Member Groups

The Catalyst
The newsletter of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Women and the Law

January 2018, vol. 23, no. 3

Chair column

Happy New Year! As 2018 opens, we continue to see calls for change, mostly in the entertainment industry. A story has recently come to light regarding the movie “All the Money in the World.” The movie needed to be reshot after the lead male actor was fired after allegations of sexual misconduct and was replaced by another actor. The two other lead actors received grossly divergent wages for the reshoot. The male lead was paid $1.5 million, while the female lead was paid less than $1,000. The female lead has been in the entertainment industry for over 20 years and has been nominated for an Academy Award in the past. Other actors have expressed outrage over this disparity.

Of course, the movie example is in an industry other than the legal industry. It will be interesting to see how the publicity regarding the pay disparity in this movie reshoot may translate into other fields.

This year, the #MeToo movement has spawned an offshoot—Time’s Up. The Time’s Up website states, “The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It’s time to do something about it.” In a letter of support dated January 1, 2018, women in the entertainment industry pledge their support for women employed in the agricultural industry and to all victims and survivors of sexual harassment and sexual violence. Time’s Up’s Legal Defense Fund subsidizes legal support for individuals who have experienced sexual harassment or related retaliation in the workplace. The website also states, “No more silence. No more waiting. No more tolerance for discrimination, harassment or abuse. TIME’S UP.” Please go to https://www.timesupnow.com/ if you would like more information.

As a former domestic violence prosecutor, I regularly attend vigils and gatherings supporting survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence. Every year, I wonder when we will no longer need a month or a march or a vigil to raise awareness of these issues. These issues have long existed in our society, albeit for a long time in the shadows. To borrow a phrase, time’s up. If you are able, please see how you can volunteer to assist survivors and raise awareness in your area.

The work of our committee to recognize the achievements of women in our profession continues. We also continue to raise awareness about equal pay, the ERA, and other issues affecting women in general and in our profession.

Guests are always welcome at our meetings and events. We hope that you can join us at one! It is always a pleasure to meet other attorneys working on issues affecting women. Please enjoy this wonderful issue of “The Catalyst.” I hope that 2018 brings you and your family joy, peace, and happiness!