Wednesday, September 23, 2015
More than 1 in 4 female undergraduate students say they have been victimized by nonconsensual sexual contact, according to a survey released Monday of 27 universities across the country.
But the survey for the Assn. of American Universities, one of the most comprehensive ever conducted on college sexual misconduct, found wide variation in the cases depending on campus, gender, age and type of offense.
In California, for instance, 29.7% of female undergraduates at USC and 12.7% at Caltech reported the most serious sexual misconduct — sexual penetration or touching involving force or incapacitation by alcohol or drugs.
A view from Britain from the Evening Standard (UK):
One of the country’s most senior judges today warned that rushing to achieve equal representation for women at the top of the legal profession could inflict “appalling consequences” on the quality of British justice.
Lord Sumption, a Supreme Court judge, said he believed that the judiciary was a “terrific public asset” which could be “destroyed very easily” if the selection of candidates was skewed in favour of women.
He added that to avoid inflicting damage, campaigners for equality would have to be “patient” and suggested that it would need up to 50 years before the number of women on the Bench matched the total of men.
The American Bar Foundation has released new data about gender balance in the profession, or more accurately, the lack thereof.
Clearly, more women are entering the law as shown in the chart below.
But even though the number of women entering the law has been steadily increasing in recent years, the percentage of women equity partners at the top 200 law firms has been flat for close to a decade, as the chart below shows:
Gabe Friedman/Source: National Association of Women Lawyers, ABA’s National Lawyer Population Survey
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Alexandra Hess, The Collapse of the House that Ruth Built:The Impact of the Feeder System on Female Judges and the Federal Judiciary, 1970-2014, American J. Gender, Law & Social Policy (forthcoming).
I created a breakdown of all feeder judges by the number of clerks they sent to the Court in a given five-year period. This revealed that since 1970, a small number of judges have sent an increasingly large percentage of Supreme Court clerks. For example, in the last five years, eleven judges supplied over 70% of Supreme Court clerks and 90% of all Supreme Court clerks were fed by a total of twenty judges. I then looked at the gender of these “super-feeder” judges. Of the eleven judges that sent 70% of the clerks, none were women. Of the twenty that sent 90% of the clerks, two were women. This evidence provides an important part of the explanation for why women have been unable to reestablish themselves as consistent feeders to the Supreme Court – they are essentially being marginalized by the “superfeeders,” a small pool of judges that sends the vast majority of clerks to the Supreme Court.
Thus, through these data I will prove that two factors have contributed to this gender gap: first, the elevation of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Supreme Court left a void in the female feeder pool; and second, the ever increasing importance of “super-feeders” has prevented female judges from filling that void. The data demonstrate that, at an increasing rate, the Justices value clerks from the same small set of overwhelmingly white, male judges. This is driven, in part, by ideological needs and the need to find a method of winnowing the vast applicant pool. But this underrepresentation of women as feeder judges is also part of a larger narrative of women’s absence or marginalization in other elite areas, such as law firm partnership.
Wash Post, What a Massive Sexual Assault Survey Found at 27 Top US Universities (summarizing the results).
The Association of American Universities’ much-anticipated report on sexual assault—a survey that compiled responses from more than 150,000 students at 27 universities—is out today, and it confirms that the situation on campus is as bad as you probably already thought it was. Some bullet points:
• One-third of female college seniors reported that they had been the victims of nonconsensual sexual contact at least once since enrolling in college.
These numbers are roughly consistent with findings of previous studies; if anything, they’re a little higher than the results of the seminal 2007 study that gave us the grim axiom “1-in-5.”—but the authors acknowledge that could be due to the low response rate of 19.3 percent, and the possibility that people who’d experienced misconduct were more likely to participate. As always, the authors had to deal with the challenge of conveying uniform definitions in an area where every experience is intensely individual; for this reason, they didn’t use loaded words such as rape and assault, instead trying to precisely describe situations. But this could’ve caused confusion as well as averted it.
The most interesting thing in the AAU study isn’t what’s on the page, but a question that hovers, frustratingly, between the lines. “The study found a wide range of variation across the 27 [institutions],” the authors write in the executive summary
Monday, September 21, 2015
SAN FRANCISCO – Female employees in California are poised to get new tools to challenge gender-based wage gaps and receive protection from discrimination and retaliation if they ask questions about how much other people earn.
A bill recently passed by the Legislature and that Gov. Jerry Brown has indicated he will sign won’t suddenly put all women’s salaries on par with men’s or prod employers to freely disclose what every employee makes, which could make it easier for workers to mount pay discrimination claims.
