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YWL responds to criticism of event

|Written By Young Women in Law
YWL responds to criticism of event

Young Women in Law  is a not for profit organization dedicated to advancing the interests of women lawyers in the early stages of their careers, and strives to meet the diverse needs of its roughly 275 members. In meeting those diverse needs, YWL endeavours to host a variety of events — both substantive and social. One of the many tools we use to advance our members’ professional interests is by hosting networking opportunities, opportunities that are not provided enough to junior female lawyers.

In January 2013, the Justicia Project of the Law Society of Upper Canada released its “Guide to Business Development for Women Lawyers.” This report noted that being a lawyer is far more multi-faceted than simply doing good work, and stated the following at page 5:

“Most lawyers and many law firms understand the reality that it takes more than being a great lawyer to be successful. Yet, many firms still underemphasize the importance of honing business development skills from an early stage in your career. The result is that associates who never learned how to develop client business struggle when they become partners and are suddenly responsible for generating work.”

YWL seeks to minimize that development gap and help women in the early stages of their careers by providing a supportive network and events that help to advance the skills that they need to set themselves onto the career path that they want.

The “Beauty Gurus in Law” event hosted on Nov. 26, 2015 was a casual event featuring refreshments, light snacks, and an instructional session on make-up products. It was designed to first and foremost provide an opportunity for our members to deploy their networking skills in an informal setting.

YWL has hosted, and will continue to host, other networking events, such as morning yoga classes, wine tasting seminars, and cocktail receptions (including those co-hosted with other organizations like Women in Capital Markets).

Our organization has also hosted numerous substantive workshops and panel discussions, including the following: securing employment after articles, negotiating in your career, formulating career plans, participating in performance reviews, building resilience and happiness, and maximizing mentor relationships.

All of these events together provide our members with guidance on how to navigate all facets of their legal careers strategically and with professionalism.

Finally, YWL values giving back to the community and annually hosts a charity gala, which last year sold 250 tickets and raised $18,000 in support of Covenant House.

We thank Canadian Lawyer for featuring videos of both a substantive YWL event entitled “Life after Hireback” and a fun, social networking Shiseido event entitled “Beauty Gurus in Law” in order to illustrate the breadth of our members’ interests and the variety of our event programming.

For more information on YWL and our wide range of events, please visit our web site.

  • Almost makes it worse

    Female Lawyer
    This total non-response makes it apparent that YWL simply doesn't get it. It does not in any way address the concerns raised about the original post. YWL appears to be completely clueless as to why this event and the article were problematic in the first place. If anything, this so-called response to criticism just makes things worse, since it even more explicitly links make-up with business development and professionalism. Also, morning yoga, cocktail receptions and wine tasting seminars? Wow, what a variety of non-gendered, non-stereotypical events. So inclusive!
  • That changes everything

    Young Woman Lawyer
    I was unaware your organization has previously hosted morning yoga. This totally changes the analysis on whether or not discussing makeup application as a mandatory business skill is sexist and unhelpful.
  • Non-Response

    Why even bother?
    Why even bother publishing a response if it's not going to respond to the criticism that was leveled at the original event and Canadian Lawyer Magazine's coverage? This 'response' completely misses the mark in terms of addressing the fact that make-up (and not that cheap stuff!) was chacterized as an essential component of professionalism for young female lawyers. Frankly, it reads as pretty disingenuous to now claim this was a networking event while feigning ignorance as to the damage this type of sexism does to women.
  • Not really a response

    Adam B
    None of this really explains why you chose to host an event that explicitly put forward the horribly out-dated notion that a woman has to conform to societal (male-dominated) notions of beauty in order to succeed.

    Invoking the importance of "networking" does nothing to justify your decision to host this *type* of networking event.

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