Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Trolls on Social Media

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.”

March 18, 2015 in Technology, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Trans inmate asks US supreme court to allow sex-reassignment surgery"

From the Guardian UK:

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.

 

 

March 18, 2015 in LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Gender Inequality and Gender Violence in Irish Law

Featuring the work of Kris McDaniel-Miccio (Denver) 

  • 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).

March 17, 2015 in International, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Annual List of New Women Deans

By my count, women constitute 2 of 9 new deans so far this year. 

Jennifer Bard (Texas Tech),  University of Cincinnati

Alicia Ouelette (Albany Acting Dean), Albany

 Help us keep the list current.  Add others to comments below.  

March 17, 2015 in Education, Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Novartis Hit with Multi-Million-Dollar Gender Discrimination Suit...Again

Reuters, Novartis Unit Hit With $110M Gender Discrimination Suit

 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.

March 17, 2015 in Business, Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

AG Nomination Delayed by Anti-Abortion Provision

Attorney General Confirmation Delayed Over Anti-Abortion Provision of Human Trafficking Bill

“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.”

March 17, 2015 in Abortion, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Throwback Sexism

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.

March 17, 2015 in Business, Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ashe on Gender and Religion

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.”

 

 

March 16, 2015 in Religion, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gender and Compensation

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.

March 16, 2015 in Scholarship, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Britain and Gender Abortion

From the Telegraph UK:  

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.

March 16, 2015 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Bidding Preferences for Women-Owned Companies

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.

March 14, 2015 in Business | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Jury's Questions in a Sex Discrimination Suit

Reuters, Woman in Silicon Valley Bias Suit Faces Tough Jury Questions

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.

March 14, 2015 in Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Abortion Restrictions in Ohio

NPR, Abortion Restrictions Complicate Access for Ohio Women

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.

March 14, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Curt Schilling--A Father's Grief

From Huff Post:

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: 

2015-03-11-1426090249-3046367-curtSchillihngtweet3.jpg

2015-03-11-1426090953-9601745-curtschillingtweet2.jpg

♦◊♦

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.

March 13, 2015 in Family, Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Single-Gender Schools Considered in Virginia

The story:

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.

March 11, 2015 in Education, Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

LGBT as Physical Disability

An Irish Catholic bishop said on Monday that homosexuality — like Down’s syndrome or spina bifida — was not part of God’s plan, and that same-sex couples with children were “not necessarily parents.” In an interview with the NewsTalk Breakfast radio program, Elphin Bishop Kevin Doran argued that voters should reject an upcoming referendum to legalize same-sex marriage because LGBT couples could not procreate.

Hear the interview here (scroll down to bottom).  

March 11, 2015 in Family, LGBT, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Another Anti-LGBT Bill Introduced in Utah Legislature"

Thus runs the headline from a post by the HRC:

Today, Utah legislature introduced yet another anti-LGBT bill, this time targeting school discussions around sexuality.

The “Protections on Parental Guidance in Public Schools” bill would require a school to obtain written consent from a student’s parents before exposing students to “any course material” or “discussing” a number of topics, including “sexuality,” “marriage,” “pregnancy,” and “child birth.”

HB 447 comes on the heels of the dangerous SB 297, a poison pill targeting religious minorities, racial minorities and LGBT people introduced just four days ago.  

HRC is proud to stand in support of Equality Utah and the ACLU of Utah in opposition to these bills.

 

 

March 11, 2015 in Education, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

In Search of a Better Vocabulary for "Stay-at-Home Moms"

I'm working on a final chapter of a book on 19th century feminism and family law. In concluding and drawing some parallels to modern times, I find myself searching for better words to use for the "stay-at-home" mom. 

The 1950s term is mostly "housewife." Slate suggested we should reclaim the term "homemaker."

Certainly these three options present interesting contrasts between emphasis on the primary role as mom, wife, or home. But they all seem problematic, as noted and also here.

What other terms have been used over time?  

What other terms could we be using?  "Domestic goddess" seems popular on Facebook. "Domestic engineer"? It seems there must be better terminology to both describe and respect this role.   

 

 

March 10, 2015 in Family | Permalink | Comments (0)

OutCrit Pedagogy in the Classroom

Sheila I. Velez Martinez (Pitt), Towards an Outcrit Pedagogy of Anti-Subordination in the Classroom, 90 Chicago-Kent L. Rev. 589 (2015).

  • OutCrit positionality is framed around the need to confront in collective and coordinated ways the mutually‐reinforcing tenets and effects of two sociological macro‐structures that currently operate both domestically and internationally: Euroheteropatriarchy and neoliberal globalization. Therefore, among them are the legal scholars who in recent times have pioneered the various strands of outsider critical jurisprudence.                                                                                                      
  • I propose that using formal or traditional legal education pedagogy is itself a contradiction of anti‐subordination principles, inasmuch as traditional pedagogy is inherently hierarchical and validates euroheteropatriarchal perspectives. My critique to the use of the traditional course book pedagogies can be summed up as follows: (1) It ignores best practices in teaching and critical pedagogy; (2) Because of that, it is not only a poor educational tool for most students but also has a particular oppressive effect in female students and students of color.                                                                                                                                
  • This paper seeks to offer a theoretical basis to elaborate future practices that can help build a more democratic and inclusive classroom. In particular, I propose that we have to forgo au‐ thority as the basis of the teacher‐student relationship. Forgoing au‐ thority means finding a new basis for the relationship: collaboration. This includes collaboration in the production of knowledge.

March 10, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

What if...There Were More Women in Congress?

WaPo, What Would Change if there Were More Women in Congress? More than you Think.

For one, women are more likely than men to advocate for issues often associated with women’s interests — child care, women’s health, abortion, pay equity and the like. There are many studies, but see Michele Swers’s two books to start with. This shows up, for example, in in floor speeches and legislative debates, where women are more likely to discuss issues in terms of women’s interests. (Women are also more likely than men to give floor speeches, period.)

 

Via e-mail, Swers noted some of the recent examples — such as how Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.) have focused on sexual harassment in the military (albeit with differing points of view), or how Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) pushed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

March 10, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)