Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Difference Feminist Knowledge Might Make to Domestic Violence Death Review Committees

Elizabeth Sheehy, A Feminist Reflection on Domestic Violence Death Reviews ,  in Myrna Dawson, ed. Domestic Homicides and Death Reviews: An International Perspective (Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) 373-398.

This paper interrogates what contribution feminist knowledge and praxis might make to assessing and deepening the work of Domestic Violence Death Review Committees (DVDRCs). While DVDRCs may be struck by governments or civil society and may differ in terms of the form and content of their governance, all DVDRCs have their origins in the work of frontline feminist activists who documented the unique features that differentiate woman killing from other forms of homicide and demonstrated that intimate femicide is predictable and therefore preventable. Another uniting characteristic of DVDRCs is that their work is overwhelmingly focused on the deaths of women, since women account for the vast majority of domestic violence deaths -- 83% of such deaths in Canada. 

DVDRCs build on the important work of frontline feminists by studying domestic violence homicides, identifying risk factors, ascertaining points of contact with legal and social structures that might have intervened, and making recommendations for change in law, policy, and practice for the purpose of preventing such deaths in the future. Yet when one reads the reports of DVDRCs, feminists, feminist analysis, and feminist practice are almost entirely absent from the overwhelming majority. This paper will investigate what imperatives a feminist framework might bring to this work.

November 8, 2017 in Theory, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Study Shows Gender Under-representation on District Courts in 10th Circuit

Eli Wald, Judging Judges: A Study of US Federal District Judges in the 10th Circuit

This paper examines the demographics of federal district court judges in the 10th Circuit. Consistent with the glass-ceiling effect literature in positions of power and influence in the legal profession, the study finds that women judges are under-represented on the 10th Circuit bench compared with their numbers as lawyers in the jurisdictions of the Circuit. However, the study finds that minority judges are over-represented in the Circuit. The paper next explores the relationship between under-representation, over-representation and discrimination. Under-representation that cannot be explained in terms of merit criteria or informed opting out, such as the under-representation of women on the 10th Circuit, strongly suggests the lingering effects of past exclusion and discrimination, as well as the current effects of implicit bias. As demonstrated by the over-representation of minority judges, the political commission process can break through the gender glass-ceiling by over-representing qualified women judges in the short run until their overall numbers better reflect equality.

November 8, 2017 in Courts, Judges, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Prosecution Dropped Against Woman who Laughed

Jeff Sessions' DOJ Drops Prosecution of Woman Who Laughed at Jeff Sessions

Justice Department prosecutors have dropped their case against a woman who laughed at now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing. Desiree Fairooz was scheduled to face trial for a second time next week, but a DOJ prosecutor entered a nolle prosequi filing in the case on Monday indicating the department is dismissing the charges.  

Fairooz, a retired children’s librarian and demonstrator affiliated with the organization Code Pink, let out a laugh during a Senate hearing back in January after Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said Sessions had a “clear and well-documented” record of “treating all Americans equally under the law.” (Sessions had faced strong opposition from civil rights organizations and was rejected as a federal judge in the 1980s over concerns about his past comments on race.)

November 8, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The True Man and His Gun: A Masculinities Theory of the Second Amendment

C.D. Christensen, The "True Man" and His Gun: On the Masculine Mystique of Second Amendment Jurisprudence, 23 William & Mary J. Women & Law (2017)

The Supreme Court’s recent Second Amendment jurisprudence raises serious normative questions for the use of self-defense with a firearm. This jurisprudence also implicates our prevailing social norms with respect to socially constructed and structurally pervasive gender roles. I argue that a peculiarly American conception of masculinity underpins the judicial construction of the Second Amendment’s core purpose as guaranteeing the right to armed defense of one’s self and one’s home. The Court’s recent Second Amendment rulings create an individual protection for gun ownership and incorporate the same against the States. But the Court’s reasoning entangles this protection with an implicit valuation of manhood that reifies the notion that “true men” do not retreat in the face of danger. In so entangling, the Court establishes a right to gun ownership that is politically free but legally male. This Article explores the socio-legal structures that underpin the Court’s reasoning to explain (a) how the right to keep and bear arms arises from a dubious ideal of the American “man,” and thus how (b) the purposes for which one may keep and bear arms galvanizes a particular masculine type within our Second Amendment jurisprudence. That type establishes a problematic cultural narrative of and ethos for manhood in America; consequently, this jurisprudence establishes a dominant masculinity predicated upon firearm ownership. That masculinity complicates, and may even impede, the social evolution of subordinated masculinities and shifts the social hierarchy of masculinities to empower and privilege gun-owning males.

