evidence that children of gay parents will also be gay so even if we produce more gay attorneys now there's no evidence that this will lead to the same end result.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby 20141023 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:33 pm

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Last edited by 20141023 on Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby dresden doll » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:37 pm

Just to be clear, I wasn't trying to identify having kids as the only reason behind women's underrepresentation in biglaw. And I certainly don't identify it as the main reason for passing over the 7th year associate in favor of her male counterpart. But I do think that the vast majority of women don't even make it to the 7th year, and I also think that the most frequent reason for them dropping out of the rat race before the finish line (i.e. the moment you get to be considered for partner) involves having kids.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby 20141023 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:47 pm

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:56 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:
dresden doll wrote:Just to be clear, I wasn't trying to identify having kids as the only reason behind women's underrepresentation in biglaw. And I certainly don't identify it as the main reason for passing over the 7th year associate in favor of her male counterpart. But I do think that the vast majority of women don't even make it to the 7th year, and I also think that the most frequent reason for them dropping out of the rat race before the finish line (i.e. the moment you get to be considered for partner) involves having kids.

Unfortunately, The NALP Foundation only provides associate attrition data for 1~5 years at the firm, but from what limited information we do have, it looks like more men are leaving within the first 5 years than women:

Image

However, as I posted on the first page, their reasons for leaving are often quite different; males are more likely to leave their firms for a better shot at becoming a partner, whereas females are more likely to leave their firm for non-work-related reasons (such as family responsibilities, spouse relocation, etc.).

Do those stats distinguish between leaving for another job and just leaving, period?

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dresden doll
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby dresden doll » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:58 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:However, as I posted on the first page, their reasons for leaving are often quite different; males are more likely to leave their firms for a better shot at becoming a partner, whereas females are more likely to leave their firm for non-work-related reasons (such as family responsibilities, spouse relocation, etc.).


Right - this is about what I would expect.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby 20141023 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:20 pm

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Ron Mexico
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby Ron Mexico » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:24 pm

Have we considered the possibility that maybe women just aren't as smart and hard working as men?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:28 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Do those stats distinguish between leaving for another job and just leaving, period?

Image

*The numbers do not add up to 100% because they aren't mutually exclusive (in other words, more than one reason could have been indicated).

Thanks. That kind of suggests that what dresden said and what you said aren't contradictory: that men and women leave any given firm at about the same rate, but women drop out of big firm life more often men do (men just go to other jobs).

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby ScottRiqui » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:30 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Do those stats distinguish between leaving for another job and just leaving, period?

Image

*The numbers do not add up to 100% because they aren't mutually exclusive (in other words, more than one reason could have been indicated).


I think it's telling that the only specified destinations (other than clerking) that are more prevalent for women than men are "non-legal corporate/business", "caretaker for dependents", and "non-profit staff". Then there's the whole "undecided/unknown/other" block.




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