Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Women Faculty Writing Groups

Inside Higher Ed, Encouraging Female Faculty to Publish Research

For professors, finding time to do research can be difficult. Especially if they are women.

 

Numerous studies have found that female professors work the same number of hours as their male counterparts, but they spend less time on research and more time on other commitments. In a 2008 study by professors at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the University of Georgia, female participants spent an hour and a half less per week on research than their male counterparts. A big reason was that they spent an hour more on service and a half hour more on teaching.

 

The Women Faculty Writing Groups at Texas Tech University aim to combat this gender gap in research. Founded this fall, the program seeks to offer female professors a three-hour chunk of time each week to pursue writing and publishing their research without getting sidetracked by other demands, said Caroline Bishop, assistant professor of classical and modern languages at Texas Tech and a co-founder of the program.

 

“We really wanted to have a safe, protected time,” Bishop said. “A time when women can say no to other things.”

 

The overarching goal of the program is to help women prioritize research, which is often the biggest factor in promotion, said Kristin Messuri, associate director of the University Writing Center at Texas Tech and another co-founder of the program. “Women faculty tend to be promoted at lower rates than male faculty,” she said. “They go up for promotion less often. When you get into full professors, there are fewer of them.”

 

While the program’s goal is ambitious, its structure is simple. At the beginning of each three-hour session, participants discuss articles on productivity and share their progress and goals, Messuri said. The remaining two and a half hours are devoted to writing for publication.

I've done something like this over the years, though it has fallen off.  Early on we had the Momus group (we met at Cafe Momus), a mixed group (three women, two men) who bi-weekly shared rough drafts and writing problems.  It was here that I really learned how differently people write, and what works and what doesn't.  

Then for a few wonderful years we had a small group of women faculty who went to a lake house for a week retreat.  The peace and energy jump started our research each summer, and we walked away from the week with a good chunk of work begun.  (Not to mention how wonderful it was to have 4 women thoughtfully making coffee, cleaning up the kitchen, making snacks, and conversing over dinner).  The realities of life and family made it hard to keep this going, though we tried a "day" retreat for a few years meeting off campus and discussing progress over lunch.

 

July 5, 2016 in Work/life | Permalink | Comments (0)

Books: Fair Labor Lawyer

Marlene Trestman, Fair Labor Lawyer: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin (2016)

As a trailblazing attorney, Bessie Margolin lived a life of exceptional achievement. At a time when the legal profession consisted almost entirely of men, she earned the esteem of her colleagues and rose to become one of the most successful Supreme Court advocates of her era. Doing so, as Marlene Trestman demonstrates inFair Labor Lawyer: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin(Louisiana State University Press, 2016), required overcoming not just the ingrained assumptions that men had towards professional women during that time but also the poverty of her early childhood and the loss of her mother when Margolin was only three years old. As Trestman reveals, Margolin exploited to the full the opportunities she was given as a ward of the Jewish Orphans Home in New Orleans, which provided her with a comfortable upbringing and a good education. From Newcomb College and Tulane University, Margolin went on to a fellowship at Yale University and a career in the federal government, which she began by participating in the defense of some of the most important laws to come out of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal program and concluded by championing measures mandating equal pay and opposing age discrimination. And yet Trestman shows that for all of the sacrifices she made to establish a career for herself, Margolin did so on her own terms and in a way that many Americans can relate to today.

 

July 5, 2016 in Books, SCOTUS, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

CFP Gender on the Bench

Write On: Gender on the Bench

PluriCourts/GQUAL/IntLawGrrls are proud to announce a conference on Gender on the Bench scheduled in the Hague January/February 2018.   At present, women judges make up an average of 17% of international courts and tribunals.  There is significant disparity regarding the participation of women in the bench of different legal regimes.  This conference seeks to promote a higher level of understanding of both current challenges and best practices in promoting women onto international courts.

Please submit an abstract and CV to: c.m.bailliet@jus.uio.no 

Final Date for Submission of Abstract and CV: March 2017

July 5, 2016 in Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Lack of Women Arbitrators Stems from Institutional Bias of Lawyers who Select Them

Lack of Women Arbitrators Stems from Institutional Bias

Why aren’t there more women arbitrators? Chris Poole, chief executive officer of JAMS, the dispute resolution company, says it’s primarily because of stereotyping in the legal profession.

 

Law.com spoke with Poole following last week’s pledge by hundreds of individuals and organizations worldwide to increase the number of women arbitrators, who make up just 10 to 15 percent of appointments to international matters.

