What I Learned about Women from Jury Duty
A few years ago, I was selected for jury duty. Most would have dreaded showing up at the courthouse each morning, but I was thrilled. I come from a family of lawyers and was dying to be chosen.
I was selected!
My hopes for a murder trial or something of the sort that would involve sequestering and plant me in the middle of Runaway Jury did not come to fruition. It was instead a civil suit with a personal injury claim. Not terribly riveting, but I was still thrilled to be on the jury. The woman injured was claiming debilitating back pain as a result of a car accident. She was suing State Farm.
Now, several interesting things surfaced over the course of the trial. One, she lied–the State Farm defendant knew it and made sure we did too. Two, she was in full-time ministry and made sure we were informed of her service. And three, our jury panel was pretty heavily divided about how much money to award her.
The men on the jury wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt and award her with a lot of money; us women didn’t want to give her much at all. After much deliberating, the jury elected me as the foreman and we decided to award her about $3,000 to cover her hospital costs and a little extra for pain-and-suffering. When I stood up and read the verdict, the courtroom fell silent, the plaintiff started crying, and the State Farm defendants grinned and patted each other on the back. The women on the jury determined the outcome.
After the trial, I talked to my uncle who is a defense attorney about the outcome and he said something that has stuck with me:
“Women are always harder than men on women. I would have tried to fill that jury with women to ensure the result came out in my favor.”
How tragically true.
We’re quite hard on each other, aren’t we?
I was at a baby shower recently and one woman who was a complete stranger before that evening told me about how her sister-in-laws kids feel neglected because she works. “They really act out and I don’t think she realizes how much she’s needed in their lives. It’s so selfish that she’s focused on her career.”
Really? Do we say these things about each other?
In my experience, yes. And if we don’t speak judgment, we certainly think it. We’re so hard on each other and I’m calling a time out.
Think about the last time you were hard on another woman. Was it last week? Because it was for me.
I was annoyed by the lady at the baby shower, understanding the stress that my friends who are working moms feel. But anytime I start to point the finger at someone else, I try to take a minute to recognize how I am guilty too. We all are.
Here’s what it feels like to be a woman: we have to thin, eat kale when we really just want Oreos, kick the business world’s rear all the while having shiny hair, white teeth, a firm butt, and a killer wardrobe. We have pressure to choose between staying home or continuing to work, squeeze in time to cook healthy meals, and be up for hosting dinner guests at any time. It’s exhausting enough without going around tearing each other down.
Our world would be different if we as women made an effort to speak kindness, give one another the benefit of the doubt, choose to love rather than criticize, and seek unity not division.
If she doesn’t exercise, isn’t on time, has less to do than you but is still a hot mess, works too much, wears clothes that are too tight . . . why not examine ways we fall short before we criticize? I’m in this with you. Let’s let’s stand together as women and stop meaning mean girls.
Are you hard on other women? What kind of thoughts do you think about other women? What ideas do you have for helping us stand together and show grace to one another?
If you liked this post, you may also like:
- 401Ks, Playing it Safe, and Heading into the Unknown
- When It Isn’t Clear He’s ‘the One’
- Things I Don’t Do
- Real Men Don’t Text | The Lost Art of Chivalry