Thursday, February 26, 2015
Almost five months after fraternities at Wesleyan University in Connecticut wereordered to admit women as both members and residents, one organization announced on Thursday that it was suing the university, saying the policy put in place in the name of equality was, in fact, discriminatory.
The fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon, along with its alumni organization, Kent Literary Club, filed the lawsuit seeking a temporary injunction in Superior Court in Middletown.
While there are only two fraternities on campus, with about 50 members, the order by the university — which has long had a reputation as one of the nation’s most liberal institutions of higher learning — came as many schools were struggling with issues related to heavy drinking, dangerous behavior and sexual assault at fraternities and sororities.
A much-anticipated Silicon Valley gender discrimination trial began Tuesday with both sides going into opening arguments swinging.
The case involves Ellen Pao, a former partner at Silicon Valley's premier venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Pao is seeking $16 million in back pay and future wage losses after, she says, she was dismissed from her position in October 2012. Kleiner Perkins says she was advised to leave based on her performance.
Pao became the CEO of Reddit, a popular microblogging site, in November. The trial comes during a time of raised public discourse around Silicon Valley's insular culture, which is overwhelmingly made up of white and Asian men. Women, African Americans and Hispanics are underrepresented.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
As she prepares for her presidential bid, Hillary Clinton intends to serve up a different campaign message than last time:
But rather than the assertive feminism associated with her years as first lady, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign message will be subtler. It will involve frequent references to being a mother and grandmother and to how her family has inspired her to embrace policies that she believes would help middle-class families.
As one Democrat close to her put it, voters have learned that she is tough; now she can also present herself as a sensitive candidate capable of nurturing the nation at a difficult time.
Humorous but telling satire from the Chicago Tribune:
I haven't been feeling my usual manly self lately. I keep messing things up in a clumsily absurd fashion and feel an overwhelming desire to spend time with a large and inordinately expressive reindeer.
I wasn’t sure what brought on this emasculating malaise until my friends at the Fox News show “Fox and Friends” explained that I and men across America are suffering from “the Frozen effect.”
Yikes. I don’t want to be either of those things.
Black women have a long history of advocating for fair wages and access to decent employment opportunities for African-American communities. In her recent remarks at the Academy Awards championing the fight against wage inequality, Patricia Arquette seemed wholly unaware of these histories, elaborating backstage that it was now time for all other groups to fight for white women, because they had fought for everybody else.
In 1920 or thereabouts, famed Washington, D.C., educator Nannie Helen Burroughs helped to found the National Association of Wage Earners as both an advocacy group and a training resource for working class black women. Addressing employment inequality and wage inequality for newly freed black women entering the workforce after Emancipation, and later for black women from the South who had migrated North, was a hallmark of black women’s organizing in the late 19th century and the early 20th century. At the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Fannie Barrier Williams, a socialite, club woman and budding political theorist told the crowd, “in the item of employment, colored women bear a distressing burden of mean and unreasonable discrimination.” Still, she told them, “we believe this country is large enough and the opportunities for all kinds of success are great enough to afford our women a fair chance to earn a respectable living.” In 1925, Gertrude Elise McDougald, an organizer and teacher in New York City, helped to found the Trade Union Committee for Organizing Negro Workers, in order to encourage African-American solidarity with labor and discourage strike-breaking as the pathway to work.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
What She Said: Patricia Arquette Calls for Wage, Gender Equality in Show-Stealing Oscar Speech (including a reference to Justice Scalia's view that the Constitution does not protect against sex discrimination).
Supreme Court's Decision Defining "Supervisor" has Detrimental Impact on Sexual Harassment Plaintiffs
Before June of 2013, a court may have very well found that Lopez was her supervisor. But that’s not how her case went. Thanks to a Supreme Court decision in the Vance v. Ball State University case, the judge presiding over Mary McCormack, et al v. Safeway Stores Incorporated decided that Lopez wasn’t her supervisor. TheVance decision significantly narrowed the definition of supervisor when it comes to harassment cases, limiting it to someone who has the power to hire, fire, promote, or otherwise tangibly impact a report’s employment.
Advocates for the victims of sexual harassment feared that the Vance decision would make it more difficult to get justice. Their fears have played out. According to an analysis from the National Women’s Law Center conducted for ThinkProgress, 43 sexual harassment cases have been dismissed because a supervisor didn’t meet Vance’s restricted definitions, and the victim couldn’t prove that the employer was negligent in coworker harassment. (Vance also applies to harassment on other grounds, but the analysis is limited to sexual harassment cases in federal courts.)
