Gender and the Law Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Urgency of Intersectionality

The Urgency of Intersectionality: Kimberle Crenshaw Speaks at TED6

Kimberlé Crenshaw urges us to ask this question. Through her theory of intersectionality, she explains the overwhelming underrepresentation of violence against African-American women in activism, politics and media.

 

“The problem is, in part, a framing problem,” Crenshaw says. “Without frames that are capacious enough to address all the ways that disadvantages and burdens play out for all members of a particular group, the efforts to mobilize resources to address a social problem will be  partial and exclusionary.”

 

For Crenshaw, this meant developing a language as a method of understanding this problem, she says: “When there’s no name for a problem, you can’t see a problem. When you can’t see a problem, you can’t solve it.”

November 1, 2016 in Race, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Reading List for Law & Gender on Halloween

Bridget Bishop Hanged at Salem

Which means the Salem Witch Trials. 

Most of the victims of the trials were women.  And most of the accusers.  Scholars have talked about the trials as misogyny and at the same time as women's assertion of agency and power.  They also suggested the lax evidentiary standards allowed social judgments about women to be determinative of legal guilt.

Stacy Schiff, The Witches: Salem, 1692 (2015)

Carol Karlsen, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman (1998)

Jane Moriarty, Wonders of the Invisible World: Prosecutorial Syndrome and Profile Evidence in the Salem Witchcraft Trials, 26 Vermont L. Rev. 43 (2001)

Mary Beth Norton, In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 (2003)

Peter Hoffer, The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Legal History (1997)

October 31, 2016 in Books, Courts, Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 28, 2016

CFP Gender & Family Entrepreneurship

CFP: Gender & Family Entrepreneurship

Call for book chapters/ Edited book:

GENDER AND FAMILY ENTREPRENEURSHIP

To be published by Routledge 2017

Vanessa Ratten, Veland Ramadani, Leo-Paul Dana, Robert Hisrich and Joao Ferreira

Submission deadlines (Chapter proposal, 2-3 pages): January 15, 2017

Authors are invited to submit a book chapter proposal on either GENDER ENTREPRENEURSHIP or FAMILY ENTREPRENEURSHIP for an edited book to be published by Routledge

This edited book will focus on gender and family entrepreneurship. There has been an increasing focus on the role of gender in business because of associated personality and behavioral traits. This has meant that the study of gender entrepreneurship has encouraged research about the way females and males may approach differently the process of business creation. In conjunction with the growing interest in gender entrepreneurship has been the literature about family entrepreneurship increasing in significance. Family business comprises a large proportion of overall total businesses and many large multinationals once started as family owned organizations. Many family business are small and regionally focused but this has changed with the increased usage of technological innovations. In addition, more media attention has been placed on the role of family businesses in society as being the originators of ideas and creativity. The aim of this edited research book is to focus both on gender and family entrepreneurship as they are interrelated concepts particularly important in today’s global society. It is important to include both gender and family entrepreneurship as gender plays a role in the development and growth of family businesses. This helps to better understand the role of family dynamics in business particularly in terms of succession planning, strategic development and internationalization. Often both gender and family entrepreneurship are studied independently but the role of this edited book is to combine both perspectives by offering a novel approach. This creates a synergy between gender and family entrepreneurship that increases the potential value to entrepreneurship scholarship, policy and business practice. This edited book will be one of the first to combine both gender and family entrepreneurship thereby offering a new and insightful addition to the entrepreneurship field.

Please send book chapter proposals to any of the editors: Vanessa Ratten v.ratten@latrobe.edu.au; Veland Ramadani v.ramadani@seeu.edu.mk; Leo Paul Dana lp.dana@montpellier-bs.com; Robert Hisrich rhisric1@kent.edu; João Ferreira jjmf@ubi.pt.

 

 

October 28, 2016 in Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Woman's Constitutional Right to Her Surname in Japan

NYT, In Japan, More Women Fight to Use Their Own Surnames

This was the topic of a paper recently published in Akron Law's open-access constitutional law journal, ConLawNOWby our visiting scholar from Japan.  