November 7, 2017 in Constitutional, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Impediments to Effective Enforcement of the Convention of Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

Ruman Islam, CEDAW -- The Promise and the Pain of the Promise, ELCOP Yearbook of Human Rights (2017)

The Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979 (CEDAW) is one of the core international legal instrument aiming at the protection and promotion of women’s rights. It is considered as the most comprehensive code of women’s rights at international level, with its overwhelming focus on socioeconomic, civil, political and cultural rights in all spheres of women’s life. However with the inherent weak enforcement mechanism and with the numerous number of reservations made by the State Parties it is sometime doubted how far the Convention serves as an effective tool for promoting and protecting women’s right, since such reservations jeopardizes the very essence of the convention−to ensure ‘substantive equality’ both at public and private life of the women. This article examines these different aspects of the CEDAW Convention, namely what it promises to achieve and in reality what are the impediments to materialization of those promises−the pain of the promise.

November 7, 2017 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Do Gendered Divorce Laws of Mali Violate Human Rights?

US Courts and Child Custody Judgments from Foreign Countries that Have Sex-Discriminatory Custody Rules

Coulibaly v. Stevance, decided Wednesday by the Indiana Court of Appeals, considers whether Indiana courts should honor a Malian child custody decree (involving Malian citizens). Indiana has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), under which state courts must enforce out-of-state and out-of-country custody decrees.

 

[T]the question was whether Malian child custody law violates human rights principles as Indiana courts understand them; the Indiana court of appeals said no, even though aspects of the law involved sex discrimination, and even though Malian law more generally doesn’t ban Female Genital Mutilation. (One of the couple’s children is a 15-year-old daughter.)

 

Mother notes that Mali’s divorce law is fault-based, and … argues that Mali’s marital laws evince a preference for men such that women will more often be found at fault for a divorce, resulting in a de facto paternal preference in child custody decisions. Specifically, Mother notes that statutory law in Mali expressly provides that “[t]he husband owes protection to his wife, the wife obedience to her husband.” The law provides further that the husband is the head of the household, that the household expenses “fall principally on him,” that he has the right to choose the family residence, and that the wife must live with him and he must receive her.. Additionally, a woman is prohibited from running a business without her husband’s permission.

 

In light of the prevailing fault-based divorce system, it is unsurprising that the Malian court made a number of findings with respect to the parties’ conduct during the marriage. The court expressly found Mother’s physical abuse allegation to be unsupported. The court also noted that under Malian law, a husband is entitled to choose the family residence and that Mother’s dispute regarding Father’s decision to live in Mali was therefore grounds for divorce. The Malian court further found that Mother admitted that she had “a habit of uttering insulting and offensive remarks toward” Father, which constituted “serious abuse”, and also that Mother’s persistence in her plan to emigrate with the children without Father’s knowledge or consent was a violation of her duty of loyalty, a mutual duty imposed by Malian marital law upon both spouses irrespective of gender. In light of these findings, the trial court granted Father’s petition for divorce and dismissed Mother’s counter petition.

 

Further, although Mali’s marriage laws impose different duties on husbands and wives based on gender, either spouse may be granted a divorce based on the other spouse’s failure to fulfill his or her respective duties. Whatever we might think about the wisdom of Mali’s marital and custody laws in this regard, we simply cannot say that they are so utterly shocking to the conscience or egregious as to rise to the level of a violation of fundamental principles of human rights.

 

Mother’s remaining arguments suffer the same infirmity — she essentially asks us to look beyond Mali’s custody law to conclude that Mali’s legal system and culture are, on the whole, so oppressive to women that no custody order issued in that country could be enforceable in the United States. [Footnote moved: Mother … notes that men in Mali are permitted to have multiple wives, while women may have only one husband. Mother notes further that the marital laws permit (but do not require) the payment of nominal dowry by the husband upon marriage “where required by custom.”] We are in no position to make such a judgment, and the language of the UCCJEA prohibits us from attempting to do so. Mother has not established that Mali’s child custody laws violate fundamental principles of human rights, and she is consequently unable to avoid enforcement of the Malian custody decree.