 

Poole acknowledged that JAMS, which has boosted its number of women arbitrators recruited during the past three years to 50 percent, still has work to do to increase the overall supply.

 

But he pointed to the “institutional bias” of lawyers—men and women—who select arbitrators as the main reason.

It mirrors other findings.  See Gina Brown & Gender Differences in Dispute Resolution Practice: Report on the ABA Dispute Resolution Practice Section Snapshot Survey, 47 Akron L.Rev. 975 (2015)

July 1, 2016 in Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Commentary on the Voisine Case and Banning Guns for Serial Domestic Abusers

Slate, In Voisine SCOTUS Says Domestic Abusers Can't Have Guns. If Only Someone Would Enforce It.

From a prior post here on Gender Law Prof Blog, on Justice Thomas in Voisine oral argument, Justice Thomas Breaks 10-Year Silence to Question Federal Ban on Guns in Domestic Violence

On the interesting affiliation of Thomas and Sotomayor in the dissent, see Noah Feldman, When Opposites Converge Over Domestic Violence, Chicago Tribune.

What Thomas and Sotomayor share in common -- along with being the court's two members of racial minorities -- is a long-term concern with the overreach of federal criminal law.

 

Thomas's worry has to do with federalism and the encroachment of the federal government into state law matters. Sotomayor's concern is more with the status of the individual defendant, who may be subject to long federal sentences.

 

June 29, 2016 in SCOTUS, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

EEOC Report Concludes Sexual Harassment Training Ineffective and Reinforces Gender Stereotypes

Guardian, Sexual Harassment Training "Not as Effective" in Stopping Behavior at Work

Federal labor regulators have concluded that sexual harassment prevention training is often ineffective and sometimes even harmful, in a new report that strengthens growing claims that US universities are failing to combat gender discrimination.

 

A taskforce of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that workplace initiatives targeting harassment are generally focused on avoiding legal liability instead of stopping misconduct, echoing concerns of faculty at theUniversity of California at Berkeley, which has received international attention for its high-profile scandals.

 

The new report from two commissioners of the EEOC, which enforces employment discrimination laws, comes as experts have increasingly called into question the standard responses to harassment. In the face of public scrutiny, employers and college administrators typically emphasize training initiatives, but critics say there is little evidence that courses make a difference.

 

“We were surprised at the research that showed that the type of anti-harassment training that has been done to date … is not as effective in actually changing behaviors,” said Chai Feldblum, EEOC commissioner and co-author of the report.

 

Some researchers have found that training courses can reinforce gender stereotypes, make men less capable of perceiving inappropriate behavior, and may increase the likelihood that people discount victims.

June 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 27, 2016

SCOTUS Strikes Down Abortion Restrictions

The decision in Whole Woman's Health is here.  Decision by Breyer for 5 justice majority -Kennedy, Kagan, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor.  Striking down requirements of admitting procedures and hospital surgical centers.

June 27, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

SCOTUS Upholds Firearms Ban for Prior Misdemeanors of Domestic Violence

The Voisine v. U.S. decision is here. By Kagan.

Dissent by Thomas & Sotomayor (that's right) on legal standards of intentional conduct.

June 27, 2016 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Is the Uber-Like Chariot for Women Illegal?

Andrew Gray, Comment, Club Chariot for Women: No Boys Allowed, Stanford Law & Policy Rev. (forthcoming)

On April 19th, an app named Chariot for Women (Chariot) launched around the United States. The app is strikingly similar to ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft: download the app, provide your payment information, request a ride, and you’re good to go. Yet Chariot comes with one major difference—both drivers and passengers are exclusively women. The goal of the app is simple: providing safe travel for women, by women, who fear the risk of violent crimes in taxicabs or traditional ridesharing methods. 

 

The app’s creator, Michael Pelletz, may see himself as a real-life equivalent of the feminist-friendly Dev Shah from Aziz Ansari’s Master of None,5 but in reality, he may be breaking federal law. Chariot, by design, may violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law stops employers from hiring, or refusing to hire a person because of their “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” It is fairly obvious, given Chariot’s business model, that their hiring practices would qualify as a prima facie violation of Title VII.  However, Chariot will argue that the Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) exception applies here.