Koji Higashikawa, Tying the Knot with a Surname? The Constitutionality of Japan's Law Requiring a Same Marital Name

October 28, 2016 in Constitutional, Family, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

CFP Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Reproductive Justice

Call for Authors for Volume of Rewritten Reproductive Justice Opinions

The U.S. Feminist Judgments Project seeks contributors of rewritten judicial opinions and commentary on those opinions for an edited collection entitled Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Reproductive Justice (working title). This edited volume, proposed to be published by Cambridge University Press, is part of a collaborative project among law professors and others to rewrite, from a feminist perspective, key judicial decisions. The initial volume, Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court, edited by Kathryn M. Stanchi, Linda L. Berger, and Bridget J. Crawford, was published in 2016 by Cambridge University Press (that book’s cases and authors are available here). Subsequent volumes in the series will focus on different courts or different subject matters. This call is for contributions to a volume of reproductive justice (RJ) decisions rewritten from a feminist perspective.

Reproductive Justice volume editor Kimberly Mutcherson seeks prospective authors for 15 rewritten RJ-related opinions covering a range of topics. With the help of an advisory committee, the editor has already selected 15 cases to be rewritten. Potential authors are welcome to suggest other cases, but given certain constraints (including a preference for avoiding cases that have already or soon will be rewritten for other volumes in this series), it is unlikely that the list of cases will change. The current list of cases and a list of cases that the editor and advisory committee considered, but that (sadly) did not make the final cut, can be found here. Cases may come from any jurisdiction and any court, including non-U.S. jurisdictions. As is necessary in a text focused on RJ, the volume editor conceives of feminism broadly as multiple movements concerned with justice and equality. Further, as befits an RJ focused volume, authors should be prepared to rewrite cases in a way that brings into focus intersectionality, gender, race, class, disability, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, national origin, histories of incarceration, immigration status, and beyond.

As the core of the Feminist Judgments Project is judicial opinions, proposals must be either to (1) rewrite a case (not administrative guidance, regulations, etc.) or (2) comment on a rewritten case. Rewritten opinions may be re-imagined majority opinions, dissents, or concurrences, as appropriate to the court. Feminist judgment writers will be bound by law and precedent in effect at the time of the original decision (with a 10,000 word maximum for the rewritten judgment). Commentators will explain the original court decision, how the feminist judgment differs from the original judgment, and what difference the feminist judgment might have made (4,000 word maximum for the commentary). Commentators and opinions writers who wish to work together are welcome to indicate that in the application.

 

The U.S. Feminist Judgments Project approaches revised judicial opinion writing as a form of critical socio-legal scholarship. There are several world-wide projects engaged in similar efforts, including the U.K.-based Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice (2010); Australian Feminist Judgments: Righting and Rewriting Law (2014); the Women’s Court of Canada; ongoing projects in Ireland, New Zealand, and a pan-European project; and other U.S.-based projects currently under way.

Those who are interested in rewriting an opinion or providing the commentary on one of the rewritten RJ cases should complete the submission form found here.

Applications are due by November 21, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. (EST). The editor expects to notify accepted authors and commentators no later than December 16, 2016. First drafts of rewritten opinions will be due on June 2, 2017. First drafts of commentaries will be due on August 4, 2017.

 

 

October 27, 2016 in Books, Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

On Gender Discrimination in Damages

Wash Post, In One Corner of the Law, Women and Minorities Often Valued Less

[W]hite and male victims often receive larger awards than people of color and women in similar cases, according to more than two dozen lawyers and forensic economists, the experts who make the calculations. These differences largely derive from projections of  how much more money individuals would have earned over their lifetimes had they not been injured – projections that take into account average earnings and employment levels by race and gender.

 

The debate over this use of demographic averages pits two tenets of the American justice system – fairness and accuracy – against each other.

 

Martha Chamallas, a law professor at Ohio State, called the practice reminiscent of “something Ruth Bader Ginsburg and civil rights advocates [fought] in the 1960s.” Jennifer Wriggins, a law professor at the University of Maine, said it “reinforces past discrimination and pushes it out into the future and endorses it.”

 

Defenders say it is the most accurate way to make calculations about the losses people incur when they are injured. “If there’s a difference in society, it is what it is. It’s a difference, and the economist’s job is to figure out what would have happened,” said James Woods, a forensic economist in Houston.

ABA J, Should Race and Gender be Used in Calculating Income? It's a Common Practice

 

October 27, 2016 in Courts, Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The ABA's New Rule Mandating Diverse CLE Panels

Ronald Rotunda, The ABA's New Rules Mandating "Diverse" CLE Panels.  He speaks out against the new rule, arguing that it is poorly drafted and impractical to implement, among other things.  

