“Women are doing better, but they’re not quite there yet. I’ve been practicing law for 40 years, and I’ve seen a lot of change,” said Dawn Finlayson, named partner at Caldwell East & Finlayson PLLC Attorneys at Law. “When I started in the late ’70s, there were not as many women practicing law. Back then, you saw a difference between the older men and younger men. Men 40 and above, they were going to be a problem. They had a bad view of women. Now those younger men are the older men at these firms, and that’s why things are better. They weren’t misogynist, but sexist. They weren’t bad people at all. It was just subtle cultural things. The language they used. Calling women ‘honey.’ Things like that. Young women just tolerated it. For a woman to succeed, she had to be pretty tolerant. For me, I just tolerated it and focused on getting by and getting ahead.”
These subtle comments were even present at Finlayson’s first law job, where she worked for her father.
“He was the worst. He and these other men saw women who were feminists as test cases. There was a woman congressman back then named Bella Abzug. A classic feminist. They would always say, ‘Don’t be like her,'” Finlayson said. “With that said, we had a lot of cases together that first year, and we actually had a great time.”