Monday, July 20, 2015
......never won the World Cup. Ever. They never even reached the finals.... or quarter finals. For this failure they were paid FOUR TIMES more than the US women's soccer team, which won the World Cup.....three times.
n Sunday, the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) won the World Cup for the third time—more than any other team in women’s soccer history. For their efforts, the team will earn $2 million in prize money, up from $1 million in 2011. The money is awarded to the national federation, which usually distributes it between players and the organization itself. That’s not a bad sum—until it’s put into context. Last year, the U.S. men’s team was knocked out of the Round of 16 at the World Cup in Brazil—and pocketed $9 million for it. Germany, which went on to win the tournament, was awarded $35 million.
Saturday, July 18, 2015
And in Waller County, Texas, days before she was scheduled to start a new job at her alma mater, Sandra Bland died in police custody. Officers contend she hung herself, but family and friends suspect foul play — especially since video shows officers slamming her head to the ground three days earlier.
Due in large part to social media, Bland’s death has received a lot of attention since the video of her arrest was circulated. And the FBI has already joined the investigation into her death.
”Prevailing narratives around Black violability and anti-Black racial violence pivot around Black men and boys,” Dr. Treva B. Lindsey, assistant professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies told DAME. “Both historically and contemporarily, when many people working towards racial justice around the issue of racial violence, the presumptive victim is a Black male. From lynching to police brutality, the presumed victim is a Black male. Therefore, Black women and girls are viewed as exceptional victims as opposed to perpetual victims of anti-Black racial violence.”
On Thursday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission dropped a bombshell: Sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace, the EEOC ruled, is already illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This ruling—which is binding on EEOC conciliations between employers and employees, and is an extremely persuasive authority for courts—has been a long time in the making. In fact, it can be traced back to a unanimous 1997 Supreme Court opinion written by none other than Justice Antonin Scalia.
That case, Oncale v. Sundownerdealt with Title VII’s prohibition of discrimination “because of sex.” Joseph Oncale worked on an oil rig with seven other men, who sexually harassed him physically and verbally. Oncale sued his employer, arguing that he faced discrimination because of his sex. But the court ruled against him, holding that Title VII did not protect men against sex discrimination by male co-workers.
In a terse opinion, Scalia emphatically rejected this reasoning. Male-on-male sexual harassment, Scalia acknowledged, “was assuredly not the principal evil Congress was concerned with when it enacted Title VII.” (The principal evil, of course, was male-on-female workplace discrimination.) Still, Scalia explained: "Statutory prohibitions often go beyond the principal evil to cover reasonably comparable evils, and it is ultimately the provisions of our laws rather than the principal concerns of our legislators by which we are governed."
This passage has formed the bedrock of the EEOC’s expansion of Title VII’s protections to sexual and gender minorities. In a 2012 decision holding that Title VII bars discrimination based on gender identity and transgender status, the EEOC placed Scalia’s “comparable evils” declaration at the center of its analysis. On Thursday, the commission pulled the same maneuver, faithfully quoting Scalia and noting that the text of Title VII does not exclude sexual minorities from the law’s protections. And now, thanks in part to Scalia, LGBT employees in every state are protected from workplace discrimination by federal law.
Friday, July 17, 2015
WASHINGTON – A Michigan congressman today proposed to do formally what the U.S. Supreme Court effectively accomplished last month: take the gender references out of the federal tax code.
U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak, introduced legislation intended to make clear that all married couples, regardless of gender, are equal under the tax code, removing gender references such as “husband and wife” and replacing them with nongender references like “married couple.”