Here's what the new rules provide:

The ABA expects all CLE programs sponsored or co-sponsored by the ABA to meet the aspirations of Goal III by having the faculty include members of diverse groups as defined by Goal III (race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability). This policy applies to individual CLE programs whose faculty consists of three or more panel participants, including the moderator. Individual programs with faculty of three or four panel participants, including the moderator, will require at least 1 diverse member; individual programs with faculty of five to eight panel participants, including the moderator, will require at least 2 diverse members; and individual programs with faculty of nine or more panel participants, including the moderator, will require at least 3 diverse members. The ABA will not sponsor, co-sponsor, or seek CLE accreditation for any program failing to comply with this policy unless an exception or appeal is granted. The ABA implementation date for the new Diversity & Inclusion CLE Policy shall be March 1, 2017.

 

 

 

October 26, 2016 in Education, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Feminist Subversion in Iceland

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Slut-Shaming in the Workplace

At last week's tremendous Feminist Judgments Conference, I had the pleasure of listening to many new works and feminist thinking in a wide variety of areas.  Here is one to share today:

Wendy Hess, Slut-Shaming in the Workplace: Sexual Rumors & Hostile Environment Claims, 40 NYU Rev. L & Social Change 581 (2016)

ABSTRACT

“Slut-shaming” is the act of criticizing a woman for her real or perceived sexual promiscuity.  Until now, much scholarship and journalism has focused on the slut-shaming of school-aged girls and young women. This article broadens the discussion about this harassing behavior by illuminating an overlooked area: slut-shaming in the American workplace. This article focuses on how courts have dealt with hostile work environment cases based in whole or in part on rumors about adult women’s alleged sexual promiscuity. In particular, courts have struggled with how to interpret Title VII’s seemingly simple requirement that conduct occur “because of” sex. Courts have often failed to recognize the gendered aspect of sexual rumors about women. Due to the continued existence of the sexual double standard, rumors about women who engage in sex acts with men penalize women for violating gender norms.

 

October 25, 2016 in Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

First SCOTUS Argument Brings (Brief) Gender Equality in the Courtroom

Wash Post, For a Rare Moment at the Supreme Court, the Genders Were on Equal Footing

The first oral argument of the Supreme Court’s new term this month delivered something so rare as to be practically nonexistent: gender equality.

 

Debating an obscure question about the constitutional principle of double jeopardy were five men, all justices of the Supreme Court, and five women: the three female justices and the two female lawyers who took turns at the lectern for their respective clients.

October 18, 2016 in Courts | Permalink | Comments (0)

What are Feminist Judgments?

The US Feminist Judgments Conference is this week here at Akron Law.

The background materials for the conference include articles and essays exploring the foundational ideas of the conference, including what feminism means, what feminist judgments are and why we might need them, and the difference feminist decision making might make.  To review the materials, go here:  US Feminist Judgments CLE Materials

Table of Contents:

Kathyrn Stanchi, Linda Berger, & Bridget Crawford, Introduction to the Book: Feminist Judgments (Cambridge 2016)

 

Sally Kenney, Thinking About Gender and Judging (2008)

 

Sally Kenney, Wise Latinas, Strategic Minnesotans, and the Feminist Standpoint: The Backlash Against Women Judges, Thomas Jefferson L.Review (2013)

 

Heather Roberts & Laura Sweeney, Why (Re)Write Judgments? (2014)

 

Erika Rackley, What a Difference Difference Makes (2008)

 

Rosemary Hunter, Can Feminist Judges Make a Difference? (2008)

 

Rosemary Hunter, Feminist Judgments as Teaching Resources, Oñati Socio-legal Series (2012)

 

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Lecture: A Latina Judge’s Voice (2009)

 

Justice Sotomayor, dissenting, Utah v. Strieff, 579 U.S. ___, 136 S. Ct. 2056 (2015)

 

Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124 (2007)

 

Justice Ginsburg, dissenting in Gonzales

 

Beverley Baines, Why Not Nine? (2016)

 

Tracy Thomas & TJ Boisseau, Law, History & Feminism, Introduction to Feminist Legal History (NYU Press 2012) 

 

October 18, 2016 in Conferences, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 17, 2016

US Feminist Judgments Conference This Week

It's finally time for the US Feminist Judgments Conference this week, Thursday Oct. 20th and Friday Oct. 21st at Akron Law.  I will be blogging and tweeting live from the conference here, and @ProfTracyThomas and @conlawcenter.  Follow hashtag #FemJConf

The full conference program is here: Rewriting the Law, Writing the Future Program

