Thursday, July 31, 2014
....as many as a third of all women serving in the military are raped by fellow soldiers during their tours of duty, compounding whatever traumas they may have experienced in combat.
Rebecca Lee (Thomas Jefferson), has posted Book Review, Sonia Sotomayor: Role Model of Empathy and Purposeful Ambition, Minnesota Law Rev. Headnotes (2013).
In writing her memoir, My Beloved World, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor expressly acknowledges that she is a public role model and embraces this responsibility by making herself accessible to a broad audience. As a public figure, she sees an opportunity to connect with others through an account of her life journey, with details of initial challenges and lessons learned along the way, to show that one’s beginnings need not constrain one’s aspirations. Although her memoir ends at the point she begins her judicial career, twenty years ago, her experiences and reflections provide a sense of how she may approach her work on the Supreme Court, including the importance she attaches to perspective-taking — or empathy — in relating to others and viewing the larger world. Her empathic skill, as well as her understanding of public purpose as a Justice and role model, all serve to strengthen the judicial function and present a hopeful picture of further important contributions to come as she continues her work on the bench.
We previously posted about the religious exemption from Title IX granted to a religious school over dormitory housing for a transgender student. The school is run by the Quakers, but the Quaker leaders don't agree that on what their religion holds. Debate Over Transgender Student Reveals Division in Quaker Church
With sadness, our blog reports the passing of Prof. Cheryl Hanna of Vermont Law School. She was an expert in gender law, among other topics. Prof. Hanna was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at Duquesne University's conference on the Violence Against Women Act.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Harriette Cunningham, 11, was born a boy called Declan.
She filed paperwork in 2013 to change her name with support of her family.
She also began a letter-writing campaign to government officials allowing her to change her gender on official documents.
"It just made me so mad and made me almost frustrated to know that I'm a girl and then I look on my passport and it says that I'm a boy," Cunninghamtold CTV News.
She is one of the first 30 people in British Columbia, Canada, to do so without having gender reassignment surgery, which the new legislation allows.
Statistics show 30 million girls are at risk of FGM in the next decade, and, each year, about 14 milliongirls are forced to marry before they are ready. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN convention on the rights of the child should prevent such injustices, yet girls' basic rights to health, education and security remain unmet. As young feminists, we know that patriarchy perpetuates the idea that girls are of less value, which leads to their systematic neglect in economic, political, social, legal and educational realms.
Harper Jean Tobin and Jennifer Levi have posted Securing Equal Access to Sex-Segregated Facilities for Transgender Students, 28 Wisconsin J. Law, Gender & Soc'y 301 (2013).
If Title IX is to have any real meaning for transgender students, it must protect a student's ability to live and participate in school as a member of the gender with which they identify. This means that students must be permitted to use gender-segregated spaces, including restrooms and locker rooms, consistent with their gender identity, without restriction. Denial of equal access to facilities that correspond to a student's gender identity singles out and stigmatizes transgender students, inflicts humiliation and trauma, interferes with medical treatment, and empowers bullies. A student subjected to these conditions is, by definition, deprived of an equal opportunity to learn because of his or her transgender status, and therefore, because of his or her sex. Arguments against equal access reflect broader animus and stereotypes about transgender people, and rely on justifications that have been rejected by courts in related contexts. Access consistent with a student's gender identity is widely practiced, and is the only workable and nondiscriminatory approach that is consistent with Title IX's requirement of equal educational opportunity.
Kristin Collins (Boston U) has posted A Short History of Sex and Citizenship: The Historians' Amicus Brief in Flores-Villar v. US.
The historians’ amicus brief that accompanies this essay was submitted to the Supreme Court in Flores-Villar v. United States, an equal protection challenge to federal statutes that regulate the citizenship status of foreign-born children of American parents. When the parents of such children are unmarried, federal law encumbers the ability of American fathers to secure citizenship for their children, while providing American mothers with a nearly unfettered ability to do the same. The general question before the Court in Flores-Villar – and a question that the Court has addressed in sum and substance on two other occasions during the last thirteen years – was whether the gender asymmetry in this statutory scheme is consistent with constitutional sex-equality principles. The goal of the historians’ amicus brief in Flores-Villar was to explain to the Court how this ostensibly obscure citizenship law is part of a larger historical phenomenon: the persistence of gender-based sociolegal norms in determining citizenship. The introductory essay provides an overview of the account provided in the brief and discusses how generic conventions shaped the amicus brief’s presentation of the history of sex-based citizenship laws.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
From the Baltimore Sun:
Maryland has officially become the third state in the nation to provide insurance coverage for transition-related care,The Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday.
