Saturday, March 21, 2015
Date: 15 September 2015
Venue: Centre for Law and Society at Lancaster University Law School
Keynote Speaker: Professor Feona Attwood, Professor of Cultural Studies, Communication and Media at Middlesex University, UK
Underlying the trolling of visible and audible women is the deeply entrenched misogynistic idea of silencing women. Trolling is arguably just the latest methodology used to keep women silenced. The process of silencing women has been on-going for centuries. In the 15th century, women were silenced by various methods one of which was known as the scolds bridle; a cast iron cage that was fitted over the head of the woman and which included a metal plate with spikes on that was inserted into her mouth. The intention and the effect were not only to silence that particular woman, but also to have a disciplinary effect on other women. The trolling of women such as Emma Watson; Mary Beard; Caroline Criado-Perez and Stella Creasy, raise questions about whether the trolling of audible and visible women is a modern equivalent of the scolds bridle. When looking at the effects these mechanisms produce, it is difficult to see the difference between the 15th century and the 21st century. Whilst men can indeed be trolled, the significant difference in their experience is that they are not trolled because of their sex or gender. The silencing of women and issues related to women straddles all areas of life from bank notes; video games and the high street (e.g. River Island's 'Anti Nag Gag'); or politics (e.g. Michael Fabricant's tweet that he would like to 'throat-punch' a female journalist).
We welcome submissions from a broad range of disciplines including law, criminology, media, sociology, cultural studies, history, social sciences, economics, psychology, linguistics and gender studies; from academics and non-academics whose work is relevant to the symposium theme, or which is of a multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary nature.
Please submit an abstract of max. 300 words and 5-7 keywords (indicating the main research area in particular), and a short biographical note (approx. 2-3 lines) firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include in your subject line 'Abstract submission'.
The deadline for submitting abstracts is 1st May 2015. A draft programme will be announced as soon as possible after the abstract submission deadline (and no later than 19th May 2015), together with registration details. The aim is to publish selected papers in an edited, peer-reviewed collection with a leading publisher.
[H/T Ryan Vacca]
A female former manager and a current executive are suing a California subsidiary of Boston Scientific Corp. for $50 million, asserting that the medical device company discriminates against female sales representatives by assigning them to less profitable territories and giving them higher quotas and lower commissions than male counterparts.
Plaintiffs Denise Fretter, a regional sales manager in Ohio, and Maria Korsgaard, a former territory manager in Nevada, state in the suit that Boston Scientific Neuromodulation Corp., in Valencia, Calif., pays its female sales reps less than males, even when they outperform the men.
“BSNC maintains an unfair system of gender-stratified compensation,” Felicia Medina, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs in the class- and collective-action complaint, said in a statement. “In effect, BSNC bars female employees from better and higher-paying positions that have traditionally been held by male employees. Its employment practices are illegal, morally wrong, and they must come to an end."
Friday, March 20, 2015
While the legal wrestling continues over gay marriage, lawyers for Gov. Robert Bentley told the U.S. Supreme Court that same-sex marriage is a social experiment that undermines the rights of children.
The governor filed a friend of the court brief Tuesday ahead of April arguments regarding gay marriage.
Bentley's lawyers said marriage is a natural reality and that same-sex marriage destroys the "rights of children to be connected to their biological parents."
Alabama made similar arguments in a Mobile court case that ended with a federal judge declaring the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional. The Alabama Supreme Court on March 3 ordered probate judges to stop giving marriage licenses to gay couples.
SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The City Council's Budget Committee gave a tentative green light Wednesday to a proposal to add the terms "gender identity" and "gender expression" to the types of discrimination banned by San Diego's Nondiscrimination in Contracting Ordinance.
The ordinance already keeps the city from doing business with companies that discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age or disability.
The proposed amendment would add gender identity -- defined by city staff as a person's sense of self, whether masculine, feminine, both, neither or somewhere in between, and gender expression -- a person's appearance or behavior no matter their sex at birth.
The change would bring the city into compliance with state law. "Including the terms `gender identity' and `gender expression' is an important step in the right direction, not only for the LGBT community, but I think for every San Diegan who would hope their government would treat everyone equally," committee Chairman Todd Gloria said.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Check out the pics @ WaPo, That time Pelosi, Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan Took a Selfie.
Girls do more chores than boys and are less likely to get an allowance in exchange for their work. When they do, they are paid less.