Featured speakers include: Linda Berger, Bridget Crawford, Kathryn Stanchi, Berta Hernández-Truyol, Jamie Abrams, Shoshanna Ehrlich, Yvonne Lindgren, Margaret Johnson, Meghan Boone, Teri McMurtry-Chubb, Valorie Vojdik, Martha Chamallas, Danshera Cords, Jonathan Crock, Phyllis Goldfarb, Wilson Huhn, Shaakirrah Sanders, Hannah Brenner, Renee Knake, Meg Penrose, Anibal Rosario Lebron, Lisa Avalos, Nancy Cantalupo, Joanne Sweeny, Corey Yung, Karen Gross, Wendy Hess, Kimberly Holst, Susan Salmon, Elizabeth Kukura, Kalyani Robbins, Jessica Feinberg, Nicole Porter, Natalie Nanasi, Kim Holst, Emily Meyer, Navid Khazanei, Deborah Saybolt, Tara Willke, Laura Rosenbury, and Tracy Thomas.

A special panel of judges' will include Eve Belfance, City Attorney Akron, former Judge; Ohio Court of Appeals Karen Nelson Moore, Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; Mary Margaret Rowlands, Judge, Summit County Court of Common Pleas; Elinore Marsh Stormer, Judge, Ohio Probate Court

The keynote speaker will be political scientist Sally Kenney speaking on "The Difference Gender Makes to Judging."

 

October 17, 2016 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Stereotyped Domestic Violence Offender

Carolyn Ramsey, The Stereotyped Offender: Domestic Violence and the Failure of Intervention, 120 Penn State L.Rev. 337 (2015)

Abstract:     

Scholars and battered women’s advocates now recognize that many facets of the legal response to intimate-partner abuse stereotype victims and harm abuse survivors who do not fit commonly accepted paradigms. However, it is less often acknowledged that the feminist analysis of domestic violence also tends to stereotype offenders and that state action, including court-mandated batterer intervention, is premised on these offender stereotypes. The feminist approach can be faulted for minimizing or denying the role of substance abuse, mental illness, childhood trauma, race, culture, and poverty in intimate-partner abuse. Moreover, those arrested for domestic violence crimes now include heterosexual women, lesbians, and gay men; abuse is as common in same-sex relationships as in their heterosexual counterparts. Failure to take such factors into account perpetuates a one-dimensional image of the batterer as a controlling, heterosexual, male villain — a stereotype that impedes efforts to coordinate effective responses to domestic violence and entrenches gendered hierarchies that affect men, as well as women.

This Article begins by placing the feminist paradigm of the batterer in historical context. Although feminists transformed the dialogue about domestic violence by locating it in patriarchy and gender inequality, the offender stereotype that the Battered Women’s Movement used to spur a vigorous state response and that still drives domestic violence policy shares some limitations with earlier paradigms of the wife beater — the hot-headed sinner in Puritan New England or the drunken brute of Temperance discourse. Like these earlier stereotypes, the image of the coercive, controlling male batterer is too one-dimensional and too closely tied to other sociopolitical agendas to yield a practical approach to prevent domestic violence and change the behavior of its perpetrators.

Drawing on historical, sociological, and psychological materials, as well as insights from masculinities studies, this Article suggests limits to our understanding of those who commit intimate-partner abuse and to the laws and policies — especially court-mandated batterer intervention programs (“BIPs”) — currently in place. It presents an original analysis of 46 sets of state and local standards for BIPs to show that, although these standards are starting to be more inclusive, they still tend to impose a “one-size-fits-all” formula designed for heterosexual male offenders. The “one-size-fits-all” approach ignores crucial differences — not only in intimate-partner violence committed by women, as opposed to men, and homosexuals, as opposed to heterosexuals — but also between heterosexual male offenders and the types of abuse they inflict. Recognizing these differences would facilitate the effective tailoring of BIPs to achieve long-term behavioral change in a variety of participants. The Article concludes by offering preliminary suggestions for transforming pro-feminist interventions to encourage accountability and rehabilitation and to reduce recidivism without stereotyping domestic violence offenders.

 

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

Books: Sex Trafficking in the US

Andrea J. Nichols, Sex Trafficking in the United States (Columbia Press 2016)

Sex Trafficking in the United States is a unique exploration of the underlying dynamics of sex trafficking. This comprehensive volume examines the common risk factors for those who become victims, and the barriers they face when they try to leave. It also looks at how and why sex traffickers enter the industry. A chapter on buyers presents what we know about their motivations, the prevalence of bought sex, and criminal justice policies that target them. Sex Trafficking in the United States describes how the justice system, activists, and individuals can engage in advocating for victims of sex trafficking. It also offers recommendations for practice and policy and suggestions for cultural change.

