The American Bar Association is serious about gender equity in the workplace. And no wonder. Statistics show that the average white woman earns 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns. For other women, things are even worse. In the legal profession, women partners earn significantly less than their male counterparts even when they're doing the same work, with a similar book of business, and are making similar contributions to the law firm.
What to do? The ABA has invited everyone to join a "virtual march" for gender equity by clicking an icon. The virtual march started on Equal Pay Day on April 9th and continues through the ABA’s Day of the Woman on August 9, 2013. Here's the pitch:
The visual of hundreds of thousands of people descending on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and the sea of people coming together for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963 has become an iconic representation of people standing in concert to effect change. While nothing can ever replace the historic transcendence of that day, in this new millennium a virtual voice carries the same power and ability to effect change as a physical presence. Can you hear the swell of a million women and men clicking their mouse in a virtual march for the basic right of equality? We can! In that vein, the ABA Task Force on Gender Equity invites all to participate in a virtual march in support of gender equity.
It's hard to pick a favorite sentence in that paragraph, but we'll go with this one for mind-blowing understatement -- "While nothing can ever replace [rival?] the historic transcendence of that day, in this new millennium a virtual voice carries the same power and ability to effect change as a physical presence." Umhh, really?
While we were transfixed by the rhetoric of the pitch, Prof. Christine Hurt at the Conglomerate Blog was focusing on the graphics -- the icon the ABA is urging folks to click on to join the virtual march. Playing on the pun "Click your heels," the ABA has chosen a pair of red high heels. Hurt observes:
There's nothing that says equity more than imagining a female attorney in shoes that are made more for nighttime party activities than working as an attorney. High heels, particularly sky-high heels, in red nonetheless, aren't really associated with gender equity. They are associated with sexy fashions and foot problems. I don't think I can "march" either virtually or literally in those shoes.
If we've said it once, we've said it a thousand times -- puns can be dangerous.