 

While the app’s purpose may be noble, noble intentions don’t excuse discrimination. This short essay gives a three-part overview of the legal issues Chariot will inevitably face, and argue that allowing Chariot to fall under the BFOQ exception would overextend a purposefully narrow rule. Part II argues that the plain text of the law does not support Chariot. Part III explains that Chariot will fail a multi-part test for establishing a BFOQ. Part IV will show examples of reasonable, nondiscriminatory alternatives available to chariot. The essay concludes by mentioning policy arguments for and against Chariot, and arguing that ultimately, Chariot does not have a place within the law.

June 22, 2016 in Equal Employment, Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Thirteenth Amendment as Protection Against Domestic Violence

James Gray Pope, The Thirteenth Amendment at the Intersection of Class and Gender: Robertson v. Baldwin's Exclusion of Infants, Lunatics, Women and Seamen, 39 Seattle L. Rev. (2016) 

 

In Robertson v. Baldwin [1897], the Supreme Court held that merchant seamen under contract could be legally compelled to work notwithstanding the Thirteenth Amendment’s prohibition on slavery and involuntary servitude.  According to the Court, seamen were “deficient in that full and intelligent responsibility for their acts which is accredited to ordinary adults,” and therefore could—along with children and wards—be deprived of liberty. From a present-day perspective, the Court’s casual deprecation of seamen’s intelligence and character might seem anachronistic, even shocking. ***

 

Robertson’s domestic exclusion raises intertwined issues of class and gender. As a general rule, the Thirteenth Amendment limits inequalities of class, where class is conceived as “power relationships among groups involved in systems of production.” Regardless of contractual consent, workers may not be legally or physically compelled to work. The Supreme Court has explained this principle in terms of class power, as necessary to prevent the “master” from dominating the “laborer”: “When the master can compel and the laborer cannot escape the obligation to go on, there is no power below to redress and no incentive above to relieve a harsh overlordship or unwholesome conditions of work.” Robertson carves out a gendered exception to this protection, relegating seamen to what political theorist Carole Pateman has described as “the private sphere of natural subjection and womanly capacities.”

 

By contrast, it is an open question whether the Amendment reaches gender relations. On that issue, Robertson has historically served to block jurisprudential development by preserving the domestic sphere as a zone where services can be coerced free from Thirteenth Amendment scrutiny. As Joyce McConnell has shown, Robertson’s domestic exclusion has operated to deprive women, married or not, of protection against coercion by intimate partners. When a woman enters into an intimate relationship with a man, then, she departs the public sphere of class relations and loses her Thirteenth Amendment protection against coercion of services. Over the past few years, however, several courts have applied statutory bans on “involuntary servitude” and “forced labor” (a “species of involuntary servitude”) to protect women and children in domestic settings.

 

June 22, 2016 in Constitutional, Family, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Daughter Track of Elder Care

M. Christian Green, "Graceful Pillars": Law, Religion, and the Ethics of the "Daughter Track", Journal Law & Religion (forthcoming July 2016)

What is striking in these responses is the interplay and ethical tension between concepts of virtue and necessity, in a way that construes and constructs the “daughter track” as emblematic of a particular kind of filial virtue that manifests itself in what is often a situation of necessity, in which someone must step up to provide care in the face of scant resources afforded by the surrounding society. In other words, these daughters step up to bear the burden of eldercare because no one else will.


The plight of women on the “daughter track” raises crucial ethical questions about justice, care, and gender connection with eldercare. It does so in a moral and ethical context often shaped not only by the choice to care, but also by virtues forged in contexts of necessity. There are a number of conceptual frameworks in feminist philosophy and feminist legal theory that might be used to analyze the “daughter track” problem. One of the newest and most promising frameworks is the “vulnerability” framework that has been argued powerfully and eloquently about Martha Albertson Fineman. Another longstanding and influential framework is that of the “ethics of care.” With origins in the developmental psychological work of Carol Gilligan, who famously identified and juxtaposed a masculine “ethic of justice” with a feminine “ethic of care,” the ethics of care framework, originally.  

 

While the ethic of care framework might seem to be the most obvious framework for analyzing the “daughter track,” since it involves daughters providing care to elderly parents, it is not the framework that I have chosen to apply here. The origins of the ethics of care in maternal experience do not fully track the daughter care experience, as suggested by contrasts between the “Mommy Track” and the “Daughter Track” in the popular media. Motherhood is most often chosen and eagerly awaited with positive expectations of giving birth and raising to maturity a child who may end up taking care of the parents someday. Eldercare needs, while in a certain sense universal and inevitable, since we all age and most of us have parents who live into old age, often strike out of the blue or build gradually and then hit like a tsunami when a parent’s need for care becomes acute, and the process is one of decline and ultimately death, leaving the caregiver with significantly depleted energy and funds to provide for their own care.

