Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Several articles about men and women being treated and perceived differently despite similar performances. Men have the golden halo effect of brilliance and higher appreciation and return on work, while women run twice as fast to get to the same place. If they can.
This is the sad reality in workplaces around the world: Women help more but benefit less from it. In keeping with deeply held gender stereotypes, we expect men to be ambitious and results-oriented, and women to be nurturing and communal. When a man offers to help, we shower him with praise and rewards. But when a woman helps, we feel less indebted. She’s communal, right? She wants to be a team player. The reverse is also true. When a woman declines to help a colleague, people like her less and her career suffers. But when a man says no, he faces no backlash. A man who doesn’t help is “busy”; a woman is “selfish.”
In a study led by the New York University psychologist Madeline Heilman, participants evaluated the performance of a male or female employee who did or did not stay late to help colleagues prepare for an important meeting. For staying late and helping, a man was rated 14 percent more favorably than a woman. When both declined, a woman was rated 12 percent lower than a man. Over and over, after giving identical help, a man was significantly more likely to be recommended for promotions, important projects, raises and bonuses. A woman had to help just to get the same rating as a man who didn’t help.
Male professors are brilliant, awesome and knowledgeable. Women are bossy and annoying, and beautiful or ugly.
These are a few of the results from a new interactive chart that was gaining notice on social media Friday. Benjamin Schmidt, a Northeastern University history professor, says he built the chart using data from 14 million student reviews on theRate My Professors site. It allows you to search for any word to see how often it appeared in reviews and how it broke down by gender and department.
The chart makes vivid unconscious biases. The implications go well beyond professors and college students, to anyone who gives or receives feedback or performance reviews.
It suggests that people tend to think more highly of men than women in professional settings, praise men for the same things they criticize women for, and are more likely to focus on a woman’s appearance or personality and on a man’s skills and intelligence.
While colleges across the country have been grappling with concerns related to students transitioning from one gender to another, Vermont is at the forefront in recognizing the next step in identity politics: the validation of a third gender.
The university allows students like Gieselman to select their own identity — a new first name, regardless of whether they’ve legally changed it, as well as a chosen pronoun — and records these details in the campuswide information system so that professors have the correct terminology at their fingertips.
For years, writers and academics have argued that gender identity is not a male/female binary but a continuum along which any individual may fall, depending on a variety of factors, including anatomy, chromosomes, hormones and feelings. But the dichotomy is so deeply embedded in our culture that even the most radical activists had been focused mainly on expanding the definitions of the two pre-existing categories.
Monday, February 9, 2015
The Brian Williams story is disappointing. He had bragged over the years that his helicopter had been shot down by enemy forces in Iraq; it hadn't. I don't think, however, that Williams deliberately sought to lie. He probably did what most men do, but he got caught. He took a boring story that had only the faintest traces of manliness and then, over the years, embellished it gradually, and hence embellished his own manliness.
True manliness is more modest, and to those whom we ascribe it, more mysterious and elusive. Seth Moulton is a congressman who represents the greater Boston area. He graduated from Andover and Harvard. He had options in life. But after 9/11, he joined the Marine Corps.
During his election campaign, Moulton discussed his military participation but in muted terms. Only later, only after he had won, did the his constituents discover--through some digging by the Boston Globe--that Moutlon had kept something from the public: he had won two military medals for valor in combat.
The American political graveyard has more than a few monuments to politicians and public officials who embellished details of their military service, in some cases laying claim to medals for heroism or other military honors they never received.
And then, uniquely, there is Seth W. Moulton, the Democratic nominee for Congress in the Sixth Congressional District, a former Marine who saw fierce combat for months and months in Iraq. But Moulton chose not to publicly disclose that he was twice decorated for heroism until pressed by the Globe.
The Globe learned of the awards — the Bronze Star medal for valor and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal for valor — after reviewing an official summary of Moulton’s five years of service, in which they were noted in military argot.
In an interview, Moulton said he considers it unseemly to discuss his own awards for valor. “There is a healthy disrespect among veterans who served on the front lines for people who walk around telling war stories,’’ he said. What’s more, Moulton said he is uncomfortable calling attention to his own awards out of respect to “many others who did heroic things and received no awards at all.’’
Moulton, who is facing off against Republican Richard Tisei in the Sixth Congressional District race, has been so close-mouthed about the medals that in his campaign, only his campaign manager – a former Marine – knew of the awards before the Globe asked for the citations on Wednesday. Even his parents did not know, and were told just this week, according to Scott Ferson, a campaign spokesman.
One of the better This American Life episodes recently aired. Lindy West is a blogger who had been threatened and degraded on the internet by a vicious troll. That troll would eventually apologize to her.