 

November 7, 2017 in Family, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 3, 2017

Book: Biography of Claire L'Heureux-Dube, the Second Woman Appointed to Canada's Supreme Court

 Claire L’Heureux-Dubé

 

Claire L'Heureux-Dubé: A Life by Constance Backhouse  

From the publisher:

Both lionized and vilified, Claire L’Heureux-Dubé has shaped the Canadian legal landscape – and in particular its highest court. The second woman appointed to the Supreme Court, and the first Québécoise, she was known as “the great dissenter,” making judgments that were applauded and criticized in turn.

Who was this energetic, risk-taking woman? L’Heureux-Dubé stands out as one of the most dynamic and controversial judges on a controversial court. Did she consciously position herself for success in a discriminatory milieu, or was she oblivious to power?

L’Heureux-Dubé anchored her innovative legal approach to cases in their social, economic, and political context. Constance Backhouse employs a similar tactic. Rather than focusing exclusively on jurisprudential legacy, she explores the rich sociopolitical and cultural setting in which L’Heureux-Dubé’s career unfolded, while also considering her personal life.

This compelling biography covers aspects of legal history that have never been so fully investigated. Changing gender norms are traced through the experience of a francophone woman within the male-dominated Quebec legal profession – and within the primarily anglophone world of the Supreme Court. Claire L’Heureux-Dubé enhances our understanding of the Canadian judiciary, the creation of law, the Quebec socio-legal environment, and the nation’s top court.

November 3, 2017 in Books, International, Judges, Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cleaning in the Shadow of the Law: The Effect of Unilateral Divorce Laws on Men's Marital Investment in Housework

Jennifer Roff, Cleaning in the Shadow of the Law? Bargaining, Marital Investment, and the Impact of Divorce Law on Husbands' Intra-Household Work, 60 Journal of Law & Economics 115 (Jan. 2017)

Previous literature has established that unilateral divorce laws may reduce women's household work and overall marital investment. If unilateral divorce has differential costs by gender, it may impact household work by gender through bargaining channels. However, little research has examined how divorce laws affect men's levels and share of household production. To examine this, I use data on matched couples from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and exploit time variation in state divorce laws. I find that unilateral divorce laws lead to a decrease in marital investment, as measured by mens' and women's household work. The evidence also supports a bargaining response to divorce laws, as fathers in states without joint-custody laws engage in a significantly higher share of household work under unilateral divorce than those in states with joint-custody laws, consistent with a higher cost of marital dissolution among fathers who stand to lose custody of their children.

November 3, 2017 in Family, Gender | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ford Shows How to Kill a Sexual Harassment Class Action

Reuters, Want to Kill a Sex Discrimination Class Action? Ford Case is Blueprint

Last week, U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman of Chicago denied an emergency motion by lawyers representing 31 women who claim they were sexually harassed at two Ford Motors plants in the Chicago area. The women’s lawyers wanted to stop the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from sending out notices to Ford workers who may be eligible for compensation under Ford’s $10 million agreement this summer with the agency. Judge Coleman concluded the women hadn’t met the extremely tough standard to justify court meddling with administrative decisions.

 

The judge’s three-page order seems perfectly straightforward – until you understand the implications of her decision. Coleman’s ruling will probably spell the end of the long-running sex discrimination class action, in which the two sides are deep in discovery on the women’s request for class certification.

 

As I’ll explain, both the women and Ford contend the EEOC claims process can’t be reconciled with the class action, the women in their emergency motion to block the EEOC notices and Ford in a motion to deny class certification. Judge Coleman hinted at sympathy for the women’s argument that Ford made a deal with the government to circumvent the class action, writing that the company “seems to be engaging in what might be considered gamesmanship.” But her ruling means Ford’s strategy worked, gamesmanship or not.

