Balancing the Scales

Year: 2016
Country: USA
Director: Sharon Rowen
Genre: documentary
Runtime: 57 min.
Age: 16+

Exploring the history of US women lLawyers and why their efforts to punch through the Glass Ceiling are failed

Based on interviews conducted over two decades, Balancing the Scales is an insightful look at the story of women lawyers in America. The interviewees include a broad array of lawyers and judges across five generations, including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, civil rights attorney Gloria Allred, and Roe v. Wade attorney Margie Pitts Hames. Interviews also include state Supreme Court and Appellate Court justices, women equity partners, minority women, associates, and students. 

They tell their own remarkable and often hilarious stories, from pioneers who paved the way for today’s law students, who don’t yet understand the difficulties they will face in the workplace. It explores how discrimination has shifted from overt to subtle, and why women are leaving the profession in droves. It highlights the deep cultural biases and the ingrained presumptions about both the “work” and the “life” parts of the work-life balance. 

Finally, the film explains why women being promoted to top positions is good for both society; and for firms’ bottom lines. We’ve come a long way since Gloria Allred marched into the Friars Club to protest its all-male membership policy, or since the Harvard Law School only had one women’s bathroom for two teaching buildings. But, as Ruth Ginsburg opines in the film, “We haven’t reached nirvana yet.”