June 21, 2016 in Family, Gender | Permalink | Comments (0)

Oregon Legally Recognizes Third Gender of Binary

NPR, Oregon Resident Legally Recognized as Third Gender

An Oregon judge has allowed a 52-year-old retired Army tank mechanic to change gender identity. Not from male to female, or vice versa. But to a new, third gender.

 

Jamie Shupe is now legally non-binary — widely believed to be a first for the United States.

 

Oregon joins several countries in recognizing a third gender. In 2014, India became the largest country in the world to have an official third option, following in the footsteps of Pakistan, Australia and Germany.

June 21, 2016 in Gender | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 17, 2016

South Africa's Public Protector

WashPost, How a Quiet Wonky Lawyer Became South Africa's Corruption Buster

It’s not every day that a constitutional lawyer gets treated like a rock star. But at South African President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Union address in February, reporters jostled to hear what Thulisile Madonsela had to say about it, and onlookers took to Twitter to gush about her and her canary-yellow dress.

“Please, can we have her as president!” one pleaded.

Madonsela is not just a lawyer. She is also South Africa’s public protector, an ombudsman-like post that has come to symbolize for many a struggle for rule of law and better governance in this young democracy.

June 17, 2016 in International, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Senate Overwhelming Votes to Require Women to Register for Draft

Senate Overwhelming Votes to Require Women to Register for the Draft

The Senate voted to require women to register for the draft when they turn 18, just like men, as part of a large military authorization bill Tuesday. The new provision, passed by the Senate 85 to 13, is still far from becoming law, but comes at a time when the U.S. military has gradually lifted previous restrictions on women serving in combat roles in the armed forces.

The vote signals a changing national—and political—mood on the issue, particularly by conservative lawmakers, with the staunchest conservative wing of the Republican party still actively opposing the change.

For a related prior post, see 9th Circuit Hears Challenge to Men Only Draft

For the legal history of the draft and other military exclusions, see Jill Hasday, Fighting Women: The Military, Sex, and Extrajudicial Constitutional Change, 93 Minnesota L.Rev. 1 (2008).

June 16, 2016 in Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Even Millennial Men Underestimate Women's Intelligence

Harvard Business Review, Are U.S. Millennial Men Just as Sexist as their Fathers?

The researchers found that male students systematically overestimated the knowledge of the men in their classes in comparison with the women. Moreover, as the academic term progressed, the men’s faulty appraisal of their classmates’ abilities increased despite clear evidence of the women’s superior class performance. In every biology class examined, a man was considered the most renowned student — even when a woman had far better grades. In contrast, the female students surveyed did not show bias, accurately evaluating their fellow students based on performance.

 

June 16, 2016 in Gender | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Feminist Judgments Conference Program Schedule Now Available

Here is the program with the terrific line up of presenters and talks at the upcoming Fall conference, The US Feminist Judgments Project: Rewriting Law, Writing the Future.  

The two-day conference features over 50 law professors and advocates speaking on a wide range of topics including broadly gender and judging, law and gender, and the future of feminist theory.  Take a look!

The conference will take place at the University of Akron School of Law, October 20 & 21, 2016.  Register here! (no conference fees).

Con Law Symposium

June 15, 2016 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gender and the Importance of Language in Wills

Paula Monopoli, JOTWELL, Linguistic Theory, Gender Schemas and Wills, reviewing Karen Sneddon, Not Your Mother's Will: Gender, Language, and Wills, 98 Marq. L. Rev. 1535 (2015).

Language matters. In her recent article, Not Your Mother’s Will: Gender, Language, and Wills, Karen Sneddon details just how much language matters in the context of wills and trusts. In a comprehensive review of linguistic theory and its intersection with inheritance law, Sneddon illuminates how will clauses and trust structures reflect gender schemas about men and women.

Sneddon first lays a foundation for her hypothesis that will drafting reflects masculine and feminine roles and norms by acquainting the reader with basic linguistic theory.

June 15, 2016 in Gender | Permalink | Comments (0)

Book Review Symposium on "Nine to Five" and Workplace Sex Discrimination

Concurring Opinions hosted a symposium of several book reviews on Joanna Grossman's new book Nine to Five.  Reviews are provided by Sam Bagenstos, Naomi Cahn, Nancy Dowd, Kate Silbaugh, and Verna Williams.

grossman-book-nine-to-five-lawnews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Concurring Opinions is delighted to introduce Professor Joanna Grossman, and the participants in our online symposium on Nine to Five: How Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Continue to Define the American Workplace (Cambridge University Press 2016).

