Saturday, March 18, 2006

The NY Times had a reminder today that CS isn't the only field with few women at the top. Why Do So Few Women Reach the Top of Big Law Firms?
We tend to focus a lot on the lack of women in CS, Physics, and other sciences, where women are usually scarce from intro classes all the way through college, grad school, and jobs. Law apparently has a lot of women who enter the field in law school, but only a teensy percentage make it to partner many years later. It's a really interesting look at a familiar problem in an entirely different field. For instance, they call out this:
One of the main bugaboos in this debate — and one that analysts says is increasingly cropping up as an issue for male lawyers as well — is the billable hours regime. Billing by the hour requires lawyers to work on a stopwatch so their productivity can be tracked minute by minute — and so clients can be charged accordingly. Over the last two decades, as law firms have devoted themselves more keenly to the bottom line, depression and dissatisfaction rates among both female and male lawyers has grown, analysts say; many lawyers of both genders have found their schedules and the nature of their work to be dispiriting.
What a different way of working from the dotcom world. We care more about what you produce at the end of day than how much time it took. And keeping track of 7 minute increments would destroy my concentration. Most days I don't even notice the time when I'm writing something until my dog starts poking my knee with his nose to let me know that he really needs a walk.
I have no great ideas on how to increase the number of women in either CS or law, but I did enjoy reading about how another industry grapples with the same problem.

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