 

November 3, 2017 in Courts, Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Reinvigorating Class Actions for Gender Discrimination

Brooke Coleman & Elizabeth Porter, Reinvigorating Commonality: Gender & Class Actions

The modern class action, the modern feminist movement, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were all products of the creativity and turmoil of the 1960s. As late as 1961—one year after Justice Felix Frankfurter rejected new law school graduate Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a law clerk because she was a woman—the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the constitutionality of a Florida statute that required men, but not women, to serve on juries, on the ground that women’s primary role was in the home. As Betty Friedan put it in 1963’s The Feminine Mystique, “In almost every professional field, in business and in the arts and sciences, women are still treated as second-class citizens.” But change was imminent. The Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the founding of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, and a rising social and intellectual feminist movement brought women’s equality into the national conversation. Simultaneously—at least in part in response to the civil rights movement and the Civil Rights Act —an (all-male) Judicial Conference and Supreme Court in 1966 ushered in the modern era of collective litigation by promulgating Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, and more specifically, Rule 23(b)(2), which provided a formal structure for civil rights plaintiffs to seek aggregate relief for violations of federal and state anti-discrimination laws. Together, these phenomena gave impetus to communities of women to combat legal and cultural injustices through the courts. The result has been widespread improvement in the lives of working women—and men—across many industries. 

In this Article, we examine the interplay of Rule 23(b)(2) class actions, feminism, and Title VII sex discrimination doctrine over the past fifty years to show that the theoretical concept of commonality—cohesion, unity—in the women’s movement has had a significant impact on the ability of women to seek collective redress for workplace discrimination through class actions. We describe how the four “waves” of feminism since the 1960s find corresponding analogues in the development of Title VII class action law. 

This is not an empirical study, nor is it comprehensive. Rather, our aim is to generate thought as to ways in which class action doctrine simultaneously reflects and reinforces evolving views of feminism and gender equality. We acknowledge that class actions are not the sole standard bearers for impact litigation, and that individual suits—whether brought by individuals of any gender or by physicians—have been vital to the establishment of anti-discrimination legal norms in the area of gender equality. Even so, we argue that Rule 23(b)(2) suits continue to serve a vital function by allowing women to enforce those established norms, overcoming classic barriers to judicial justice such as lack of resources, lack of access to lawyers, and retaliation by employers against individuals who file suit. As Anita Hill recently argued in a critique of the technology sector, “Class action lawsuits can force industry-wide change, even in the most entrenched, male-dominated industries.”

November 2, 2017 in Courts, Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Gender Wage Gap and the Fair Calculations Act

William E. Even & David A. MacPherson, The Gender Wage Gap and the Fair Calculations Act

If enacted as a law, the Fair Calculations Act would require forensic economists to ignore an injured party’s gender when forecasting the loss in future earnings. We discuss how this would affect the size of awards for men and women, and some of the issues that would arise if the law is enacted. Of particular interest is the extent to which gender-differences in earnings, earnings growth, and work-life expectancy are the result of sex-discrimination in labor markets as opposed to sex-differences in preferences. We present evidence that gender differences in human capital characteristics explain a large share of gender differences in in labor market outcomes, there is considerable disagreement about how to interpret the results. We also show that gender differences are diminishing over time, but it is not likely that the gap will disappear in the near future. Finally, we discuss how forensic economists may have to rely on additional information when forecasting earnings if they are no longer allowed to use gender.

Here's the proposed federal Fair Calculations in Civil Damages Act which "prohibits courts from awarding damages to plaintiffs in civil actions using a calculation for projected future earning potential that takes into account a plaintiff's race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or actual or perceived sexual orientation."

November 2, 2017 in Courts, Gender | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Study Shows Gender Gap Much Wider in Law Firms than Other Industries

Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA J, Survey Chronicles Female Lawyers Exodus from Equity Partnership, Belief They Can't Have it All

Law firms are taking steps to improve gender equality, but it’s not translating to a better gender balance past the associate level, according to a new study. 


The gender gap at high levels is much wider in law firms than in other industries, according to the study by McKinsey & Co. and Thomson Reuters. The study drew on survey responses by more than 2,500 lawyers and information from 23 of the nation’s top law firms, according to a press release.

 

Female lawyers are 29 percent less likely to be promoted to the first partnership level than men, and only 19 percent of equity partners are women, according to the “Women in Law Firms” study, available here. Female lawyers are 43 percent more likely to leave equity partnership than men, according to the one-year data sample.

