Friday, April 11, 2014
From Amnesty International:
The Philippine Supreme Court’s decision on Tuesday to uphold a landmark reproductive health law as constitutional is an important victory for millions of Filipino women and girls, Amnesty International said.
The court’s decision, which will require the government to provide free contraception to millions of the nation’s poorest women, is being welcomed by activists across the country.
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a victory for the independence of the judiciary and means that millions of women and girls have a right to access medical services and information they need,” said Hazel Galang-Folli, Amnesty International’s Researcher on the Philippines.
In a country where 80 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, surveys have shown that 72 percent of Filipinos support the law.
As you know, the Democrats have been trying to close the gender wage gap while the Republicans have denied that such a gap exists, or that if it does, it doesn't merit legislative response at this time.
Of course, there is nuance in the debate which doesn't get much discussion by either party in their respective political rheotric.
Also interesting (to me) is how the GOP advocates try to justify the ostensive wage gap. Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kansas) said in a speech:
"Please allow me to set the record straight. We strongly support equal pay for equal work, and I'm proud that I live in a country where it's illegal to discriminate in the workplace thanks to the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964," said Jenkins. "Some folks don't understand that women have become an extremely valuable part of the workforce today on their own merit, not because the government mandated it."
Rep. Jenkins couches her arguments in the style of good old fashioned liberalism (women are men's equals and should be treated that way), rather than conservative ideals about women belonging in the home (admittedly, that sort of argument would have been weird for her to offer, given her own terrific success as an elected official).
I don't mean to imply that the GOP has a better argument than the Dems, but that both sides seem to be drawing from the same general vocabulary of liberal equality, something that surprises me a bit.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
The lawsuit was filed in October 2013 in federal court and alleged that the district’s all-male wrestling program discriminated against girls on the basis of sex in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Equal Rights Amendment of the Pennsylvania Constitution. In January 2014, Flaster/Greenberg lawyer Abbe F. Fletman andWomen’s Law Project attorney Terry L. Fromson were successful in obtaining a preliminary injunction requiring the school district to allow seventh-grader Audriana Beattie to join the all-male wrestling program for the duration of the lawsuit.
The Court has now approved a consent decree entered into by the parties that will allow Ms. Beattie to remain on the previously all-male wrestling team and other young women who wrestle competitively may join the team.
The school district has also rescinded its policy that kept girls off boys’ teams and will not adopt any policy in the future that will unlawfully deny athletic opportunity on the basis of sex.
After decades on the decline, the number of "stay at home" moms in the U.S. has risen, with 29 percent of women with children under 18 saying they don't work outside the home, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.
The figure from 2012 is up from 23 percent in 1999.
Mothers With Children Who Don't Work Outside The Home:
1967 — 49 percent
1999 — 23 percent
2012 — 29 percent
"The recent turnaround appears to be driven by a mix of demographic, economic and societal factors, including rising immigration as well as a downturn in women's labor force participation," the Pew study finds.
"Stay at home" mothers includes women who remain in the home to care for family as well as those who say they don't work outside because they are unable to find work, are disabled or enrolled in school
From the NYT, Senate Republicans Block Equal Pay
Republican lawmakers have said that given existing anti-discrimination laws, the legislation is redundant and is a transparent attempt by Democrats to distract from President Obama’s much-criticized health care law.
Supporters of the bill, called the Paycheck Fairness Act, say it would bring transparency to worker pay by making it illegal for employers to penalize employees who discuss their salaries and by requiring the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to collect pay information from employers.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
According to the Art of Manliness Blog, the three moral imperatives (the Three Ps) for manliness are:
1/ to Protect
2/ to Procreate
3/ to Provide
I tend to agree with the accuracy of the general proposition. But I don't think that it has as much relevance for my students' generation. I hear my female students complain (or reflect amusedly) that there are few "real men" these days. Most just want their XBOX, their bro-friends, and worst of all, their mommies (or proxy mommies).
President Obama on Tuesday is expected to sign two executive orders that will address the pay disparity between women and men. One will bar federal contractors from retaliating against employees who talk about their pay with each other. The other will require businesses to hand over data on pay, broken down by race and gender, to the Labor Department. The goal of both steps is to increase transparency, which is more important than it may sound. It’s hard to fight pay discrimination if you don’t even know what other people make.
That’s exactly what happened to Lilly Ledbetter, for whom the Lilly Ledbetter Act is named. She didn’t find out she was being paid less than the men around her until 19 years after she started at Goodyear. Even then, it was thanks only to an anonymous note. While President Obama has touted the fact that his first act as president was to sign that bill, it was a very, very incremental step toward gender wage parity. The law merely gives women more time to bring suits. The wage gap actually widened a bitafterward. Today, women who work full-time, year-round still make 77 percent of what similar men make, and progress has all but stalled for a decade.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
There has been a flurry of focus on the overwhelming nature of work/life balance. E.g., Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time; I Refuse to Be Busy. The second shift of housework, the reification of an organic Betty Crocker, and male norms of ideal workers all combine to stress and fundamentally impair a happy and mindful life. Something's got to give. Opt-out? Out source ? Or maybe we can just ease up on the uber-parenting.