Tracy Chou, a young tech professional with Pinterest, started blogging about the dearth of women in the tech world. The story is in the latest issue of Mother Jones. Here are some of her findings:
The numbers were as bad as you might expect: Just 17 of Yelp's 206 engineers (8 percent) were women, for example. Dropbox was barely better, with 26 out of 275 (9 percent). Nextdoor, a social-media tool for neighborhoods, had 29 engineers—all male. Change.org, which bills itself as "the world's platform for change," had less than 13 percent women engineers; it has since changed for the better, with 20 percent.*
Chou's project helped fuel the wave of public criticism that has shamed big companies into coming clean. Seven months after the launch, Google disclosedthat 17 percent of its tech staff is female. (Chou heard that her Medium post had made it all the way to cofounder Larry Page.) Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, and dozens of other companies coughed up their stats not long after: Most reported between 10 and 20 percent women in "tech" positions—which can be pretty loosely defined. Some household names, like IBM, Netflix, and Zynga, still have yet to produce meaningful diversity data. "The crowdsourced stuff is way better and more reliable than the official party line," notes Silicon Valley diversity consultant Nicole Sanchez, whom Github recently hired as a VP. (The racial diversity numbers are equally cringeworthy; see our related story on Jesse Jackson's efforts in Silicon Valley.)
Transgender people in Ireland have won legal recognition of their status after a law was passed allowing them to change their legal gender with no medical or state intervention.
The majority of countries in Europe require transgender people to undergo surgery and sterilisation, or be diagnosed with a mental disorder and get divorced if they are married, in order to have their desired gender legally recognised.
The gender recognition bill, passed late on Wednesday and set to be signed into law by the end of July, makes Ireland only the third European country, after Denmark and Malta, to allow transgender people aged over 18 to change their legal gender without intervention.
The bill was passed months after the people of Ireland backed same-sex marriageby a landslide in a referendum that marked a dramatic social shift in a country that decriminalised homosexuality just two decades ago.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Looking at gender quotas in Spain and Italy, this study concludes that "Data from 300,000 individual voting reports suggests that men become less favorable towards female candidates as soon as a woman joins the committee."
From the Introduction:
The underrepresentation of women in academia remains a cause for concern among universities and policy makers around the world. In Europe, women account for 46% of PhD graduates, 37% of associate professors and only a mere 20% of full professors. Similar patterns may be observed in the US and the gender imbalance is even larger in Japan.
Several explanations may account for the lack of women in high-level positions. According to the pipeline theory, once women have entered the lower rungs of the academic career it is mainly a matter of time that they would move their way through a metaphorical pipeline to reach high-level jobs. However, in most disciplines, the share of women among faculty members remains low even after decades of improved recruitment of women at the undergraduate and the doctoral level. Gender differences in promotion rates might also reflect differences in productivity, perhaps due to the existence of gendered roles at the household level or the lack of female mentors and role models. Some women may also devote excessive time to tasks that are socially desirable but which are not taken into account in promotion decisions. Furthermore, some authors have pointed out that women are less likely to apply for promotions, perhaps due to the existence of gender differences in the preference for competitive environments or in bargaining abilities in the labour market.
Beyond these supply-side explanations, the slow progress made by women has been sometimes attributed to the existence of gender discrimination by the (mostly male) evaluators who decide on hiring and promotions.
In this paper we examine whether having more women in scientific committees might help to increase the chances of success of female candidates. There are several reasons for considering this hypothesis. First, there is evidence of gender segregation across different scientific subfields. If men and women tend to do research in different subfields and evaluators overrate the importance of their own types of research, the lack of female evaluators might be detrimental for female candidates. Second, research networks tend to be gendered. If evaluators are mostly male, male candidates might have a better chance to be acquainted with committee members and could perhaps benefit from these connections. Third, men may be subject to gender stereotypes or they may be biased against women reaching high-level positions. For instance, according to the World Value Survey, around 25% of US males believe that men make better political leaders and 16% think than men make better business executives. Women are half as likely to hold such views. A similar pattern is observed in Europe. According to some experts in gender studies, these biases may have reached the academic world. Finally, the presence of women in evaluation committees might also improve the quality of the evaluation. It has been argued that group performance is positively correlated with the proportion of women in a group
Vicki Schultz (Yale), Taking Sex Discrimination Seriously, 91 Denver L. Rev. (2015).
