Thus, Ukraine is gradually catching up with the West, where women increasingly figure among a firm’s top brass, said Irina Tymczyszyn, partner at London-based Bryan Cave. A mother of two daughters, Tymczyszyn knows what it takes for a woman to make it to the top. She is regarded as the first Ukraine-born lawyer to land a partner position at a major London firm.
Female lawyers in Ukraine say they often face serious discrimination, often holding lower positions and salaries for years while their male counterparts move up with less effort and worse results.
“Women are often looked down upon, and their success makes some men more defensive and suspicious, ultimately making things harder, one leading female lawyer said on condition of anonymity because she did not want to be identified publicly discussing private matters. “Some people were asking me: ‘who is your husband?’ When they found out that I am unmarried, they asked: ‘Who is your lover?’”
The attitude, she said, was that women can’t succeed on their own. “Ultimately, it was tougher. But it helped me work my way up.”