Conference Recap Part IV and Video
Many thanks to outgoing YLW Chair and YLS second-year student Lauren Gerber for notes on the following panel.
Leslie Bennetts, author of The Feminine Mistake, and Michael Teter, of Workplace Flexibility 2010, debated whether or not the solution to women leaving the legal profession lies with individual women or with institutional structures.
Ms. Bennetts described her findings after researching what happens to women who do “opt out”: they sacrifice enormous amounts of income over their lifetime, they have extremely difficult times trying to return to the workforce, and they become depressed and unhealthy. Ms. Bennetts urged the audience to stick it out through the hard early child-rearing years, despite institutional roadblocks.
Mr. Teter, in turn, described the three areas of focus for Workplace Flexibility 2010: Flexible Work Arrangements that are the norm for EVERYBODY, not just women; Time-Off Policies that provide short-term, episodic time-off; and Career Reentry Policies for workers who leave and seek to reenter. Mr. Teter agreed with Ms. Bennetts that workers who “opt out” face enormous challenges reentering the work force, but he argued that institutions need to adapt to that type of interrupted career path, shifting the burden from the worker to the employer.
VIDEO LINK: http://ylsqtss.law.yale.edu:8080/qtmedia/ylw/OptOutWorkplaceFlex032809_s.mov