I’ve been doing a little bit more reading into women and the law, and I came across this statement (thankfully it was over 100 years old), but it was a statement from a man in the legal industry saying that women, when they have to deal with disputes in the law, are “irrational, illogical, emotional, and erratic”. That’s how women were described.
It just demonstrates what women were thought of as the legal system developed. That’s the bias that women are dealing with, built into the system!
To a subtle degree, this viewpoint continues. When juries are selected, sometimes there will be this bias that women are highly emotional, that they’re illogical, that they’re irrational. Sometimes the bias pervades amongst the representatives, and sometimes also the judiciary.
So in dealing with this attitude that women come to face, we need to be prepared to counter it.
The fact is that all humans are biologically wired to have a stress response. So men, just as much as women, can have a stress response – triggering into flight, fight or freeze.
With your own stress response, you need to learn how to manage it. If you go into flight, fight, or freeze, you won’t be able to necessarily make logical decisions.
And yes, if you are in a stress state, you tend to be more emotional. However, that’s not to say that men don’t get into the exact same position. They might just show their emotions differently, but in fact, their brains can also be non-functional in the same state.
Tips to come back down off that emotional state:
- conscious breathing. Put your hand on your stomach, breath so your stomach relaxes and fills with your breath, and try box-breathing (4 counts in, 4 counts hold, 4 counts out, 4 counts hold).
- understand that it can take 20 minutes to recover from a stress state. If you go into fight, flight or freeze, have a phrase pre-prepared so that you’re confident to ask for a break. Or if you are bringing a support person, make sure they know that it’s their primary role to make sure you take a break if you can stressed. Go for a walk.
- ask your brain a complex question. If you are being reactive and in a stress response, the blood has gone away from your brain and gone out to your limbs (you’re preparing to run, you’re preparing to fight). So the blood gets moved away from the brain and you’re getting pumped up with adrenaline. Asking your brain a complex question can divert some of that blood from your limbs back to your brain.
What sort of complex questions should you ask yourself?
- What do I want in this situation?
- What do I want for others?
- And what do I want for this relationship?
If you ask an open-ended question, it’s surprising how the brain can refocus itself and that blood flow comes back, and your brain can actually start problem solving again.
I have many more tips and techniques like this in the “How to Negotiate for What You Want” course in the Legally Wise Women platform. Jump into the free section here.