Intimate, often painful allegations in lawsuits — intended for the scrutiny of judges and juries — are increasingly drawing in mass online audiences far from the courthouses where they are filed.
When a former saleswoman at Zillow sued the real estate website in December, describing X-rated messages from male colleagues, her court filing drew hundreds of thousands of readers, causing an instant public relations crisis for the company.
The papers in a sexual harassment suit filed last summer against Tinder, the dating app, circulated in a popular Buzzfeed post. And a lawyer for a fired University of Minnesota-Duluth women’s hockey coach who is planning a lawsuit knows what the initial complaint will need: a clear narrative and damning details.
More and more, the first court filings in gender-related suits, often allegations that inspire indignation, are winning wide readerships online before anyone steps foot in a courtroom.
As a result, plaintiffs are finding themselves with unexpected support — and greater-than-ever power to ruin reputations. Panicky defendants are left trying to clear their names from accusations that sometimes are unsubstantiated. Judges and law professors, watching the explosion of documents online, fear such broad exposure is throwing court proceedings off track and changing the nature of how civil suits are meant to unfold.
Monday, February 23, 2015
“Please do something about this, girls read comics too and they care,” the 11-year-old from Champaign, Illinois, added according to NBC’s Today show.
A DC Comics artist drew Rowan as a superhero complete with her blonde bob hairstyle and spectacles with a burgundy and yellow outfit to help her fly over a dandelion field.
Previously, they sent out tweets saying that they’re “working hard to create more superhero fun for girls” but she had said that, even though she appreciated the responses, her quest to see more girl characters was not over.
“It was really, really cool, because they’re so big and important people,” she said of the tweets.
“But I thought ‘I don’t want people to think, “Oh, yeah, OK, they responded to her. Now it’s over.” I want people to keep trying to make this happen, because it’s really important to me.”
Her parents Jim Hansen and Renee Trilling said that Rowan has been aware of gender inequality for years.
It is startling to think that in Glendale, Arizona a person can be evicted from their home or fired from their job simply because of whom they love or their gender identity. In Glendale, LGBT citizens still lack basic legal protections at work, at home and in public spaces.
The Glendale City Council started the process of protecting LGBT residents with a non-discrimination ordinance, however the process has stalled.
The momentum continues to build among Glendale residents- LGBT and allies alike. Supporters are anxious to ensure that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity not be tolerated.
Last week, HRC hosted a phone bank to encourage Glendale residents to call the Mayor and City Council to get the ordinance back on track. Conversations with residents reinforced the need to move this ordinance forward and make sure that all Glendale citizens are equally treated under the law.
The woman said she was about to hang up after a telephone interview when she realized the hiring managers on the other end had forgotten to disconnect the call. So the woman, who asked not to be identified because it could hurt her employment prospects, kept listening — and what she heard shocked her.
Her most recent salary was lower than the interviewers expected, which they assumed signaled a problem with her work. They didn’t offer her the job.
A bill recently filed in the Massachusetts Legislature aims to address situations like this by prohibiting employers from seeking job candidates’ salary histories. The bill also would require companies to disclose an advertised position’s minimum pay and permit employees to discuss their salaries openly.
These practices would help reduce the gender wage gap by addressing the problem at the beginning, before a single job candidate is interviewed, the bill’s sponsors say. Because women’s earnings are historically lower than men’s, revealing their salaries puts them at a disadvantage.
It allows employers, when hiring, to offer lower salaries than they might otherwise or, as the example of the woman shows, draw unfair conclusions about women candidates.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Kindergarten teacher Helen Hulick made Los Angeles court history — and struck a blow for women's fashion — in 1938.
Hulick arrived in downtown L.A. court to testify against two burglary suspects. But the courtroom drama immediately shifted to the slacks she was wearing. Judge Arthur S. Guerin rescheduled her testimony and ordered her to wear a dress next timeHulick was quoted in the Nov. 10, 1938, Los Angeles Times saying, "You tell the judge I will stand on my rights. If he orders me to change into a dress I won't do it. I like slacks. They're comfortable."
She returned to court five days later — in slacks — infuriating the judge. The Times reported:
In a scathing denunciation of slacks — which he prosaically termed pants — as courtroom attire for women, Guerin yesterday again forbade Helen Hulick, 28, kindergarten teacher, to testify as a witness while dressed in a green and orange leisure attire."The last time you were in this court dressed as you are now and reclining on your neck on the back of your chair, you drew more attention from spectators, prisoners and court attaches than the legal business at hand. You were requested to return in garb acceptable to courtroom procedure.
