TODAY

TODAY   |  October 29, 2013

‘Sexist’ pamphlet for women at law firm spurs outrage

A new pamphlet of public speaking advice distributed to female employees at a law firm has sparked outrage online. Such suggestions as “Don’t take your purse to the podium,” and “Wear a suit, not your party outfit” have some saying the document is sexist.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> we'll begin this half hour with a memo sent to female employees of a law firm and has some up in arms. stephanie gosk has the details this morning.

>> everyone needs professional guidance at some point in their career but this memo just sent to female attorneys at the law firm hit a sensitive nerve. is it advice or old fashion sexism. the guide is called speaking effectively. something important for both men and women but it was just the female attorneys in clifford chance 's u.s. offices who were given the 150 tips. among them, don't giggle. don't squirm. wear a suit, not your party outfit. remember no one heard hilary the day she showed cleavage. and whatever you do, don't take your purse up to the podium.

>> this is outrageous because it's insulting to women that have law degrees and it insults their intelligence and professional performance.

>> reporter: clifford chance , one of the largest law firms in the world said this is not a template of how people should present and the offense caused by a small percentage of the suggestions was inintentional. it is filled with speed up, don't use a draggy pace and breathe is one suggestion. another, move your mouth when you speak. taken as a whole, some working women we talked with thought the guidance was spot on.

>> i think it's funny and thoughtful and useful.

>> i think that's great. send it to younger women , maybe. women that don't really know.

>> reporter: others did not.

>> i think it's sexist that it was only sent to women .

>> i wouldn't agree with having these only sent to women but not men.

>> if there's information that could benefit everyone at the whole company instead of being geared toward one sex.

>> reporter: sometimes context is everything. if wearing a skirt make sure the audience can't see up it might be fine advice from a friend, but from your boss? the memo was leaked into a blog site and in their statement the firm didn't say who wrote it only that it presented a personal perspective as opposed to company policy. back to