Abstract:The fiftieth anniversary of Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination provides an occasion to reflect on its successes and failures in achieving workplace sex equality. Although considerable progress has occurred, advances have been both uneven and unsteady. This Article shows that the primary limit on legal reform has been attitudinal. Since Title VII’s enactment, both private and public officials have defended sex discrimination and inequality by appealing to naturalized conceptions of sex difference. Persistent stereotypes portray women as more devoted to family roles than work roles, and, consequently, less committed to their jobs than men. Similar stereotypes portray women as primarily interested in female-typed jobs said to reward feminine traits and values. Viewed through the lens of such assumptions, sex-based disparities in employment are not inequalities: They are the inevitable expression of innate and cultural sex differences.
How, then, has progress occurred under Title VII? The answer lay in reformers challenging essentialist claims about sex difference.
During Title VII’s first decade, this Article shows, agencies and courts adopted an expansive reading of Title VII’s first decade only because the leaders of the emerging women’s rights movement pulled activists together to mount a strong, clear, concerted challenge to the existence and relevance of sex difference. Crafting a new conception of equality that captured American women’s growing sense of discontent while promising greater freedom to both women and men, early feminists overcame governmental resistance and achieved genuine legal progress. By the mid-1970s, they secured favorable rulings from the agencies, the Supreme Court, and the lower courts under both Title VII and the Constitution and consolidated these gains in Congress.
Yet progress was not universal and the initial momentum did not last. Rather, this Article argues, in areas of the law where feminist groups failed to establish a significant presence, or where they began to take a divided or less decisive stance as the women’s movement fractured and faded, the activist void and resulting lack of accountability permitted courts to retain or revert back to older views attributing workplace inequality to women’s difference. Two areas of law illustrate these dynamics. In cases raising women’s lack of interest as a defense to sex discrimination, women’s rights groups’ failure to regularly contest this arcane defense in the courts and agencies, coupled with resurfaced internal division that sent mixed signals about the existence and sources of women’s allegedly different work preferences, freed conservative judges to accept this defense and legitimate the underlying stereotypes in a wide swath of cases. Pregnancy discrimination law provides a second example, showing how courts stalled, and later backpedaled, as feminists initially wavered and later split over whether to characterize pregnancy as uniquely female reproductive experience unlike other medical conditions or as a temporary disability comparable to others that may affect an employee’s ability to work. Despite federal laws and agency rulings adopting the latter approach, images of pregnancy as unique and distinct from other disabilities have continued to resurface, limiting the law’s capacity to address this persistent form of discrimination.
Progress under anti-discrimination law is thus difficult to achieve and sustain: It requires committed, cohesive efforts to contest difference as a rationale for inequality and galvanize public support for change. This Article suggests that, going forward, civil rights reformers can make further headway by challenging not only the existence and relevance of such alleged differences, but also their nature and sources. New evidence highlights that many sex, race, and other-group differences typically thought to explain and justify workplace inequalities are actually created and fostered there through employment policies and practices. The hope is that, by coming together to contest and change those practices, reformers can erode both enduring patterns of employment discrimination and the essentialist ideas about difference that have undermined the law’s promise.
The Supreme Court was definitive in its decision to legalize gay marriage nationwide, but what is far from clear is whether U.S. companies must offer corporate benefits to same-sex spouses.
Many large and mid-sized employers are self-insured, which means their benefits are governed by a 1974 act that has no language on preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act allows companies to bypass differing state laws that complicate healthcare options for employees spread out across the country.
In a Reuters survey of 60 large U.S. employers, nearly half said they were already providing benefits to same-sex spouses before the Supreme Court ruling last month, including 13 that are based in states where gay marriage was illegal.
While benefits experts see many more companies moving in that direction, the lack of legal clarity could lead to some notable holdouts that will test the spirit of the gay marriage ruling.
“This is a great decision by the Supreme Court, but people are wrong in thinking that the struggle is over and that nothing is left in the ability to discriminate, because it’s still there,” said Robert Louis, a senior partner who represents plaintiffs at Saul Ewing LLP in Philadelphia on employee benefits issues.
While ERISA requires companies to comply with federal law that protects employees against discrimination based on race, gender or religion, there is no language preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation. The act itself does not specifically address same-sex marriage.