 

Andrea J. Nichols approaches sex-trafficking-related theories, research, policies, and practice from neoliberal, abolitionist, feminist, criminological, and sociological perspectives. She confronts competing views of the relationship between pornography, prostitution, and sex trafficking, as well as the contribution of weak social institutions and safety nets to the spread of sex trafficking. She also explores the link between identity-based oppression, societal marginalization, and the risk of victimization. She clearly accounts for the role of race, ethnicity, immigrant status, LGBTQ identities, age, sex, and intellectual disability in heightening the risk of trafficking and how social services and the criminal justice and healthcare systems can best respond. This textbook is essential for understanding the mechanics of a pervasive industry and curbing its spread among at-risk populations.

 

Please visit our supplemental materials page (https://cup.columbia.edu/extras/supplement/sex-trafficking-united-states) to find teaching aids, including PowerPoints, access to a test bank, and a sample syllabus

October 14, 2016 in Books, Human trafficking, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Preview of AALS Programs on Gender & Law

Here's the full schedule: 2017 AALS Annual Meeting Schedule at a Glance

Not a big year for feminist inquiry per se.  Panels of interest to law & gender include:

[4050] Joint Program of Disability Law, Insurance Law, Law, Medicine and Health Care and Minority Groups, Co-Sponsored by Poverty Law and Women in Legal Education – Why Law Matters: Health and Social Justice

 

[5070] Clinical Legal Education – Addressing Implicit Bias in Teaching

 

[5160] Women In Legal Education, CoSponsored by Minority Groups, Balance in Legal Education – Cultivating Empathy

 

[1411] Women in Legal Education Luncheon. Ticket price is $85 per person.

 

[5250] Employment Discrimination Law, Co-Sponsored by Women in Legal Education – Responding to Fisher v. Texas

 

[7110] Women in Legal Education – Speed Mentoring

 

[6270] Education Law – Title IX and Transgender Student Rights: Looking Ahead

 

October 13, 2016 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

Anita Hill on Sexual Harassment: Focus on the Victims

Anita Hill, Op ed, What We Can Still Learn from Sexual Harassment

What I learned in 1991 is no less true today and no less important for people to understand: responses to sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence must start with a belief that women matter as much as the powerful men they encounter at work or at school, whether those men are bosses or professors, colleagues or fellow students.

 

We must understand the harm that sexual harassment and sexual violence causes. Missing from the conversation this weekend, which focused almost exclusively on the character of the offender, was concern about the victims of sexual violence....

 

A recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Task Force reported on the psychological, physical, occupational, and economic harm that victims of sexual harassment suffer. Since 1991, I’ve heard from thousands of women who have experienced harassing bosses and colleagues. Some overcome the situations, but none of them ever forget the pain of it. To understand why the way women are treated matters, we must view Donald Trump’s comments and the behavior he described from the point of view of a victim of sexual predation.

 

Trump’s language, which he and others have tried to minimize as “locker room banter,” is predatory and hostile. To excuse it as that or as youthful indiscretion or overzealous romantic interest normalizes male sexual violence. According to attorney Joe Sellers, a member of the EEOC Task Force, “Trump’s remarks reflect the quintessential mindset of a harasser: the view that he has certain privileges and power by virtue of his celebrity status and position.”

October 13, 2016 in Pop Culture, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rethinking Gender Forums

The Rethinking Gender Forums sponsored by the University of Akron Women's Studies program brings together colleagues from multiple disciplines to deepen the dialogue and understanding of gender issues.  

RETHINKING GENDER FORUMS

Wednesday October 19, 2016

“Never Could Make Enough To Get Ahead: Southern Freedwomen's Work in Socio-historical Perspective”

Dr. Kathryn Feltey, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

 

Wednesday November 16, 2016

“Going Back in Time: Whiteness, Maleness, and the Lure of Cinematic Nostalgia”

Dr. Kara Kvaran, Department of Women’s Studies

 

Wednesday February 15, 2017

“The Perils of Perfection: Why Girls Should Be Bold and Imperfect”

Dr. Robin Prichard, Associate Professor, School of Dance, Theatre, and Arts Administration

 

Wednesday March 22, 2017

“Poetry Lives! Two Akron Women Poets on Gender, the Body, and Surprise”

Dr. Mary Biddinger, Associate Professor, English Department, and Holly Brown, Author