But the legislation expands what supporters call an outdated state equal pay law and goes further than federal law, placing the burden on the employer to prove a man’s higher pay is based on factors other than gender and allowing workers to sue if they are paid less than someone with a different job title who does “substantially similar” work.
Friday, September 18, 2015
MICROSOFT FACES A class action lawsuit from former employee and noted computer security researcher Katie Moussouris. The suit claims that during Moussouris’s seven years at Microsoft, she and other women were unfairly discriminated against on the basis of their gender, passed over for raises and promotions, and ranked below their male counterparts during bi-annual performance reviews.
Moussouris was instrumental in prompting Microsoft to launch its first bug bounty program in 2013, something the company resisted for years. The program pays researchers who find security vulnerabilities in its software. After resigning from Microsoft in May, Moussouris took a job as chief policy officer at HackerOne, which helps companies manage bug bounty programs and communicate with security researchers.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
A paltry sampling of gender discourse on Constitution Day.
Jennifer Wriggins (Maine), Constitution Day Lecture: Constitutional Law and Tort Law: Injury, Race, Gender, and Equal Protection (2010)
Helen Irving (Syndey), Gender and the Constitution:Equity and Agency in Comparative Constitutional Design (2008)
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
The barrister at the centre of a sexism furore over a complimentary LinkedIn message from a solicitor 30 years her senior has said she is facing a professional backlash over her decision to speak out.
Writing for the Independent, the human rights lawyer Charlotte Proudman said she did not regret her decision to make public a message from Alexander Carter-Silk that commented on her “stunning” photograph, because it had led to an outpouring of similar experiences from other women.
Proudman said she had named Carter-Silk because she believed the public interest in exposing the “eroticisation of women’s physical appearance” by an influential and senior lawyer was greater than his right to privacy.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has reinstated an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sex discrimination case against the nation’s largest jewelry retailer, ruling for the first time that courts should not scrutinize the sufficiency of the agency’s pre-suit investigation.
The case, brought in 2008 under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, alleged that Akron, Ohio-based Sterling Jewelers Inc., which operates several jewelry store chains including Kay Jewelers and Jared -The Galleria of Jewelry, had a nationwide practice of discriminating against its female sales employees in both pay and promotion.
U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara of the Western District of New York had granted summary judgment to Sterling in 2014 based on the report of a magistrate judge who concluded that the EEOC’s pre-suit investigation hadn’t been nationwide.
Wednesday’s ruling by the Second Circuit expanded on the U.S. Supreme Court’s April 29 decision inMach Mining v. EEOC, which held that judges could review on a limited basis the agency’s efforts at conciliating claims prior to filing suit.
In a case of first impression, the Second Circuit found that the EEOC, in demonstrating it conducted a pre-suit investigation, did not need to “describe in detail every step it took or the evidence it uncovered.”
Writing for the appellate panel, Judge John Walker said, “Under Title VII, courts may review whether the EEOC conducted an investigation, but not the sufficiency of an investigation.” He added, “Extensive judicial review of this sort would expend scarce resources and would delay and divert EEOC enforcement actions from furthering the purpose behind Title VII – eliminating discrimination in the workplace.”
EEOC Associate General Counsel Jennifer Goldstein praised the ruling. “The court of appeals recognized that Title VII gives the EEOC ‘expansive discretion’ in investigating claims of discrimination,” she wrote in an email. “Such discretion is critical for EEOC as it makes decisions about how to expend scarce resources.”
We got our hands on a few pages of a Biglaw memo meant to answer internal questions about interviewing prospective lawyers for a position at the firm. The section details how to deal with “Lady Lawyers” and, oh boy, is it a doozy. The memo is from 1956, and... it was a very different time. Ike was president, Elvis Presley made his debut on the Ed Sullivan Show, a gallon of gas cost 22 cents, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act banning discrimination in the workplace was still 8 years away.
As damning (and, wow, is it damning) as this carefully worded memo is, remember, the firm was, at the time, far from alone in its practices or opinions.
From Professor Marina Angel (Temple):
The 23rd Annual CLE Conference for Feminist Law Professors will take place at Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law in Philadelphia on Saturday, November 21, 2015. If you are interested in presenting, please contact Professor Angel at Marina.Angel@Temple.edu.
Monday, September 14, 2015
She’s back — but what happens now?
That is the question on the minds off all Rowan County watchers. There, in small-town Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis went to jail earlier this month rather than issue marriage licenses in the wake of the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage. Davis, an Apostolic Christian, said her faith prevented her from blessing such unions, so she refused to issue any licenses despite a court order. This landed her in jail for contempt of court.