Her story is recounted in the Guardian UK . Here is some of the beginning of that story:
Being harassed on the internet is such a normal, common part of my life that I’m always surprised when other people find it surprising. You’re telling me you don’t have hundreds of men popping into your cubicle in the accounting department of your mid-sized, regional dry-goods distributor to inform you that – hmm – you’re too fat to rape, but perhaps they’ll saw you up with an electric knife? No? Just me? People who don’t spend much time on the internet are invariably shocked to discover the barbarism – the eager abandonment of the social contract – that so many of us face simply for doing our jobs.
Gay marriage has been legal in Florida for a month now, and at this point, even the state’s hardcore conservatives seem increasingly resigned to the fact that marriage equality is here to stay. Accordingly, Florida’s more bigoted legislators have decided to turn their ire toward another maligned, disfavored minority—trans people—by proposing one of the most viciously sadistic, hypocritical bills the legislature has ever considered.
The basic purpose of the bill is quite simple: to forbid trans people from using the public bathroom that matches their true gender. According to the bill’s text, any trans person who enters a “single-sex public facility” that doesn’t match their “biological sex” is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor. A “single-sex public facility” includes bathrooms “maintained by an owner of public accommodations, a school, or a place of employment”—basically, any public bathroom in the entire state. Any trans person who violates the act could be sentenced to one year in prison.
Saturday, February 7, 2015
Lactation is not Related to Pregnancy and Other Interesting Findings of the Courts who Denied a Nursing Mom was Constructively Discharged
Lots of questions about the Ames v. Nationwide Insurance case I previously posted about.SCOTUS Denies Cert Upholding Firing of Woman for Breastfeeding because Men can Lactate Too
First, no clues as to what the Justices’ vote was here on the denial of cert. We are not generally privy to this information, and no Justice here wrote a dissent from the denial. My guess is that this is a messy case and that the most problematic reasoning was 1) in the trial court opinion rather than the Eighth Circuit opinion and 2) that it was viewed as an employment case about constructive discharge rather than the retro pregnancy discrimination that it is.
This is really a pretty outrageous case. Factually, and Gender-wise if not legally. Woman who is an insurance loss-mitigation specialist has baby #1 and takes 8 weeks maternity leave. Then oops, pregnant with baby #2 three months later. High risk pregnancy that requires bed rest, and the paper is born prematurely. Nationwide messes up her maternity leave return date, and calls her while on leave and says you have to come back to work a few weeks earlier, and says taking unpaid FMLA leave would “raise red flags” and is not advised. She returns on time, and on her first day back, she is denied access to the lactation room – which is an area requiring special security clearance and mandatory pre-approved paperwork with a three-day waiting period. (They lost me here). Turns out the temporary substitute did none of the work while she was gone and she has two weeks to work overtime to complete the two months worth of work, and her supervisor, a woman, in response to her repeated requests for a nursing room as she is in pain, says “You know, I think it's best that you go home to be with your babies” and dictates her resignation letter to sign.
The main holding is she didn’t try hard enough to keep her job. She was supposed to stick it out more, complain more, follow the channels of appeal. Neither the trial court nor the Eighth Circuit is in the least bit sympathetic.
The Eighth Circuit opinion seems to just ignore the evidence. “ Nationwide's several attempts to accommodate Ames show its intent to maintain an employment relationship with Ames, not force her to quit.” (Really? If you say so.) And superficially concludes “That Nationwide's policies treated all nursing mothers and loss-mitigation specialists alike demonstrates that Nationwide did not intend to force Ames to resign when it sought to enforce its policies.”
The trial court actually frames the problem as women’s problem in trying to have both a family and career. . “Returning to work promptly after childbirth, coupled with the desire to continue breastfeeding, exposes women to a unique and often challenging set of circumstances. To many, expressing breast milk in the workplace is incompatible with the desire to pursue a successful career. With respect to these challenges and the resulting social response, the Honorable Lewis A. Kaplan commented as follows:
‘The transformation in the role of women in our culture and workplace in recent decades and the civil rights movement perhaps will be viewed as the defining social changes in American society in this century. Both have resulted in important federal, state and local legislation protecting those previously excluded from important roles from discrimination in pursuit of the goal of equality. Nevertheless, few would deny that the problems facing women who wish to bear children while pursuing challenging careers at the same time remain substantial. Martinez v. MSNBC, 49 F. Supp. 2d 305, 306 (S.D.N.Y. 1999).
And here is the most ridiculous conclusion. Lactation is not related to pregnancy.
