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be subjected to sexual harassment. But efforts to advance or help one gender
do not require denying another gender’s concerns. Mapping Her Path
is focused on women’s retention and advancement because the numbers
indicate a clear gender inequality. The legal profession is losing more
women than men, while women remain underrepresented at the partnership
Comment 4: There are many things being done and there is no need to do more.
There are a number of phenomenal initiatives and programs in place that
support female lawyers. The Justicia project, first developed in Ontario, has
been facilitated by the Law Society of British Columbia and undertaken by
law firms since 2012.4 It provides model policies on matters such as
parental leave and flexible working arrangements, as well as best practice
guides tailored to a female audience and relating to topics such as career
advancement, business development and leadership skills development.5
The Women Lawyers Forum (“WLF”) of the CBA has also addressed these
issues with its very successful mentoring program for CBA members. In
2016 the CBA National Women Lawyers Forum ran a campaign called
#WriteYourWrong, inviting lawyers to write in about their experiences with
sexual harassment in law firms and, in 2017, the forum produced a podcast
called “Not Just a Bystander” in response.6
But even with these comprehensive, coordinated, industry-wide efforts
to improve gender diversity, issues remain outstanding. The challenges
that women face in the legal profession continue to affect their career decisions
and result in a loss of talent from the profession.
In the 2015 Mapping Her Path survey referred to above, female lawyers
described their struggles to manage career transitions and to be taken seriously
in their respective workplaces, as well as their aspirations for the profession.
Most respondents provided detailed accounts of ways in which they
had experienced gender-related discrimination in the form of negative
treatment, harassment, limited options or untenable choices. Commonly
cited issues included a lack of support for maternity leave, a lack of accommodation
for parenting responsibilities, and a lack of professional opportunities
and mentorship for career success and partnership.
In this context, Mapping Her Path is an important project that is helping
the profession to work collaboratively, talk about the issues and guide the
new wave of law school graduates to transform the profession.
Mapping Her Path draws upon the experience of female lawyers that
have faced and overcome many gender barriers. It also draws upon the
enthusiasm and concerns of early-career lawyers and law students. By