The policy shift, which went into effect July 1 but was only announced publicly this week, means that any state employee, retiree, or dependent will be able to access mental health services, hormone therapy, and a range of surgeries associated with gender reassignment without having to pay entirely out of pocket. California and Oregon are the only other states that provide similar insurance coverage for their transgender employees.
Walk into a bookstore, browse Amazon cookbook category listings, and you’ll find various genres of cookbooks.....But absent is a category for women, revealing the assumption that unmarked cookbooks are for women.
There is a lot of gendered discourse we can examine in books like cookbooks for men. The titles themselves are loaded with stereotypes: “Man Meets Stove: A Cookbook for Men Who’ve Never Cooked Anything without a Microwave,” “Men’s Health Muscle Chow: More than 150 Meals to Feed Your Muscles and Fuel Your Workouts,” and “Eat like a Man: The Only Cookbook a Man will Ever Need.”
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Known as the “women’s treaty,” the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women—CEDAW—was signed by the United States 34 years ago today. The United Nations had adopted the treaty, pledging to give women equal rights in all aspects of their lives, on December 18, 1979, and at a special ceremony during the Copenhagen Conference the U.S. and 63 other countries signed on.
But that was only part of the process necessary for putting CEDAW into action. Countries also need to ratify the treaty—and 34 years later, the U.S. still hasn’t. That puts this country in what could hardly be called good company, with Iran, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Palau and Tonga. Hardly a roll call of great democracies and world leaders. Meanwhile, 188 other countries and regions haveratified the treaty.
[T]he task of feeding children on an inadequate budget falls primarily to women. That women still do the majority of household labor is well known, but usually it’s discussed in the context of middle-class obsessions like leaning in and the mommy wars, not in the context of growing poverty.
McMillan shows just how heavily domestic duties weigh on food-insecure women—both the practical and menial labor of getting dinner on the table, and also the emotional labor required to negotiate with hungry kids.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Maya Manian has uploaded on SSRN "The Consequences of Abortion Restrictions for Women's Healthcare," 75 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 1317 (2014). The abstract reads:
This Essay challenges the false assumption that abortion care can be segregated from women’s medical care and targeted for special restrictions without any effects on women’s health more broadly. As a matter of medical reality, abortion cannot be isolated from the continuum of women’s healthcare. Yet policymakers and the public have failed to understand the interconnectedness of abortion with other aspects of women’s medical care. In fact, existing abortion restrictions harm women’s health even for women not actively seeking abortion care, but these impacts remain obscured. For example, antiabortion laws and policies have spillover effects on miscarriage management, prenatal care, and the treatment of ectopic pregnancies. Focusing the public’s attention on the broader effects of abortion restrictions on women’s health could help make visible the links between abortion and healthcare. Furthermore, educating the public about the full healthcare consequences of abortion restrictions could be one key means to preserving access to abortion care. Repositioning the law to recognize abortion care as an integral part of the continuum of women’s medical needs is critical to protecting women’s health.
The University of Connecticut will pay $1.28 million to settle a lawsuit filed by five students who charged that the university had treated their claims of sexual assault and harassment with indifference, the two sides announced on Friday in a joint statement.
In a news conference on Friday, Gloria Allred, the plaintiffs’ counsel, said the settlement was in the best interest of her clients and of the university. “We hope that other victims of sexual assault will hear about the positive results in our case involving UConn and be inspired and encouraged to report instances of sexual violence and assault,” Ms. Allred said, adding, “Title IX is there for their protection, and other universities should follow the law and UConn’s example.”