Ames has not presented sufficient evidence that lactation is a medical condition related to pregnancy. Indeed, as the Nationwide Defendants point out, “lactation can be induced by stimulating the body to produce milk even though the person has not experienced a recent birth or pregnancy.” Defs.’ Reply Br. in Supp. of MSJ (“Nationwide’s Reply Br.”) at 12 n.9. Additionally, the Court takes judicial notice of the fact that adoptive mothers can also breast-feed their adoptive babies. See Defs.’ App. at 323–25 (stating that adoptive mothers can breast-feed their adoptive babies and describing what adoptive mothers should do to stimulate milk production). Furthermore, it is a scientific fact that even men have milk ducts and the hormones responsible for milk production. See Nikhil Swaminathan, Strange but True: Males Can Lactate, SCI. AM., Sept. 6, 2007, available at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=strange-but-true-males-can-lactate&sc=rss. Accordingly, lactation is not a physiological condition experienced exclusively by women who have recently given birth.
Therefore, nursing issues not pregnancy discrimination. The end.
And that is a pretty big issue, which is why the ACLU was likely involved. In the old pre-PDA Supreme Court cases like Gilbert, the Court said that pregnancy was not sex discrimination. Now the courts are saying nursing is not pregnancy.
The Eighth Circuit Opinion is here. [WESTLAW]
The trial court opinion is here.
Friday, February 6, 2015
California judges will no longer be allowed to participate in the Boy Scouts after the state Supreme Court voted last week to eliminate an exception to a rule that bars jurists from being a part of discriminatory organizations.
The Boy Scouts of America in 2013 lifted a ban on openly gay youths but continues to bar openly gay and lesbian adults from serving as leaders in the organization.
California's judicial code of ethics bars judges from holding "membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity or sexual orientation."
And a furious reaction from a judge, here.
For those now considering commenting to suggest that there’s a perfectly fine existing neutral pronoun – “they” – remember that pronouns must match both gender and number. So in the case of single individuals, it’s grammatically inaccurate.
And for those complaining this is a “PC gone mad” linguistic ambush by the modern trans lobby, this fascinating blog by Dennis Baron charts more than 100 (failed) attempts over 150 years to coin a gender-neutral singular pronoun. The elusive term – still not agreed upon – has been labelled the ‘hermaphrodite pronoun’, the ‘bipersonal pronoun’ and the ‘unisex pronoun.’
Thursday, February 5, 2015
Susan Azyndar (Ohio State) reviews Ruthann Robson's (CUNY) book, Dressing Constitutionally: Hierarchy, Sexuality, and Democracy from Our Hairstyles to Our Shoes, in 106 Law Library J. 3 (2014).
In Dressing Constitutionally: Hierarchy, Sexuality, and Democracy from Our Hairstyles to Our Shoes, Robson explores these concepts through a variety of intersections between law and clothing. Her central thesis is twofold: “the Constitution cabins, channels, and constrains” our sartorial choices, even as our “attire reflects the Constitution” (p.7). Hierarchy, sexuality, and democracy underlie this relationship and our thinking about it. The book aims to elucidate the “doctrinal incoherence” and “interpretive slovenliness” underlying judicial reasoning (p.3). ¶88 Each chapter examines a constellation of legal concerns, including professional dress, undress, and the labor and economics of clothing production. The first chapter, “Dressing Historically,” traces the relationship between clothing and the law through history, beginning with Tudor sumptuary laws. The remaining chapters present a wide range of legal topics. For example, in the chapter entitled “Dressing Barely,” Robson addresses strip searches, indecent exposure, obscenity, and nudism. Legal concepts addressed include separation of powers, federalism, First Amendment rights, the Slavery Clauses, due process, equal protection, the Commerce Claus
Questions of gender identity are nothing new. Way before Transparent and Chaz Bonoand countless other popular culture stepping stones to where we are now regarding gender identity, there were accounts of "female husbands."
Stories of women dressing and posing as men dot the journalistic landscape of 19th century America — and Great Britain — according to Sarah Nicolazzo, who teaches literary history at the University of California, San Diego.
For a fictionalized history of cross-dresser Jenny Bonnet, read Frog Music.
In a recent piece for the New Republic, Rebecca Traister argues that “pregnancy and immediate postpartum life itself plays a serious role in slowing professional momentum for women for whom the simple—and celebrated—act of having a baby turns out to be a stunningly precarious economic and professional choice.” Just last week, the Supreme Court took a major step in keeping it that way, upholding a federal appeals court ruling against a breast-feeding mother, Angela Ames, who felt bullied out of her job with Nationwide Insurance. Part of the court's reasoning was,according to Galen Sherwin of the American Civil Liberties Union, “that even if Angela had been fired because she was breast-feeding, that was not sex discrimination, in part because men can lactate under certain circumstances.”
