Queen's Bench Presentation on Women as Decision Makers

April 17, 2019

On March 20, 2019, Ericksen Arbuthnot Senior Associate Kara L. Wild participated in the panel presentation, “What Are They Thinking? How Women Are Perceived as Decision Makers and How to Change It.”  Additional panelists were:

  • California State Treasurer Fiona Ma 
  • Justice Maria Rivera, formerly of the First District Court of Appeal
  • Dr. Mary Wardell-Ghirarduzzi, President of the San Francisco Library Commission and Vice-Provost of University of San Francisco, and 
  • Beatriz Infante, Board Director and four-time CEO

The panel’s focus was on women in positions of authority and how to deal with societal prejudice against women wielding power.  The panel presentation was organized by the Queen’s Bench Bar Association of San Francisco and the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, and was held in the Koret Auditorium of the San Francisco Public Library.  Ericksen Arbuthnot served as an event sponsor.

Inspiration

The panel was inspired by an amicus brief drafted by the Queen’s Bench Amicus Brief Committee, which Ms. Wild co-chairs.  The brief addressed the long history of discrimination against women jurors.  Ms. Wild and her committee found the topic to be rich and of interest not only to women attorneys, but to the public at large.  They began discussing the idea of holding a panel that expanded the topic to include not only decision makers on jury panels, but women as decision makers in general. 

Ms. Wild, who was also a member of the Queen’s Bench Civic and Judicial Appointments Committee (“CJAC”), saw commonalities between what Amicus Briefs sought and CJAC’s mission, and proposed that both committees collaborate on this endeavor.  CJAC’s co-chair agreed, and convinced the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women to join the collaboration as well.  Ms. Wild drafted the initial panel proposal.  From there, the Queen’s Bench and Department on the Status of Women set to work to create something truly special.

The Panel

After Ms. Wild and her co-chair, Josephine Petrick, made the opening introductory remarks, the lively panel discussion commenced.  The panel can be viewed here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHBQf1PPUiE

Some highlights of the discussion include:

Agreement that if fathers are involved in/invested in their daughters’ lives, daughters are more likely to be confident and willing to be leaders.

  • Agreement that if women want power, they have to be willing to take it, but disagreement that power is finite, and a woman taking power is “stealing” it from someone else.
  • Discussion of how (due to socialization) women are often more hesitant to voice their opinion, and how important it is for women to put themselves out there, right or wrong.
  • Discussion of how to address the cultural problem of men interrupting women who are expressing opinions or co-opting women’s ideas.
  • The importance of women having mentors to help them grow in leadership roles.

Overall, the panel was a great success, and one of many much-needed social conversations about how to achieve gender equality in the workplace and beyond.

Special thank you to the San Francisco Public Library for producing the video of the panel.