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Conference March 27-28 Examines Women Leaving the Legal Profession

“Opting out,” the trend of professional women leaving the workplace to devote their energies to other responsibilities such as full-time family caretaking, will be the subject of a two-day conference Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28, at Yale Law School. The conference, “Opt Out” Or Pushed Out: Are Women Choosing to Leave the Legal Profession?, is sponsored by the Yale Law Women. 
 
The conference will address the phenomenon of “opting out” and the reality that women who later re-enter the workforce rarely return to the same professional status. Focusing specifically on the legal profession, legal practitioners, students, and scholars will examine the structural, institutional, and societal reasons why women lawyers may be departing from the workplace.
 
Conference panels throughout the two days will touch on topics of parenthood, social expectations that fall disproportionately on women, and how the legal field can learn from other professions that have begun to accommodate the reality of male and female professionals’ multi-faceted lives. 
 
“We hope this conference will shift attention onto the real issue of improving the structure of the workplace so that parents do not have to choose between successful careers and fulfilling lives,” said conference co-chair Jennifer Broxmeyer ’09.

Panelists will include:
 
• Leslie Bennetts, author of The Feminine Mistake:  Are We Giving Up Too Much?

• Judge Nancy Gertner ’71 of the U. S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and member of the Equality Commission

• Pat Gillette, founder of the Opt-In Project

• E.J. Graff, senior researcher at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and head of the Gender and Justice Project

• Wendy Schmidt, principal with Deloitte and former national leader of Deloitte’s U.S. Women’s Initiative Network (WIN)

• Pamela Stone, professor of sociology at Hunter College and author of Opting Out? Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home 
 
The conference is open to the public. Registration is free for the Yale community and $35 for all others. For more information, including the schedule and a complete list of speakers, visit the conference website, which also links to an “Opt Out” or Pushed Out? blog with posts from panelists, scholars, and commentators. To register online, click here. If you have questions, please contact yaleoptout@gmail.com