Witch hunts haven’t really gone away.
They now take the form of keeping us ‘in our place’.
Women face biases in the legal industry, as well as in many other sectors. But Justice is supposed to be blind (and female), and yet we are penalised by our gender.
The court system is so difficult that it has generated a profession around it – lawyers. There’s only a certain amount of government funding for people to get legal assistance, and so most legal advice is provided by private firms.
We know it’s about 83% of women who do not get professional legal advice, if they face a legal problem.
So, where are they getting their advice from? Google, Facebook, friends, family. Not necessarily great sources.
That’s partly why I have our Facebook Group, because this at least is a reliable resource.
The bigger problem is; how do I create a place where women can get legal information, legal education, improve their legal literacy? As in, understanding what they’re going to be facing and what is needed of them?
That is why Legally Wise Women was born.
Back to the concept of the witch hunts, and the biases that we face, to keep us down.
We are conditioned to communicate a certain way when we are little girls – more passively and nurturing than boys. But when you come up into a dispute resolution process or the Court, or you are a witness (whether prosecuting your own matter or a witness for someone else) – the way that we are taught to communicate as women is detrimental to us in the legal industry.
The way that we are taught to communicate as women is detrimental to us in a legal dispute.
How do we need to communicate and behave slightly differently? What do we need to be conscious of? What biases can we overturn just by changing our language slightly, just by being conscious, just by approaching it slightly differently?
Lawyers aren’t necessarily going to help you with this stuff. A counsellor or support person could help put some of this stuff in context, but I’m just trying to be very, very blunt about what you’re going to be facing.
Have a bit of a reality check.
Also, think about what your values are and how you want to behave and be perceived. Quite often, the emotional and stressful toll can mean that we do not behave in our integrity.
We may become vindictive, which is not necessarily going to be something that you want to live with later down the track. You’re not going to necessarily be happy with the outcome or your own behaviour.