“ERISA was enacted in the 1970s, and I don’t think it contemplated anything of that nature,” said Annette Guarisco Fildes, chief executive of the ERISA Industry Committee, which represents self-insured employers. She expects many self-insured employers will ultimately provide the same benefits to same-sex spouses as they do for heterosexual couples.
The possible exception to Obergefell and Windsor, the argument goes, is for self-insured companies. See Despite Windsor, Federal Court Rejects Challenge to a Self-Insured ERISA Health Plan's Denial of Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses
Women in Oregon will soon be able to receive birth control prescriptions from pharmacists, thanks to a new law signed by Gov. Kate Brown this week. Under the new rule, birth control can be obtained without the added burden of scheduling a doctor’s visit. The bill passed the state’s house in a 50-10 bipartisan vote.
To get birth control from a pharmacist, women over 18 will have to fill out a simple health questionnaire so that pharmacists can recommend the best contraceptive method for them. Those under 18 will need proof of a previous birth control prescription, but aren’t required to get a new one. The contraception will still be covered by the patient’s insurance.
State Rep. Knute Buehler (R) celebrated the bill in a press release, saying that his background as a medical professional informed his beliefs on access to contraception.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Serena Williams won another Wimbledon title this weekend. She is deservedly the most accomplished athlete--of any gender--for a sport.
Alas, there are discussions regarding her body image and what said discussions say about how we think about gender.
From the NYT:
Despite Williams’s success — a victory Saturday would give her 21 Grand Slam singles titles and her fourth in a row — body-image issues among female tennis players persist, compelling many players to avoid bulking up.
“It’s our decision to keep her as the smallest player in the top 10,” said Tomasz Wiktorowski, the coach of Agnieszka Radwanska, who is listed at 5 feet 8 and 123 pounds. “Because, first of all she’s a woman, and she wants to be a woman.”
For many, perceived ideal feminine body type can seem at odds with the best physique for tennis success. Andrea Petkovic, a German ranked 14th, said she particularly loathed seeing pictures of herself hitting two-handed backhands, when her arm muscles appear the most bulging.
“I just feel unfeminine,” she said. “I don’t know — it’s probably that I’m self-conscious about what people might say. It’s stupid, but it’s insecurities that every woman has, I think. I definitely have them and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I would love to be a confident player that is proud of her body. Women, when we grow up we’ve been judged more, our physicality is judged more, and it makes us self-conscious.”
HONOLULU — Gov. David Ige signed a bill Monday that will allow transgender men and women in Hawaii to more easily change the gender on their birth certificate.
The new law eliminates the requirement that someone must undergo gender reassignment surgery before officially making the switch.
"I know that this has been a tough issue," Ige said. "As all of you know, the birth certificate is one of those foundation documents."
Many in the transgender community can't afford or don't want to undergo costly surgeries. But having a birth certificate that reflects their gender expression is critical for school transcripts, job applications, health insurance and many other aspects of life, advocates said.
"With this new law, it's life-changing," said Tia Thompson, 30, of Honolulu, who was denied a birth certificate that reflects her female gender identity. "Words cannot express what's going on."
The Government has today launched a consultation on its commitment to introduce regulations to require private and voluntary sector businesses with at least 250 employees in Great Britain to publish gender pay gap information. A gender pay gap shows the difference between the average earnings of men and women as a percentage of men’s earnings. According to the Office for National Statistics, the current overall UK gender pay gap of 19.1% shows that a woman, on average, earns around 80p for every £1 earned by a man.
The thinking behind the proposal is to achieve greater pay parity through (a) requiring employers to think about the topic and (b) sheer embarrassment. Publishing data showing a whopping gender pay gap will still constitute compliance with the new regulations, the “sting” being in the use which may be made of those statistics in individual and collective equal pay claims and on social media. However, the existence of a reported gender discrepancy in pay across an employer does not of itself mean that there is any pay discrimination – it may instead be a function of who holds the more senior roles, who works part-time, etc. The issue will be where there are material gaps within specific roles or grades, hence the enquiry in the consultation as to whether reporting at that level of detail would be feasible for most employers. That would be a material administrative burden for larger employers but a far more useful measure of progress than the very blunt instrument of flat figures across the whole business.