Ames' story reads as every woman's worst nightmare of what coming back from maternity leave could be like.
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Ames’ petition for a review of her case’s dismissal. The district court’s decision — which the Eight Circuit Court did not overturn — said that Nationwide’s treatment of Ames could not have been sexist because under certain circumstances, some men can lactate, too.
“The court’s reasoning in this case echoes old Supreme Court pronouncements that discriminating against pregnant women at work isn’t sex discrimination because both men and women can be non-pregnant,” Sherwin wrote. “Congress long ago rejected this ridiculous reasoning when it passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. It’s disheartening to see it resurface again.”
The court also found that the dismissive statement that Ames should “go home and be with (her) babies” was in fact gender neutral and not directed at Ames because she was a new mother.
“As the ACLU and 11 other organizations argued in a brief supporting Angela’s appeal, that comment reflects exactly the type of sex stereotype — that women will be less committed to their work after having children, or that they belong at home taking care of the children — that the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in employment was aimed at eradicating,” Sherwin wrote.
A Utah lawmaker apologized Wednesday for questioning whether a man who has sex with his unconscious spouse should be charged with rape.
Republican state Rep. Brian Greene said in a statement he supports a bill to make it clear that an unconscious person can't consent to sex but was worried about unintended consequences of the measure.
"I'm sorry for any unintended pain that my statements have caused," he said. "I abhor sexual assault under any circumstances, including within marriage."
On Tuesday, Greene rocked victims' advocates with his discussion of consent during debate on the bill.
"If an individual has sex with their wife while she is unconscious ... a prosecutor could then charge that spouse with rape, theoretically," Greene said, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. "That makes sense in a first-date scenario, but to me, not where people have a history of years of sexual activity."
In his statement, Greene said his comments had been taken out of context and "have allowed my intentions to be misinterpreted."
He said he was attempting to "clarify the issue" of removing consent from Utah rape law. He noted he had voted for the bill as it passed unanimously out of committee.
"I strongly support closing any loopholes that allow offenders to evade prosecution, and I believe this bill does that," Greene said.
Holly Mullen, director of the Rape Recovery Center, told USA TODAY she had not expected a debate.
"I was shocked," Mullen said. "He's a lawyer, you think he would know better. He just went off on a tangent. But with the kind of work we do, we realize that so many people don't understand this issue."
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
El Salvador is one of only six countries that have complete bans on abortion. The others are Nicaragua, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Malta and South Sudan. Many other countries only allow abortion if a woman’s life is in danger.
Last year, the country was elected to the UN human rights council, which is “responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe”, as well as addressing rights violations.
From the NYT:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday on the definition of sexual intercourse in a test of a law requiring HIV-positive people to tell partners of their status.
The case arose in Key West where Gary Debaun was charged in 2011 with falsely telling a man he did not have the virus before they engaged in sex acts. Monroe County Circuit Judge Wayne Miller dismissed the case, saying state law defined "sexual intercourse" as between men and women.
The state appealed, arguing that the 1986 law Debaun violated, which requires HIV-infected people to inform their partners, was intended to cover all sex acts, both homosexual and heterosexual, even if it did not precisely define the nature of sexual intercourse.
In large part that was because the law was written in gender neutral language, the state argued.
A district appeals court overturned Miller's ruling and asked the Supreme Court to intervene.
HARTFORD, Conn. — A lawsuit filed Tuesday by plaintiffs including a female veterans group is pressing the Pentagon for information on gender targets and recruiting policies at U.S. service academies, where enrollment remains overwhelming male.
The complaint alleges the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy did not respond adequately to requests filed in November for records under the Freedom of Information Act.
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
A California bill filed last week would require professional sports teams in the state to treat their cheerleaders as employees.
“NFL teams and their billionaire owners have used professional cheerleaders as part of the game day experience for decades,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D), the bill’s sponsor and a former collegiate cheerleader, said in a statement. “They have capitalized on their talents without providing even the most basic workplace protections like minimum wage.”
The bill, AB 202, would also cover overtime compensation and standards for working conditions. It comes after a class-action lawsuit was filed last year by two former cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders who accused the team of violating labor laws, including withholding pay until the end of the season and paying less than $5 an hour. California’s minimum wage is currently $9 an hour.
Danielle Citron’s Hate Crimes in Cyberspace is a breakthrough book. It has been compared, and with good reason, to Catherine MacKinnon’s Sexual Harassment of Working Women. The book makes three major contributions. All are central to furthering the equality of women and men both in cyberspace and elsewhere.