"Today you come back dressed in pants and openly defying the court and its duties to conduct judicial proceedings in an orderly manner. It's time a decision was reached on this matter and on the power the court has to maintain what it considers orderly conduct.
"The court hereby orders and directs you to return tomorrow in accepted dress. If you insist on wearing slacks again you will be prevented from testifying because that would hinder the administration of justice. But be prepared to be punished according to law for contempt of court."
Slack-shrouded Miss Hulick was accompanied by Attorney William Katz, who carried four heavy volumes of citations relative to his client's right to appear in court in whatever dress she chose.
"Listen," said the young woman, "I've worn slacks since I was 15. I don't own a dress except a formal. If he wants me to appear in a formal gown that's okay with me.
"I'll come back in slacks and if he puts me in jail I hope it will help to free women forever of anti-slackism."
The next day, Hulick showed up in slacks. Judge Guerin held her in contempt. She was given a five-day sentence and sent to jail.
Gail Collins, NYT, The Unsinkable RBG
Over the past few years, she’s been getting unprecedented public nagging about retirement while simultaneously developing a massive popular fan base. You can buy T-shirts and coffee mugs with her picture on them. You can dress your baby up like Ruth Bader Ginsburg for Halloween. A blog called Notorious R.B.G. posts everything cool about the justice’s life, from celebrity meet-ups (“Sheryl Crow is a Ruth Bader Ginsburg fangirl”) to Twitter-size legal theory (“Justice Ginsburg Explains Everything You Need to Know About Religious Liberty in Two Sentences”). You can even get an R.B.G. portrait tattooed on your arm, should the inclination ever arise.
The University of Akron presents the 7th Annual CROW (Committee for Research on Women & Gender) Conference, a symposium of graduate and undergraduate papers on gender. Click on the link to register.
The keynote presentation by Rebecca Walker, is free and open to the public. Rebecca Walker is a bestselling author, Founder of Third Wave Foundation for Women, Former Contributing Editor to Ms. Magazine and named one of the most influential leaders of her generation by Time Magazine.
Friday, February 20, 2015
Last Friday night, 52-year-old Kevin Golec fatally stabbed his child – a 22-year-old who appears to have gone by both Brian Golec and Bri Golec – during a domestic dispute. Local media identified the slain youth as male, but LGBT news outlets have offeredconflicting reports – based on sources ranging from friends and family to local transgender activists – regarding whether Golic identified as transgender, was in the early stages of transition or was questioning their* gender identity but had decided they were not transgender
What we do know is that Golec was a drummer and an artist, that their gender presentation was at least occasionally feminine and that their life was extinguished far too soon.
Regardless of whether Golec was transgender, genderqueer, or otherwise gender nonconforming, they join a staggeringly long listof LGBTQ individuals who have been murdered in 2015, including transgender women Lamia Beard, Ty Underwood, Yazmin Vash Payne, Taja Gabrielle DeJesus and Penny Proud. The vast majority of these victims were transgender women of color; the oldest was 33; and most were killed by people they knew.
There is a huge gender disparity in the arrests related to prostitution. According to the Massachusetts State Police’s data, of the 920 arrested on prostitution charges in 2014, 70 percent were women. According to the Seattle Attorney’s Office, 199 women in Washington were prosecuted on prostitution charges, compared to 98 men. This, then, is no longer about the debate on whether or not prostitution should be legal but about the negative stigma that comes with being a female prostitute.
Prostitutes often do not willingly enter the occupation. According to the International Labor Organization, 20.9 million people are victims of human trafficking. Co-founder of the Organization for Prostitution Survivors (OPS) and former prostitute Noel Gomez told The Seattle Times that she was a prostitute for a long time and has “never met one woman in my life who wants to do the work they’re doing. Not one.” She herself was forced into prostitution as a teen and still feels troubled by the experience.
In late January, Washington Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles introduced a bill in Seattle that extended the maximum penalty of sex buying from 90 days to a year in jail. Today, sex buying is defined as “patronizing a prostitute,” which is nothing more than a Class A misdemeanor. The goal of the bill is to decrease prostitution rates, as opposed to using resources to arrest prostitutes. This plan needs to be enacted because in the majority of the arrests, prostitutes are reportedly treated worse than their male patrons in a crime in which the latter is equally guilty.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Some of us certainly know Pauli Murray and her work, but glad to see a higher profile of her legacy here.