And the government consultation document is here.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Tracy Thomas, associate dean of The University of Akron School of Law said she believes that Kennedy’s opinion answered Roberts’s objections. In particular, she praised Kennedy for going beyond Loving to examine other right-to-marry cases, particularly Zablocki.
“Zablocki is key,” she said. “It’s an underrated case” in that the law at issue does not absolutely prohibit marriage, places conditions on the timing of the plaintiff’s marriage.
Thomas said Zablocki also considers due process and equal protection claims in tandem as Kennedy does in the decision.
Thomas, who teaches family law and directs the Constitutional Law Center at the School of Law, faulted Roberts for his characterization of Loving. Contrary to Roberts’s characterization, she said she finds that the states maintaining anti-miscegenation laws at the time of Loving regarded marriage restricted to one’s race as fundamental to the definition of the institution as marriage being between a man and a woman.
Thomas also noted that Roberts argues that marriage has for millennia been defined as one man and one woman, ignoring the persistent reality of polygamy.
Justice Kennedy’s opinion treats equal protection as “connected in a profound way” to substantive due process, she said, adding that he does not engage in traditional equal protection analysis, determining whether the plaintiffs fall into a suspect class and identifying a standard of review.
On the other hand, she said, at two places in the opinion, Kennedy refers to same-sex attraction as an immutable trait, which generally serves as a starting point for determining whether a group is a suspect class.
According to Thomas, the lack of detail regarding equal protection is consistent with how Kennedy has been approaching marriage equality cases.
“This is a marriage issue for him not a same sex issue,” she said, adding, “at least since Windsor, it’s where Kennedy is coming from.”
Following up on my prior post What Does the Same-Sex Marriage Case and its "Right to Individual Autonomy" Mean for Abortion Rights, suggesting that some of Kennedy's language of autonomy and personal choice might apply to protect abortion rights, here is a view that the SSM decision is not useful to abortion rights.
I find myself increasingly disappointed in Kennedy’s articulation of the right to same-sex marriage. Not because I don’t appreciate the way he discussed marriage as a fundamental right crucial to the dignity of gay and lesbian individuals, but because he doesn’t locate a woman’s right to reproductive autonomy in that same sphere of dignity. ***
When it comes to women reserving dignity for themselves—the dignity to make the most personal choice—whether or not to have children—Kennedy has devolved into patriarchal notions about women’s frailty and inconstancy, with language steeped in stereotypes and gender-normative claptrap.
However useful Kennedy finds it for expanding constitutional protections for certain rights, dignity is a gendered double-edged sword. It’s great for men and it has turned out to be great for same-sex couples who want to get married. But dignity as a concept is worthless when it comes to reproductive rights.
In her article, “Aborting Dignity: The Abortion Doctrine After Gonzales v. Carhart,” Victoria Baranetsky examined the limitations of dignity as a useful constitutional principle, and describes its dual meaning. She wrote, “Dignity has two radically different meanings: femininesocial obligation and masculine autonomy.” (Emphases in original.)
In honor of today's release of Mockingbird II, Go Tell a Watchman, some suggested reading on the law and gender in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.
Julia Ernst, The Exoneration of Mayella Ewell in "To Kill a Mockingbird," 47 Akron L. Rev. 1019 (2015)
Karla Holloway, Legal Fictions:Constituting Race, Composing Literature 114-16 (Duke U Press 2014)
Iris Halpern, Rape, Incest, and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird: On Alabama's Legal Construction of Gender and Sexuality in the Context of Racial Subordination, 18 Colum. J. Gender & Law 743 (2009) (WL link)
This is the fifth year the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction has been awarded. The prize is intended for the best novel-length work of fiction published that year to illuminate the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change. It is sponsored by the ABA Journal and the University of Alabama School of Law, and named for the author of To Kill a Mockingbird.