First, Citron convincingly catalogues the range of harms, and their profundity, done to many women and some men by the sexual threats, the defamation, the revenge pornography, the stalking, and the sexual harassment and abuse, all of which is facilitated by the internet. ***
The second contribution, and the bulk of the book—the middle third to half—is a legal analysis of these harms. Citron begins by comparing the current status quo regarding our understanding of gendered harms in cyberspace with the legal environment surrounding domestic violence and sexual harassment thirty or twenty years ago. ***
The third contribution, and last third of the book, is her discussion of possible objections, and then her turn to extra-legal reforms, with a particularly helpful focus on the roles of educators, parents, and the providers themselves (“Silicon Valley” for short).
The Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society is seeking faculty interested in publishing a piece in its Fall 2015 edition. The Fall 2015 edition will focus on WJLGS' 2015 Symposium topic, "Civil Rights in the Digital Age: Developing Effective Legal Responses to Cyber Sexual Harassment." In the digital age, sexual harassment and assault can be perpetrated on, or compounded by, the Internet. The rise of "revenge porn," and the recent rash of sexual assault cases in which the crime was taped and distributed via the Internet, highlight the need for an effective response to a new form of cyber crime.
Topics could include: cyber civil rights; the nature of the Internet and how online culture contributes to harassment; current responses to the problem; a focus on distribution of images depicting felony crimes, e.g. the Steubenville rape case, the recent "viral rape case," etc.; the recent hacking and the posting of celebrity nudes; efficacy of current legislative solutions; strategies for effective prosecution; strategies for stopping distribution of the image; the limits of consent in a "revenge porn" case; an analysis of the Communications Decency Act and Internet service provider immunity; First Amendment concerns in drafting effective legislation, etc.
Interested faculty should contact WJLGS' Senior Symposium Editor, Amelia Maxfield, at firstname.lastname@example.org by February 15th.
Monday, February 2, 2015
But he did make a positive statement about gender identity. From a few days back was this article from the Guardian UK:
Andy Murray’s clash with Novak Djokovic in the final of the Australian Opentennis tournament is the fourth time he’s made it to the ultimate round in Melbourne. On the past three occasions he lost – and he is the favourite to do so again. But whatever the result, the 27-year-old Scotsman has already scored a historic victory – for women.
After his semi-final victory over the Czech number seven seed, Tomas Berdych, Murray made an impressive speech in which he paid tribute to his coach, Amélie Mauresmo, and hailed the progress of female coaches in a sport that can sometimes appear reluctant to leave its colourfully sexist past behind.
“A lot of people criticised me for working with [Mauresmo],” Murray told the cameras and a delighted crowd. “And I think so far this week, women can be very good coaches as well. Madison Keys, who reached the semis here and had her best tournament, is also coached by a woman – Lindsay Davenport. I see no reason why that can’t keep moving forward like that in the future.
“I’m very thankful for Amélie for doing it. It was, I would say, a brave choice for her to do it and hopefully I can repay her in a few days.”
Deep inside complex legislation to legalize phone-based car services such as Uber and Lyft sat language meant to prohibit drivers from discriminating against gay or transgender riders.
The wording, picked up from legislation proposed in states where gay rights are enshrined in state code, went unnoticed until the bill made it to the Senate floor. Once the passage was discovered, the bill was abruptly sent back to committee for what was described as a “technical” fix, stripped of that language and returned to the chamber, where it passed this week.
Neither side is happy:
The matter was handled so quietly that activists on both sides of the gay-rights issue were in the dark until after the wording had been nixed — a change that took place at a quickie meeting of the Transportation Committee on the Senate floor, with members huddled around the desk of the panel’s chairman, Stephen D. Newman (R-Lynchburg).
The episode disappointed gay-rights activists and alarmed conservatives in a state where court rulings legalized gay marriage last year but where the state constitution still bans it. The Republican-controlled legislature has continued this year to kill bills to recognize gay marriage and other gay rights in state code.
Saturday, January 31, 2015
Nancy Leong (Denver) interviews Scott Dodson (Hastings) about his new book on Justice Ginsburg on YouTube, TheRightsCast: The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Jan. 27, 2015).
From the abstract:
In Episode 1 of The RightsCast, Professor Scott Dodson discusses his new book, "The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg." The book includes contributions by Nina Totenberg (NPR), Dahlia Lithwick (Slate), Judge Robert Katzmann (Chief Judge, Second Circuit), Tom Goldstein (SCOTUSblog), and a number of prominent legal academics.
View Professor Dodson's faculty homepage here: http://www.uchastings.edu/academics/f...
Professor Dodson's book, "The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg," is available here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Legacy-Ruth...