Research projects on children’s time use find that boys do 43 to 46 minutes of housework for every hour that girls do. When asked to list the chores they do, girls list 42 percent more chores than boys. Girls are as likely as boys to participate in outside chores and more likely to clean their own rooms, help prepare meals, and care for sibling and pets; the only thing boys report doing more often than girls is basic housecleaning.***
Not only are girls more likely to be asked to help out around the house, they are less likely to get paid. The Michigan study found that boys are 15 percent more likely than girls to get an allowance for the chores they do. And when they do get paid, they get a lower wage than their brothers. Male babysitters get paid $0.50 more an hour than females. Girls do 35 percent more work than boys, but bring home only $0.73 cents on boys’ dollar.
The gender pay gap starts early.
Side note: studying for both genders is at the bottom of the list.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
The sometimes ironically named "social" media brims with sexual harassment and shocking threats against women. Twitter, for one, seems to be aware of this but doesn't quite know what to do about it. From a story in the Guardian UK from February:
Twitter’s chief executive has acknowledged that the company “sucks at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform, and we’ve sucked at it for years”, in a leaked memo.
Dick Costolo’s statement was posted on Twitter’s internal forums, in response to an employee who had highlighted an article in the Guardian by columnist Lindy West about her experience with trolls on social media.
In the memo, obtained on Thursday by The Verge , Costolo writes: “I’m frankly ashamed of how poorly we’ve dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO. It’s absurd. There’s no excuse for it. I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front. It’s nobody else’s fault but mine, and it’s embarrassing.”
Lawyers for a transgender inmate convicted of murder asked the US supreme court Monday to overturn a ruling denying her request for sex-reassignment surgery.
A federal judge ordered the Massachusetts Department of Correction to grant the surgery to Michelle Kosilek in 2012, finding that it was the “only adequate treatment” for Kosilek’s severe gender dysphoria, also known as gender-identity disorder. That ruling was overturned in December by the 1st US circuit court of appeals.
Lawyers with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders told the Associated Press they asked the supreme court to grant a hearing or to reverse the ruling by the appeals court. They argue that the appeals court did not find “clear error” in the judge’s ruling granting the surgery and therefore had no legal basis to overturn it.
Kosilek, born Robert Kosilek, is serving a life sentence for killing spouse Cheryl McCaul in 1990.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
- Confronting the Gendered State: A Feminist Response to Gender Inequality and Gender Violence In the United States and the Irish Republic, 15 Wisc. J. Law, Gender & Society____ (forthcoming 2015).
- An American in St. Patrick’s Court: Gender-Violence, Gender Inequality and the Irish Feminist Response, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: A COMPARATIVE APPROACH (Oxford Univ. Press 2015).
A new $110 million lawsuit filed on Tuesday claims a U.S. division at Swiss drugmaker Novartis has routinely denied female employees equal pay and promotional opportunities, five years after the pharmaceutical giant was hit with a nine-figure jury verdict over similar claims.
The proposed class action suit filed in U.S. federal court in Manhattan says Texas-based Alcon Laboratories Inc, which was acquired by Novartis in 2010, maintains a "boy's club atmosphere" that is hostile to women and bars them from leadership positions.
An spokeswoman at Alcon, which specializes in eyecare products, deferred questions to Novartis Corp, which did not immediately return a request for comment.
A U.S. jury in 2010 ordered Novartis to pay more than $250 million in a separate class action that alleged widespread gender discrimination. At the time, it was the largest award in an employment discrimination case in U.S. history.
The company at the time said it would adopt reforms to prevent discrimination and retaliation against employees who complained.
“I had hoped to turn to her next week, but if we can’t finish the trafficking bill, she will be put off again,” saidmajority leader Mitch McConnell on CNN on the delay in Lynch’s confirmation. This delay is the latest in a series of interruptions in the more than four months since Lynch’s nomination, who would make history as the first black woman to serve as the Attorney General.
The trafficking bill in question is the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, sponsored by Republican Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). The bipartisan bill had been expected to pass smoothly through Congress, until Democratic party noticed a small provision of the bill that would effectively strengthen the Hyde Amendment, which bans spending federal dollars on abortion.
“This bill will not be used as an opportunity for Republicans to double down on their efforts to restrict a woman’s health-care choices,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). “It is absolutely wrong and, honestly, it is shameful. I know there are a whole lot of us who are going to fight hard against any attempt to expand the Hyde Amendment and permanently impact women’s health.”