So suggests this article in the Atlantic Don't Help Your Kids with Their Homework. Some key take-aways of "essentially useless parenting interventions" based on the sociological research:
- Helping kids with homework. Especially from middle school on, it can actually hurt them
- Meeting with teachers and principals
- Observing a kid’s class
- Volunteering at schools
- Bake sales
- Helping a teenager choose high-school courses
- Disciplinary measures such as punishing kids for getting bad grades or instituting strict rules about when and how homework gets done.
The things that do seem to matter?
- Reading to your child when they are young
- Talking to your teen about college options
- Getting your child placed with a good teacher
- Surrounding kids with colleged-educated adults with interesting careers
- Encouraging kids to ask critical questions and advocate for themselves
Today is Equal Pay Day 2014, "the symbolic day when women's earnings finally catch up to men's earnings from the previous year. It takes a few extra months because of the 23 percent gender wage gap that women typically face"
From Huffington Post, 7 Things to Know This Equal Pay Day
From LA Times, Obama Plans Executive Actions to Boost Equal Pay For Women
President Obama plans two new executive actions this week to promote equal pay for women — and to promote equal pay as a critical issue for Democrats this election year. One action, an executive order, will prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against employees who talk about how much money they make, according to an administration official familiar with the plans. The other, a presidential memorandum, will require contractors to report data to the government showing the compensation they provide their employees by sex and race.
US Dep't of Labor, Equal Pay:
When the Equal Pay Act was signed into law by President Kennedy in 1963, women were earning an average of 59 cents on the dollar compared to men. While women hold nearly half of today's jobs, and their earnings account for a significant portion of the household income that sustains the financial well-being of their families, they are still experiencing a gap in pay compared to men's wages for similar work. Today, women earn about 81 cents on the dollar compared to men — a gap that results in hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost wages. For African-American women and Latinas, the pay gap is even greater.
Beth Burkstrand-Reid (Nebraska) joins us as guest blogger this month. Her research focuses on reproductive rights and women's health, specifically abortion, birth control and pregnancy-related law. She is the recipient of the 2014 Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Status of Women, presented by the UNL Chancellor and the Chancellor's Commission on the Status of Women . Prior to her legal career, Professor Burkstrand-Reid was a journalist and her writing appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. She's on Twitter @beth_burkstrand.
A Nebraska bill prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is all but dead. Supporters did not have the votes to end a filibuster of the bill Monday, and the legislative session is rapidly drawing to a close.
“The bill would make it unlawful for an employer, employment agency or labor organization to discriminate against a person on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. It would apply to businesses with 15 or more employees, all employers with state contracts and state and local governments. Current state law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, marital status and national origin. [The] bill would not apply to religious organizations.”
Nevertheless, opponents repeatedly invoked religious liberty as a reason why the bill should fail, also arguing that homosexuality is a “choice.”
Monday, April 7, 2014
Maryland's bill, which the governor is expected to sign, would give LGPT folks greater legal protection, including in areas of housing, employment, and credit. One Washington Times writer, Emiliy Miller, opposes the bill because it would, she argues, permit men to enter women's public restrooms and to assault them there.
Maryland moms and dads will now have to be more vigilant when their children use public bathrooms. It will soon be legal for a man who simply says he identifies as a woman to use the ladies’ room.
This serious risk for sexual assaults of women and little girls is all in the name of political correctness. And this is just the latest in a string of successes by the transgender lobby.
I found Ms. Miller's arguments to be interesting. As a conservative right winger for the conservative Washington Times, she didn't argue that the law was immoral because it gave rights to transgender folk; she argued that the law empowered pedophiles. And while I see the sort of nasty associations that she is trying to make between the two, I still thought it was intriguing that she never quite came out in the open and made the right-wing argument that transgender folk ARE immoral.
Such evasion leads me to think that the generation of our law students are all, essentially, liberals, and that the GOP really needs to retool its moral message for America if it wants to be relevant in the future.
Saturday, April 5, 2014
When I used to teach, I did an exercise that required students to analyze my gender performance (thank you, Judith Butler). Students judged how feminine, masculine, or androgynous I was by paying careful attention to my appearance, affect, and personality. To make it easier for them, I wore a skirt, flowery tops, sparkly accessories, high heels, and more make-up than usual. By exaggerating my femininity, I helped them realize how pliable and deployable gender....
Almost every semester, a couple of students would raise their hands to tell me that I didn’t “look” like a professor....When I pressed them on why I didn’t look the part, they explained that professors seemed to be male, older (or younger), bearded, and white. Their vision of the professoriate startled me.