 

Wednesday April 19, 2017

“College Students’ Caregiving Responsibilities and Its Impact on College Performance”

Dr. Pam Schulze, Professor and Director of the Center for Family Studies

October 13, 2016 in Conferences, Gender | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Recognizing a Cause of Action for Reproductive Negligence

Dov Fox, Reproductive Negligence, Columbia L. Rev. (forthcoming)

Abstract:     

A pharmacist fills a prescription for birth control pills with prenatal vitamins. A lab loses a cancer survivor’s eggs. A clinic exposes embryos to Mad Cow. A sperm bank uses a donor of a different race. A geneticist predicts a healthy fetus would be born with a terrible disease. These transgressions go unchecked within a reproductive profession that operates virtually free of regulation. Victims who sue find the legal system treats their suffering as more trifle than tragedy. Courts don’t deny that specialists are to blame for botching a vasectomy or misimplanting an embryo. But in the absence of property loss or physical injury, they decline to recognize disrupted family planning as a serious and distinct harm worthy of legal protection.

This Essay introduces a right to recover for reproductive wrongs that: (1) impose procreation on people who undertook efforts to avoid it; (2) deprive those who pursued pregnancy or parenthood of that opportunity; or (3) confound more particular reproductive goals for a child with certain traits. This cause of action would measure these three injuries as a function of (a) their practical consequences for plaintiffs; and (b) the probability that misconduct was responsible for having caused those injuries. Damages would accordingly be reduced in cases of defective birth control based on the role of user error; in cases of lost embryos, depending on the severity of preexisting infertility; and in cases of prenatal misdiagnosis, in proportion to uncertainties in genetic testing.

 

October 12, 2016 in Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Now Requires Baby Changing Tables in Men's Restrooms in Federal Buildings

President Obama Signs Changing Table Law for all Federal Restrooms

Kudos then, to Congress and President Obama for passing a law that will make changing tables mandatory in women’s and men’s restrooms in all federal buildings. Introduced in the House of Representatives last spring by Rep. David Cicilline, the bill was passed by a large margin in the house (389-34) and signed into law by the President on October 7. Named the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation (BABIES) Act, the bill “requires male and female restrooms in a public buildings to be equipped with baby changing facilities that the General Services Administration determines are physically safe, sanitary, and appropriate.” The legislation mandates that any necessary changes be made in the next two years and allows for some exceptions such as in cases where the cost of construction is unfeasible.

 

“Federal buildings are paid for by taxpayers and it's important to ensure that they are as open, as accessible, and as family-friendly as possible,” Rep. Cicilline wrote on Facebook. “This is how government should work to make commonsense reforms that make life easier for the people we serve.”

 

In recent years, there’s been a growing movement among dads fighting for changing tables in men’s rooms. Last year, Ashton Kutcher created a petition on Change.org asking for Target and Costco to put changing tables in all their stores and received 104,384 signatures. In 2014, the California State Assembly passed the “Potty Parity for Parents Act,” which would have required businesses installing changing tables in the future to make them available to both sexes. Unfortunately, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed this bill, as well as another one which would have required government buildings and other public places to make changing tables available to men, explaining that he thought implementing these changes would best be left to the private sector. Also, last year New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman introduced legislation, currently in committee, which would require new or recently renovated public buildings in New York to provide equal access to changing tables.

October 12, 2016 in Family | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Recommendation Letters May Disadvantage Women

Inside Higher Ed, Study Suggests Language Recommendation Letter Writers Use May Disadvantage Women

A much-cited 2012 study found scientists were more enthusiastic about identical applications for a lab manager position when a generic male name was at the top, versus a female one. The implications of such findings are troubling, but one possible, relatively easy solution is hiding candidates’ names during the screening process. Harder to solve are the problems posed in a new study suggesting that letters of recommendation disadvantage women scientists on the job hunt by virtue of how they discuss candidates they’re trying to help.

 

Gender Differences in Recommendation Letters for Postdoctoral Fellowships in Geoscience,” published this week in Nature Geoscience, says women are only about half as likely as men to receive letters containing language that describes them as excellent, rather than just good. The study involved letters from about 500 U.S. and international institutions regarding candidates for a postdoctoral research fellowship in the geosciences at a top American university.

 

Interestingly, the gendered use of language was consistent across letter writers. So women, for example, weren't any more likely to describe female candidates with the kind of dynamic language that might push them into the “excellent” category than were men.

October 11, 2016 in Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)