Last week, after five days behind bars, Davis triumphantly emerged arm-in-arm with Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to the strains of “Eye of the Tiger” — and, though clerks have been issuing licenses in her absence — with a bit of ambiguity about what would happen when she returned to her job.
Friday, September 11, 2015
As the “yes means yes” standard of sexual conduct spreads to many US college campuses, California legislators have passed a new measure that will put affirmative consent curriculum into the state’s high schools beginning next year.
The legislation will require high schools that have a health component as a graduation requirement to teach the “different forms of sexual harassment and violence”, and include lessons on seeking explicit, affirmative permission from a partner before moving forward with sexual activity. The bill, SB695, is now awaiting the signature of the governor to become law, expected in the coming days. California would be the first state in the nation to adopt a mandatory education policy on the topic for K-12 students.
Nearly four decades before Caitlyn Jenner introduced herself to the world, Phyllis Randolph Frye came out as a transgender woman in a far less glamorous way. No Diane Sawyer, no Vanity Fair.
It was the summer of 1976. As Bruce Jenner, 26, was celebrating his decathlon victory at the Montreal Olympics, Phillip Frye, 28, was admitting defeat in suppressing his gender identity. He, becoming she, had already lost a lot: He had been forced to resign from the military for “sexual deviation.” He had been disowned by his parents, divorced by his first wife and separated from his son. He had been dismissed from several engineering jobs.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Susannah Dainow, Blind Justice: On Law School, Misogyny, and Sexual Abuse
When I arrived at law school, it was in pursuit of justice as much as a career. I had known since the age of 10 that justice is gendered; this was the age when I became transfixed by the Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill hearings on the news. Through the haze of sordid details, I grasped enough to connect myself to the proceedings, and to gender-based inequalities of power. In high school, I was co-president of the women’s issues club; we started the school’s branch of the White Ribbon Campaign, a Canadian movement to memorialize and prevent such misogynist violence as had occurred at a Montreal engineering school in 1989, leaving 14 women dead. In conversation and in daily life, feminism and its evolutions were never far from my thoughts. As a newly-minted undergraduate, I conducted research on violence against women for a feminist legal organization. Law school seemed like the logical next step.
After the initial euphoria of having made it to a prestigious law faculty wore off, I began to sense a subtle edge pressing on me, telling me I did not belong. When Supreme Court justices visited in the fall of my first year, they took pains to discuss the need to retain women at large corporate firms through more family-friendly policies. The fact that this was the only remotely feminist concern they raised spoke volumes to me; I began to connect that uni-dimensional approach to gender with the un-belonging I was already sensing. Sometimes, entering through the school’s heavy glass doors, I felt as if invisible machinery descended from the ceiling and ground against my skin, trying to turn the raw material of me into something perfected in its own image. I started calling the faculty, “the factory.” I meant it as a joke, at first.
CALL FOR PAPERS: "APPLIED FEMINISM TODAY"
The University of Baltimore School of Law’s Center on Applied Feminism seeks submissions for its Ninth Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference. This year’s theme is “Applied Feminism Today.” The conference will be held on Friday, March 4, 2016. For more information about the conference, please visit law.ubalt.edu/caf.
This conference seeks to explore the current status of feminist legal theory. What impact has feminist legal theory had on law and social policy? What legal challenges are best suited to a feminist legal theory approach? How has feminist legal theory changed over time and where might it go in the future? We welcome proposals that consider these questions from a variety of substantive disciplines and perspectives. As always, the Center’s conference will serve as a forum for scholars, practitioners and activists to share ideas about applied feminism, focusing on the intersection of theory and practice to effectuate social change.
The conference will be open to the public and will feature a keynote speaker. Past keynote speakers have included Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, Dr. Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Senators Barbara Mikulski and Amy Klobuchar, NOW President Terry O’Neill, and EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum.
To submit a paper proposal, please submit an abstract by Friday October 30, 2015 to email@example.com. Your abstract must contain your full contact information and professional affiliation, as well as an email, phone number, and mailing address. In the “Re” line, please state: CAF Conference 2016. Abstracts should be no longer than one page. We will notify presenters of selected papers in November. We anticipate there will be eight paper presenters during the conference. About half the presenter slots will be reserved for authors who commit to publishing in the annual symposium volume of the University of Baltimore Law Review. Thus, please indicate at the bottom of your abstract whether you are submitting (1) solely to present or (2) to present and publish in the symposium volume. Authors who are interested in publishing in the Law Review will be strongly considered for publication. For all presenters, working drafts of papers will be due no later than February 26, 2016. Presenters are responsible for their own travel costs; the conference will provide a discounted hotel rate as well as meals.
We look forward to your submissions. If you have further questions, please contact Prof. Michele Gilman at firstname.lastname@example.org.