Erin Buzuvis (Western New England) sees potential good:
Given the current state of college athletics, there seems more potential benefit than risk for women in the types of reform that might ripple from the Northwestern case, said Erin Buzuvis, a law professor at Western New England University and a co-founder of the Title IX Blog.
“Division I athletic programs have been bringing in increasingly more money, and it hasn’t been the case that opportunities for women have been getting better,” Buzuvis said. “In fact, we’ve been seeing the reverse, a backslide.”
In her view, the equal treatment requirement of Title IX would compel colleges to provide the same collectively bargained benefits to female athletes as male athletes, from extended health insurance to salaries. “Nothing that happened” so far in the Northwestern case “changed Title IX in any way,” Buzuvis said.
Ellen Staurowsky (Drexel, sports management), sees some bad (and good):
If it holds that athletes are employees, Title IX, which refers to access to education, may not apply, said Ellen J. Staurowsky, a professor of sports management at Drexel and an expert on Title IX and college sports reform....
But an overhaul of athletics could stop the pitting of football players and men’s basketball players against female athletes, Staurowsky of Drexel said.
“The system is not committed to equity on either side,” she said. “It denies the rights of athletes who should be recognized as workers, and it has also violated Title IX with impunity. I think this window of opportunity, in terms of truth telling and saying what this enterprise actually is, opens the door to make gains on both fronts if we acknowledge that neither front has been well served.”
Beth Burkstrand-Reid (Nebraska) joins us as guest blogger this month. Her research focuses on reproductive rights and women's health, specifically abortion, birth control and pregnancy-related law. She is the recipient of the 2014 Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Status of Women, presented by the UNL Chancellor and the Chancellor's Commission on the Status of Women . Prior to her legal career, Professor Burkstrand-Reid was a journalist, with her writing appearing in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. She's on Twitter @beth_burkstrand.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kopf, author of the now-infamous “On being a dirty old man and how young women lawyers dress,” has returned to his computer, addressing the controversy his blog generated. In one recent post, titled "The Top Ten Things I Learned from Being a (Fill in Epithet of Choice)," Kopf said:
I despise faux apologies. So, for the uber outraged, hear this: I believe what I wrote. But the Judge makes it clear that his post did have some unintended consequences. Says Kopf: "Most importantly, the federal trial courts (including the one in which I am privileged to preside) are places where all female lawyers are safe. Thus, I am deeply ashamed that my post generated the following fearful comment from a real trial lawyer that I presume is entirely genuine: "Wow, am I ever glad I don’t have to appear before you. I would be very uncomfortable, having read your post.”
Kopf also discloses that the original "true story" he told about a woman lawyer who "wears very short skirts and shows lots of her ample chest" was "untrue, although it was essentially accurate. It was an amalgam intended to take separate but similar experiences of mine in the courtroom and to blend them together precisely so I didn't identify anyone."
From Politco, Harry Reid Moves Up Paycheck Fairness Vote
The Paycheck Fairness Act would require the Department of Labor to work with employers to eliminate pay disparities between men and women, as well as create grant programs that provide negotiating skills training to women.
“The legislation I’ve introduced ensures that women will no longer be on their own fighting for equal pay for equal work. With paycheck fairness, we can put change in the law books, and change into checkbooks of working families across America,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) on Tuesday.
A similar bill failed in 2012 over worries that it would harm businesses — and most in the Capitol expect the 2014 version to meet a similar demise,
Friday, April 4, 2014
Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, both at Alabama Law, have uploaded "Pornography and Harm to Women: 'No Empirical Evidence?'". The abstract reads:
Gives a brief history of depiction of women, including pornography, and shows how that depiction takes on different forms and functions, depending on needs of the dominant group at the time. Though many find degrading depictions of women distasteful, they disagree on the need for regulation. Like racial depiction, which is deeply embedded in culture, the harm of pornography is rendered invisible and makes depiction of female subjugation resistant to regulation.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit allowed one woman's sex discrimination claims against Wal-Mart to (finally) move forward. The decision is Odle v. Wal-Mart Stores (5th Cir. Mar. 31, 2014). Odle was one of the original plaintiffs in the class action Dukes case against Wal-Mart, but then former employees like were excluded from the class of current employees, and then the Supreme Court decertified the national class. Odle's claims arise from her termination in 1999-- 15 years ago!--but as she promised, "she will not go away."
Linda Coco (Barry) has posted Visible Women: Locating Women in Financial Failure, Bankruptcy Law, and Bankruptcy Reform. From the abstract:
The applications of bankruptcy law and processes appear to be gender neutral. They appear to be rational and fair. However, their impact is uneven and skewed to a particular perception of a woman’s economic status. BAPCPA’s emphasis on women as support creditors tied to the absent and irresponsible male breadwinner, reinforces the dominant gendered economic roles. It obscures the fact that the majority of single bankruptcy petition filers in the United States are women.