Pauli Murray is one of the most pivotal figures in 20th century African-American civil rights history, but beyond academic circles, she is not very well known. In 1944, she graduated as the valedictorian of her Howard University law class, producing a senior thesis titled “Should the Civil Rights Cases and Plessy Be Overruled?” Trained by William Howard Hastie and Leon Ransom at Howard, Pauli Murray had been witness to their early legal strategy of combating separate but equal doctrine by forcing states to either make black institutions equal to their white counterparts or integrate white institutions, if they failed to do so. However, she argued that Plessy v. Ferguson was inherently immoral and discriminatory and should be overturned. When she brought up this argument to her classmates, she noted that her suggestion was received with “hoots of derisive laughter.” Murray coined the term “Jane Crow” to name the forms of sexist derision she frequently encountered during her time at Howard. It was the piece she co-authored in 1965 called “Jane Crow and the Law” that Ginsburg cites as so influential in her thinking about legal remedies for sex discrimination. Nearly 10 years later, in 1953, Spottswood Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and others pulled out a copy of her senior paper and used it as a guide to strategize how they would argue the Brown v. Board case. They didn’t bother to mention this until about 10 years later, when she ran into Robinson at Howard Law School.
Women in Law Leadership: A Bibliography
Taking on new administrative leadership at your law school? Thinking of being a dean? Here are some readings guiding you on this path. Please add your own suggestions in the comments.
ABA, Gindi Eckel Vincent & Mary Bailey Cranston, Learning to Lead: What Really Works for Women in Law
Joan Williams & Rachel Dempsey, What Works for Women at Work (NYU Press 2014)
Sheryl Sandburg, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Sharyl Sandburg & Adam Grant, Madam CEO, Get Me Coffee, NYT, Feb. 2015.
Deborah Maranville, et al, Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World (Table of Contents) (2015)
Martin Katz & Kenneth Margolis, Transforming Legal Education as an Imperative in Today's World: Leadership and Curricular Change
Laura Padilla, A Gendered Update on Women Law Deans: Who, Where, Why, and Why Not?, 15 J. Gender, Soc. Policy & the Law 443 (2007)
ABA, Women in the Profession, Grit and Growth Mindset Program
The Women's Equality Program, Maryland School of Law
2015 Women's Power Summit (Texas)
AALS Women Deans’ Data Bank (discontinued)
The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund advocates placing a statue of the two women’s rights pioneers in New York City’s Central Park where there are 22 statues honoring men and none honoring real women. The statue will celebrate the largest nonviolent revolution in our nation’s history – the movement for women’s right to vote.
Worn Out!: Motherwork in the Age of Austerity
Sarah Lawrence College
Bronxville, NY (20 minutes north of Manhattan)
Friday - Saturday March 6-7, 2015
Free and Open to the Public
Roksana Badruddoja, member of the Academic Advisory Board for the Museum of Motherhood (MOM), Board Member of the Council on Contemporary Families (CCF), and professor of sociology and women's gender studies at Manhattan College.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than 60% of mothers of preschool children are in the paid workforce, and for mothers of school-age children, that figure nears 80%. If paychecks were all it took to liberate women, we would be well on our way. Instead, we're exhausted, and while this problem is hardly unique to the United States, the American system of long hours on the job and scant provision for public welfare makes the challenges of motherwork all the more acute. It's not hard to figure out what brought us to this pass: wage stagnation, increasingly lengthy workweeks, proliferating numbers of single-parent households and two-income couples, gaping holes in the social safety net, erosion of labor unions, mounting violence against our children by both civilians and the state, and diminished public spending on youth recreation, daycare, afterschool programs and other services crucial to working families. The question is: what can we do to turn things around? This conference will explore answers to that question.
Sponsored by the Women's History Graduate Program at Sarah Lawrence College
Co-sponsered with the Diversity and Activism Programming Subcommittee of Student Life (DAPS) and Sister to Sister International Inc.
Motherwork, Race, and the Criminal Justice System
Historical Perspectives on Motherwork
Failing to Mother: Unnatural Mothers, Delinquent Mothers, and Wicked Stepmothers in U.S. History
"Fueron Hijos Nuestros...": State Appropriation of Motherhood in Three Contemporary Latin American Contexts
Tick-Tock-Tick-Tock, Mommy's on the Tenure Clock: Women Junior Faculty on Mentorship, Marking, and Maternity Policies
Mediated Motherhood: Rules for Parenting in a Post-Feminist Era
Registration is required (free): http://www.slc.edu/womens-history/conference/registration.html
Conference Schedule: http://www.slc.edu/womens-history/conference/schedule.html
For more information contact:
Tara James - firstname.lastname@example.org