At Jotwell, Ruthanann Robson's essay, Empiricism and Equality: Studying Fathers' Rights, reviews Kelly Behre's article Digging Beneath the Equality Language: The Influence of the Fathers' Rights Movement on Intimate Partner Violence Public Policy Debates and Family Law Reform, 21 W&M J. Women & L. (forthcoming). John previously noticed this article too. Robson concludes:
Behre’s article is worth reading for its “deep dig” into the reality, rhetoric, and social science of “fathers’ rights.” Gender equality in family law remains worthy of our attention. But Behre’s article is also worth reading for its applicability to issues involving “reverse discrimination,” “color-blindness,” or formal equality, in which similar empirical underpinnings promote continued subordination. Digging beneath the equality rhetoric does not only unearth profound differences in the meanings of equality, it may also surface a dirty study.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
"Come September, there will be six abortion clinics in Texas." So states a Salon article.
Six clinics, intended to serve more than 13 million women across a state nearly 300,000 square miles in size, concentrated in five of the state’s largest metropolitan areas and leaving virtually the entire western portion of Texas — the Panhandle, the Rio Grande Valley — without reproductive care. The clinics that remain open in September will be able to do so only because they meet the new standards outlined in H.B. 2, the extreme anti-choice legislation thatWendy Davis spent 11 hours filibustering last June, which mandates abortion providers meet the guidelines for ambulatory surgical centers. These standards can cost up to $40,000 a month to maintain, and have already forced clinics across the state to shut down. With abortion providers in the western part of the state shuttered, women who live in the region — particularly the Valley — are left without options.
NYT, Support for a College Student Grows After Rape Complaint is Dismissed. In this story about a failed college investigation of sexual assault, what struck me here was the response of the prosecutor.
Anna, a freshman, said she was assaulted by three football players last September, after two weeks on campus. The school’s disciplinary panel quickly cleared the athletes. Six months later, after Anna belatedly pursued a criminal complaint, the district attorney declined to bring charges, saying he believed the sexual encounter had been consensual. ***
The Ontario County district attorney, R. Michael Tantillo, closed the case without testing whether that seminal fluid matched the DNA of any of the accused. ***
Anna’s lawyer, Inga L. Parsons, said she requested that the rape kit be tested by the police even though Anna was pursuing her case [initially] through the school, and offered to pay to have it expedited. Ms. Parsons eventually arranged to have the rape kit samples sent to a private lab, which identified the seminal fluid.
Then in February, Ms. Parsons asked the police about getting DNA from one of the football players Anna had accused of repeatedly assaulting her. She said that it was warranted “given that we have extensive seminal fluids from the rape kit” and because the football player had denied having sexual intercourse with Anna. Even so, Mr. Tantillo decided not to test it.
Here is the prior article on the details of the alleged crime. One word: Steubenville.
Sara Ainsworth, Amicus Curiae Brief, Stormans v. Selecky, 24 Hastings Women's L.J. 303 (2013).
Women and girls in the United States are at high risk of experiencing sexual assault and violence perpetrated by an intimate. Preventing pregnancy after such an assault is, in most cases, critical to a woman’s psychological recovery and physical health. Emergency contraception works effectively after an assault to prevent pregnancy, and is the medical standard of care for treating women and girls of reproductive age after a sexual assault. Yet access to that contraception can be restricted when pharmacists refuse to fill prescriptions on religious grounds.
Ruling for two pharmacists and a pharmacy who objected to dispensing emergency contraception, a federal district judge found unconstitutional a Washington State Board of Pharmacy rule that requires pharmacies to fill all lawful prescriptions on site and in a timely manner. Stormans, Inc. v. Selecky, 844 F. Supp. 2d 1172 (W.D. Wash. 2012).
This amicus curiae brief was submitted on behalf of organizations and experts in domestic and sexual violence, in an appeal of that ruling, Stormans v. Selecky, No. 12-35223, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit has deferred oral argument, pending the Supreme Court's decision in Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius, No. 13-356. (That case has been consolidated with Sibelius v. Hobby Lobby, Inc., No. 13-354.)
Earlier rulings in Stormans, Inc. v. Selecky: 524 F. Supp. 2d 1245 (W.D.Wash. 2007), vacated, 526 F. 3d 406 (9th Cir. 2008), vacated, 571 F. 3d 960 (9th Cir. 2009), vacated and superseded on reh’g, 586 F. 3d 1109 (9th Cir. 2009).