Democrats are hopeful that the trafficking bill can be settled and passed quickly, so long as there is Republican support to remove the language limiting abortion access.
“We can finish this bill in 20 minutes,” said Democratic leader Senator Harry Reid. “The only thing that needs to be done is the language relating to abortion should come out of this bill. Abortion and human trafficking have nothing to do with each other.”
Joan Williams, The Throwback Sexism of Kleiner Perkins, Harvard Business Review.
The high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit by Ellen Pao against the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins is being discussed as if it’s emblematic of gender bias in tech. And in some ways, it is.
Pao’s attorney has argued that women were held to different standards from men. And that women were asked to do the “office housework”—such as being asked to take notes at a meeting, when taking notes precluded them from meaningful participation. The evidence presented so far also suggests that women at the firm do walk a tightrope between being seen as too passive and too harsh. Moreover, she claims, she was denied opportunities because she was pregnant. That’s three out of the four basic patterns of subtle bias I’ve identified in my research on professional women. Not bad for a day’s work.
But Pao v. Kleiner Perkins is not just about the kind of subtle stereotyping that’s common at many large tech companies. Much of what Pao describes is something quite different: an atmosphere straight from the blatant bias playbook
The Kleiner Perkins described by Pao fits this description. She reports being pressured into a sexual relationship with a male partner, Ajit Nazre. Another female partner whom Nazre pressured to have sex with him, Trae Vassallo, told an investigator hired by the firm that Nazre was “preying on female partners” and that she was constantly fending off his advances, in just the kind of sexualized atmosphere Ely’s 20-year-old study described. (Kleiner Perkins ultimately fired Nazre.) Another male partner told Vassallo she should be flattered by Nazre’s attention. A third gave her a sexually explicit book as a present for Valentine’s Day and invited her out to dinner, saying his wife was out of town. Other partners, on a business trip with Pao, discussed with a portfolio CEO and co-investor their delightful time with porn stars at the Playboy mansion, their sexual partner preferences, and more — “an adult cable show that involved sexual acts, they were discussing the Victoria’s Secret runway show, they were discussing older men they knew who were dating younger women, and they had a comment on Marissa Mayer being hot so Dan would let her on his board,” to quote Pao’s testimony. It all sounds more like the Anita Hill hearings or the Tailhook scandal than a modern-day lesson in subtle stereotyping.
Monday, March 16, 2015
Marie Ashe (Suffolk) has uploaded a new paper about the ministerial exception and its relationship to the area of gender and law. The abstract:
The US Supreme Court’s Hosanna-Tabor opinion, defining a Constitutionally-rooted “ministerial exemption” of churches from the obligations of anti-discrimination laws, utilized an “absolutist” approach that has been contrasted with the “balancing” approach to the same issue taken by the European Court of Human Rights. Focusing on Hosanna-Tabor, this essay provides analysis of the implications of the case by identifying its location in – and its contribution to – the program of “religious privilege” that has been advanced the Supreme Court during the past 25 years. The essay documents relevant Constitutional case law and statutes; outlines the evolution of the “ministerial exemption;” and, points to losses of individual equality that are being accomplished concurrently with great expansions of “religious liberty” and with abandonment of meaningful “separationism” in the US. Accepting the critique of “absolutism,” the essay suggests, further, that Hosanna-Tabor and other recent work of the Court lack – but that resources extractable from US law of the “religious pluralism” period can provide – conceptual resources useful for protection of individuals’ equality and for minimizing “divisiveness based on religion.”
A trio of economists have uploaded on SSRN a study about executive compensation and gender. The abstract:
We document three new facts about gender differences in executive compensation. First, female executives receive lower share of incentive pay in total compensation relative to males. This difference accounts for 93% of the gender gap in total pay. Second, the compensation of female executives displays lower pay-performance sensitivity. A $1 million dollar increase in firm value generates a $17,150 increase in firm specific wealth for male executives and a $1,670 increase for females. Third, female executives are more exposed to bad firm performance and less exposed to good firm performance relative to male executives. We find no link between firm performance and the gender of top executives. We discuss evidence on differences in preferences and the cost of managerial effort by gender and examine the resulting predictions for the structure of compensation. We consider two paradigms for the pay-setting process, the efficient contracting model and the “managerial power” or skimming view. The efficient contracting model can explain the first two facts. Only the skimming view is consistent with the third fact. This suggests that the gender differentials in executive compensation may be inefficient.
