Terms of endearment do well as signs of affection between romantic partners and friends, but there's little more grating than being referred to as "honey" or "sweetheart" in the workplace or by someone whom you don't know. Many women have expressed their displeasure at being called these names, yet the pushback seems to go along the lines of "oh, lighten up."
But one recent rule has made it so that women no longer have to put up with that sexism and disrespect — at least in court. The American Bar Association (ABA) last week amended its professional code of conduct to prohibit lawyers from addressing someone in court based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or socioeconomic status.
The amendment was put to a vote after female lawyers petitioned against being subjected to demeaning terms like "darling" during trials, effectively undermining their authority.
The penalties, decided by states that adopt the rule, range from fines to suspension.
The new rule was announced to overwhelming support, though some rightfully questioned why it took so long.
Among those who support the rule is legal assistant and aspiring lawyer Dayle Austin. "I have been present in court and have heard firsthand judges call female attorneys pet names, but I don't hear a judge call [men] anything but 'counselor.'" Austin told A Plus. "Women in court who are representing clients have the same education had to pass the same tests as men in order to be where they are. Pet names are belittling to women in court; it's as if their ideas or defenses are 'sweet' and not as powerful or educated as [those of] their [male] counterparts."
Austin, who is taking law classes part time and working full time in a Long Island law office added:
We all have to take the LSAT to get into law school. We all have to receive a Juris Doctor degree from law school and we all have to pass the bar to be able to practice law. Women are just as powerful and educated and passionate and intelligent as men. They have every right to stand before the court and be respected.
Cover images via Flickr user dyingregime and Shutterstock.