Sometimes, it feels like all news is bad news. But other times, little things happen that just light up our hearts. And the fact that it’s now legally uncool for lawyers to call female lawyers “honey,” “sweetheart,” “darling,” or other sexist nonsense is just that kind of something.
It’s official: lawyers who use sexist language to put women in place in the courtroom will be fined.
According to Quartz, women have said they experience courtroom sexism regularly in the form of being called “honey” and “darling,” terms many women would find demeaning in such a context.
As the Quartz piece explained, it’s really messed up. It’s the sort of thing that we can all too easily imagine men saying is NBD, but think about it: if you’re in COURT, in the middle of a court case, and some dude calls you “honey?” At work? It’s super demeaning, it’s going to throw you off your game, and it could really impact your ability to do your job. It isn’t that women can’t handle such terms; trust us, we’ve been called worse. Experiencing sexism for our entire lives has more than prepared us to deal with a poorly placed “darling.” But why should we have to deal with it just because male lawyers like to try and put us in our place?
Because it applies to everyone in the American Bar Association, it reaches all 400,000 members of the bar.
“A sexist remark is not just a professional discourtesy, although that in itself is regrettable and all too common,” said Paul S. Gerwal, the judge on the case. “The bigger issue is that comments like Bertling’s reflect and reinforce the male-dominated attitude of our profession.”
We’re so happy to see this major step in the right direction.