Just when I thought the need for my diatribes against misogynistic behavior aimed at women lawyers had waned, this country reminds me that things change very very slowly. I know you've all read about Sandra Fluke's courageous behavior this past week. I'm extremely proud, also, that a Catholic institution could see the situation clearly. And I also can see the healthy side of the debate about whether birth control should even be part of an insurance system. What I can't understand is why there are any men, let alone presidential candidates, who would try to rationalize Limbaugh's behavior as somehow acceptable. Until it is no longer socially acceptable for anyone to lash out at a woman in this manner--be it in a law firm meeting, a board meeting, a trial or in print--to strong, articulate women lawyers who step forward to participate in the debate, the path for women lawyer leaders will remain fraught with peril. Although the enormous positive support for Ms. Fluke will probably be a very good thing for her career, the negative message will also chill the willingness of many other young women lawyers who don't want to be an object of derision, and can't stand the heat.
And no, that doesn't mean women should stay out of the kitchen. It means America needs to stop stoking the fire.