A study of discrimination and gender bias in the Philadelphia legal community is being planned to verify the problem, according to a report in B’nai B’rith Women. The study is being undertaken in cooperation with the Women’s Law Project of the newly-formed Women’s Rights Commission of the Philadelphia Bar Association. It will examine how women are treated as attorneys, litigants, and witnesses.
Meryl Gindin, a corporate attorney for the past three years and president of the BBW Berna Marshall chapter in Philadelphia, said that a very powerful form of discrimination comes into play when a woman takes a job in a law firm, based upon male perception of how a woman should behave. “A woman can be aggressive, tough, authoritative, and strong, all of the things a client wants her to be,” Gindin declared. But the rest of the time, that same tough attorney is expected to be “a good little girl. Authoritativeness in a man is regarded as pushiness in a woman; adamancy is seen a strength of character in a man but is called bitchiness in a woman.”