Legal researcher Zoë Lawton has handed a full copy of her #Metoo blog to the New Zealand Law Society.
The blog information was accepted by Law Society Acting Executive Director Mary Ollivier and General Manager, Regulatory, Neil Mallon.
Ms Lawton also provided a full copy to the Minister of Justice and each of the universities that has a law school.
The blog went live on 28 February and was live for just over a month. In that time 214 posts were published, with 190 from women and 24 from men. The blog was viewed around 40,000 times while it was live. Ms Lawton says it will remain online to be used as a resource.
“The vast majority of women who submitted posts have personal experience of sexual harassment and bullying. These women hold a range of roles and at various seniority levels: partners of firms, senior lawyers, junior lawyers, legal secretaries and support staff, legal staff in government agencies right through to academics and law students. The majority of women (60%) were aged 18 to 35 and 40% were aged 36 to 65,” Ms Lawton stated.
“The majority of sexual harassment described in the posts was perpetuated by males in senior roles, such as partners and chief executives of law firms, barristers, and senior lawyers in government agencies that undertake legal work.
“Many women and a number of men describe how the culture of sexual harassment is engrained in their workplace. There are accounts of the after-hours socialising and heavy drinking culture during which time sexual harassment occurred. However, many posts describe sexual harassment occurring during working hours, in the office, and sometimes in full view of other staff.”
Law Society Acting Executive Director Mary Ollivier says the Law Society greatly appreciates the intiative taken by Ms Lawton and will work with her about taking action over some of the incidents revealed in the blog postings.