The Secret of Magic is the story of Regina Robichard, an African-American attorney working for the Legal Defense Fund with Thurgood Marshall in the 1940s. She receives a packet detailing the disappearance and death of Joe Howard Wilson, a young black World War II veteran, and she travels to Mississippi to investigate. When she arrives, she discovers that nothing about the case, the town or its inhabitants is quite what it initially seemed.
Johnson is the first woman and the first African-American to be awarded the prize
Monday, July 13, 2015
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It’summer wedding season, and as couples prepare to say “I do,” some lawmakers have been looking to change hundreds of laws on the books.
As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, a proposal in the U.S. House of Representatives would remove the terms “husband” and “wife.”
In White Plains, the sculpture “Contact” by J. Seward Johnson depicts a man and woman embracing. They are married – as the rings on their fingers demonstrate.
But are they “husband and wife?” Are they “two spouses?” Does it matter?
“I’m a husband. I’m married to a wife,” said James Kindro of Ardsley, “and if you want to say ‘married couple,’ I really don’t bother me one way or the other.”
The recent revolution in same-sex unions has prompted a proposal to gender-neutralize federal law, deleting references to “husband and wife” and opting for “spouse” or “married couple.
A bit dated by cyberspace terms but still worth reading from the New Republic:
We cannot talk about the violence that Dylann Roof perpetrated at Emanuel AME last Wednesday night without talking about whiteness, and specifically, about white womanhood and its role in racist violence. We have to talk about those things, because Roof himself did. Per a witness account, we know that he said: “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country.” “Our” women, by whom he meant white women.
There is a centuries-old notion that white men must defend, with lethal violence at times, the sexual purity of white women from allegedly predatory black men. And, as we saw yet again after this shooting, it is not merely a relic of America’s hideous racial past. American racism is always gendered; racism and sexism are mutually dependent, and cannot be unstitched.
Saturday, July 11, 2015
NYT, Regulating Sex
THIS is a strange moment for sex in America. We’ve detached it from pregnancy, matrimony and, in some circles, romance. At least, we no longer assume that intercourse signals the start of a relationship. But the more casual sex becomes, the more we demand that our institutions and government police the line between what’s consensual and what isn’t. And we wonder how to define rape. Is it a violent assault or a violation of personal autonomy? Is a person guilty of sexual misconduct if he fails to get a clear “yes” through every step of seduction and consummation?
According to the doctrine of affirmative consent — the “yes means yes” rule — the answer is, well, yes, he is. And though most people think of “yes means yes” as strictly for college students, it is actually poised to become the law of the land.
About a quarter of all states, and the District of Columbia, now say sex isn’t legal without positive agreement, although some states undercut that standard by requiring proof of force or resistance as well.
Codes and laws calling for affirmative consent proceed from admirable impulses. (The phrase“yes means yes,” by the way, represents a ratcheting-up of “no means no,” the previous slogan of the anti-rape movement.) People should have as much right to control their sexuality as they do their body or possessions; just as you wouldn’t take a precious object from someone’s home without her permission, you shouldn’t have sex with someone if he hasn’t explicitly said he wants to.
Friday, July 10, 2015
Casey Hoke would spend an average of two minutes out of his seven-hour school day in the restroom. “That’s it. Business as usual. No one bats an eye,” Hokewrote in January, back when he was a high-school senior in Louisville, Kentucky. “How we go about our business is none of yours.”
By “we,” Hoke was referring to transgender students. He was primarily addressing Kentucky’s legislature, which at the time was considering a bill that would’ve cracked down on transgender students’ use of K-12 bathrooms. The legislation would’ve legally required schools to ensure that children follow anatomical conventions when using gender-segregated school facilities: that children who were born boys but identify as girls use the boys’ restroom, and vice versa. What Hoke found particularly egregious about the “Kentucky Student Privacy Act” was that, in its original version, the legislation also would’ve entitledstudents who sued offenders in state court to damages of $2,500 each. Hoke compared this proposed system to a witch hunt.