Women in the Law

Responses wanted: Motherhood penalty and caregiver bias will be evaluated in new ABA survey

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Working mother at a laptop with a baby

Image from Shutterstock.

The ABA Commission on Women in the Profession is launching a new survey to assess how the motherhood penalty and other caregiver bias impacts the careers of female lawyers.

The goal of the Parenthood and Child Caregiver Study, which opens Sept. 8, is to determine which policies and practices in the legal profession have implicitly or explicitly affected the advancement and retention of those who care for children. It also aims to develop recommendations and resources to help legal employers and state and local bar associations address these issues comprehensively and inclusively.

Maureen Mulligan, the chair of the Commission on Women in the Profession, wrote about the survey in her August Chair’s Column, saying she hopes to distribute it to ABA members and nonmembers alike to obtain a variety of responses from all areas of the legal profession. All legal professionals are encouraged to reply, regardless of gender or parental status.

“Robust survey data from all types of practices and a diverse population of lawyers will provide the depth of information needed to make the most impactful recommendations for addressing this bias,” wrote Mulligan, an associate justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court.

The Parenthood and Child Caregiver Study is available on the Commission on Women in the Profession’s website. It will remain open for three weeks.

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