I previously posted about the book here.

 

June 15, 2016 in Books, Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Argument for Acknowledging Women's Acts of Violence

Jamie Abrams, The Feminist Case for Acknowledging Women's Acts of Violence, 27 Yale J. Law & Feminism 101 (2016)

Abstract:     

This Article makes a feminist case for acknowledging women’s acts of violence as consistent with — not threatening to — the goals of the domestic violence movement and the feminist movement. It concludes that broadly understanding women’s use of strength, power, coercion, control, and violence, even illegitimate uses, can be framed consistent with feminist goals. Beginning this conversation is a necessary — if uncomfortable — step to give movement to the movement to end gendered violence.

The domestic violence movement historically framed its work on a gender binary of men as potential perpetrators and women as potential victims. This binary was an essential starting point to defining and responding to domestic violence. The movement has since struggled to address women as perpetrators. It has historically deployed a “strategy of containment” to respond to women as perpetrators. This strategy includes bringing male victims of domestic violence within existing services, monitoring exaggerations and misstatements about the extent of women’s violence, and noting the troublesome line between perpetrator/victim for women. This strategy achieved specific and important goals to domestic violence law reforms. These goals included retaining domestic violence’s central and iconic framing as a women’s issue, preserving critical funding sources and infrastructure to serve victims, and thwarting obstructionist political challenges largely waged by men’s rights groups.

While acknowledging that these goals were sound and central to the historic underpinnings of domestic violence law reforms, this Article considers whether the strategy of containment is too myopic and reactive to endure. It begins a discussion of whether moving beyond a strategy of containment might paradoxically advance the efficacy of both domestic violence law reforms and the feminist movement. It suggests that moving beyond the strategy of containment would strengthen the infrastructure and foundation of the domestic violence movement. It would move beyond the limited masculinist frame dominating domestic violence, beyond the pathologized and marginalized frame depicting women abusers, and toward a more inclusive movement. It further examines potential gains to the broader feminist movement, such as preserving the movement’s sustained legacy, diffusing gender stereotypes, righting skewed legal standards, and advancing women’s political and professional status.

 

June 14, 2016 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Argument for Acknowledging Women's Acts of Violence

Jamie Abrams, The Feminist Case for Acknowledging Women's Acts of Violence, 27 Yale J. Law & Feminism 101 (2016)

Abstract:     

This Article makes a feminist case for acknowledging women’s acts of violence as consistent with — not threatening to — the goals of the domestic violence movement and the feminist movement. It concludes that broadly understanding women’s use of strength, power, coercion, control, and violence, even illegitimate uses, can be framed consistent with feminist goals. Beginning this conversation is a necessary — if uncomfortable — step to give movement to the movement to end gendered violence.

The domestic violence movement historically framed its work on a gender binary of men as potential perpetrators and women as potential victims. This binary was an essential starting point to defining and responding to domestic violence. The movement has since struggled to address women as perpetrators. It has historically deployed a “strategy of containment” to respond to women as perpetrators. This strategy includes bringing male victims of domestic violence within existing services, monitoring exaggerations and misstatements about the extent of women’s violence, and noting the troublesome line between perpetrator/victim for women. This strategy achieved specific and important goals to domestic violence law reforms. These goals included retaining domestic violence’s central and iconic framing as a women’s issue, preserving critical funding sources and infrastructure to serve victims, and thwarting obstructionist political challenges largely waged by men’s rights groups.

While acknowledging that these goals were sound and central to the historic underpinnings of domestic violence law reforms, this Article considers whether the strategy of containment is too myopic and reactive to endure. It begins a discussion of whether moving beyond a strategy of containment might paradoxically advance the efficacy of both domestic violence law reforms and the feminist movement. It suggests that moving beyond the strategy of containment would strengthen the infrastructure and foundation of the domestic violence movement. It would move beyond the limited masculinist frame dominating domestic violence, beyond the pathologized and marginalized frame depicting women abusers, and toward a more inclusive movement. It further examines potential gains to the broader feminist movement, such as preserving the movement’s sustained legacy, diffusing gender stereotypes, righting skewed legal standards, and advancing women’s political and professional status.

 

June 14, 2016 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)