Prosecutors have been accused of leaving the door “wide open” for gender abortion in Britain after blocking an attempt to bring charges against two doctors accused of agreeing terminations based on the sex of unborn baby girls.
Dr Prabha Sivaraman and Dr Palaniappan Rajmohan were facing the first ever private prosecution on gender abortion charges after being filmed apparently agreeing to arrange terminations because of the gender of the foetus in an undercover Telegraph investigation in 2012.
The pair had been summoned to courts in Manchester and Birmingham to answer allegations laid by Aisling Hubert, a pro-life campaigner from Brighton, and supported by the Christian Legal Centre, in what would have been a landmark prosecution.
But the CPS has announced that it is to use its powers to quash the case.
It said that, although there is potentially enough evidence to bring a successful prosecution, it had concluded it would not be in the “public interest” to pursue the case.
Saturday, March 14, 2015
Riggins v. Polk County, 2015 WL 1037245 (11th Cir. Mar. 11, 2015)
David Riggins challenged, on equal protection grounds, a Polk County ordinance that grants women-owned and minority-owned business enterprises bidding for municipal contracts the opportunity to match the lowest qualifying bid if their original bid was within five percent of the lowest bid. ***
"Mr. Riggins, a white male, brought a pro se action under 42 U .S.C. § 1983 against Polk County, alleging race and gender discrimination in the bidding award of Polk County Quote 12–037. Mr. Riggins alleged in his amended complaint that he submitted the lowest qualified bid for Quote 12–037 on behalf of his company, D.C. Riggins, Inc. He attached to his initial complaint an “Invitation to Quote” sent from Polk County to D.C. Riggins, Inc., inviting the company to submit a bid for Quote 12–037 and instructing that the award would be made based on the overall low bid. Polk County Ordinance 10–005, however, provides a preference for women-owned and minority-owned business enterprises, which allows such businesses to match the lowest qualifying bid if their original bid was within five percent of the lowest bid. Mr. Riggins' complaint alleged that, by operation of Ordinance 10–005's price-matching preference, Quote 12–037 was awarded to the second-lowest bidder, a business that was given preference because it was owned by a woman. Mr. Riggins therefore asserted that Polk County discriminated against him based on his race and gender and that Ordinance 10–005 violated his equal protection rights."
The court held the case had to be brought by the company, and not the owner.
A former Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner who has sued the venture firm for gender discrimination faced tough questions on Friday from jurors about her communication skills, a decision to have an affair with a fellow partner, and other issues. ***
At least 37 states, including California, permit jurors to pose their own questions in civil cases once the lawyers are done, according to the American Judicature Society. Many states leave it up to the trial judge to decide whether to do so
- "Do you think your manner of communicating was professional?" asked one juror.
- One juror asked if it was "professional to enter into affair with married partner?"
- Another juror asked why Pao remained at Kleiner for several months in 2012 after she filed her lawsuit.
Ohio may not have gotten the national attention of say, Texas, but a steady stream of abortion restrictions over the past four years has helped close nearly half the state's clinics that perform the procedure.
Friday, March 13, 2015
The single most disturbing story coming out of the media and sports world last week was the horrific online abuse levied at Gabby Schilling, daughter of former Red Sox pitcher, Curt Schilling.
The story was first reported by Schilling on his 38 Pitches Blog.
Curt's daughter Gabby is also a pitcher, and they found out last week that she was accepted to Salve Regina University, where she will play softball.
Proud father Curt, who is active on social media and particularly on Twitter (@gehrig38) posted a Tweet that read "Congrats to Gabby Schilling who will pitch for the Salve Regina Seahawks next year!!"
But trolls started to attack Schilling:
I post those Tweets here not to be sensationalistic, but because they have to be seen to understand how deeply and viscerally disturbing they are.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is considering offering single-gender schools as a magnet program parents could apply for. The concept is one of several new themes the school district is exploring as CMS turns its eye on its magnet programs.
Single-gender classrooms have grown in popularity over the past 15 years as federal rule changes have made them easier to execute. Supporters point to numerous studies showing that girls and boys learn in different ways, and that teachers respond to them differently.
But the evidence is not concrete on whether single-gender education offers a measurable benefit, according to research highlighted by the National Education Association.