 

Almost half of female lawyers say prioritizing work-life balance is one of the greatest challenges to their professional success. Only 44 percent of female lawyers think they can have a successful career and a full personal life, compared with 60 percent of men.

November 2, 2017 in Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Reading List for Law & Gender on Halloween

It's Halloween... which for law and gender means time to remember the Salem Witch Trials. 

Most of the victims of the trials were women.  And most of the accusers.  Scholars have talked about the trials as misogyny and at the same time as women's assertion of agency and power.  They also suggested the lax evidentiary standards allowed social judgments about women to be determinative of legal guilt.

Stacy Schiff, The Witches: Salem, 1692 (2015)

Carol Karlsen, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman (1998)

Jane Moriarty, Wonders of the Invisible World: Prosecutorial Syndrome and Profile Evidence in the Salem Witchcraft Trials, 26 Vermont L. Rev. 43 (2001)

Mary Beth Norton, In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 (2003)

Peter Hoffer, The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Legal History (1997)

October 31, 2017 in Books, Courts, Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Relationship Status Discrimination Against Women in Academic Hiring

Lauren Rivera, When Two Bodies are (Not) a Problem: Gender and Relationship Status Discrimination in Academic Hiring, Amer. Soc. Rev. (Oct. 25, 2017)

Junior faculty search committees serve as gatekeepers to the professoriate and play vital roles in shaping the demographic composition of academic departments and disciplines, but how committees select new hires has received minimal scholarly attention. In this article, I highlight one mechanism of gender inequalities in academic hiring: relationship status discrimination. Through a qualitative case study of junior faculty search committees at a large R1 university, I show that committees actively considered women’s—but not men’s—relationship status when selecting hires. Drawing from gendered scripts of career and family that present men’s careers as taking precedence over women’s, committee members assumed that heterosexual women whose partners held academic or high-status jobs were not “movable,” and excluded such women from offers when there were viable male or single female alternatives. Conversely, committees infrequently discussed male applicants’ relationship status and saw all female partners as movable. Consequently, I show that the “two-body problem” is a gendered phenomenon embedded in cultural stereotypes and organizational practices that can disadvantage women in academic hiring. I conclude by discussing the implications of such relationship status discrimination for sociological research on labor market inequalities and faculty diversity.

October 31, 2017 in Education, Equal Employment, Family, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Preliminary Assessment of the EU Gender Action Plan

Isabelle Ioannides, EU Gender Action Plan 2016-2020 at Year One: European Implementation Assessment, Study. European Parliamentary Research Service, European Parliament, Brussels, October 2017

The EU’s Gender Action Plan 2016-2020 (referred to as GAP II) is the Union’s framework for promoting gender equality and women and girls’ empowerment in external relations in third and partner countries, as well as in international fora and agendas. GAP II is significant, as it constitutes the manifestation of the principles related to gender parity outlined in the new European Consensus on Development. Its goals are also key to the successful achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Against this background, this European Implementation Assessment seeks to provide an initial assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of GAP II at its first milestone: the end of its first year of operation in third countries. Given the short timeframe of the evaluation, this study presents some preliminary findings on the achievements and shortcomings in the application of GAP II, but also aims to assess the new framework itself. Moreover, it provides Members with a number of opportunities for action and recommendations for improving EU performance on promoting and protecting gender parity and women’s empowerment in partner countries.

 

October 31, 2017 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Using the Captive Audience Doctrine to Redress Street and Cyber-Harassment

JoAnne Sweeney,  Trapped in Public: The Regulation of Street Harassment and Cyber-Harassment Under the Captive Audience Doctrine, 17 Nev. L.J. 651 (2017)  

In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, public intimidation of women, particularly women of color, seems to be on the rise. Even before the election, however, a woman's presence on a public street or public website has routinely made her a target for unwanted and often threatening male attention, also known as street harassment or cyber-harassment. Scholars and journalists have called for laws that would penalize street and cyber-harassment. However, this type of legislative effort will be met with several difficulties, including logistical problems due to the high prevalence and anonymity of street and cyberharassment, as well as cultural opposition to what is perceived by many to be a nonexistent or minor issue with little actual consequences. Another major argument against regulation of street and cyber-harassment is that any laws prohibiting such speech would violate the First Amendment. In response to the latter argument, this Article argues that laws regulating street or cyber-harassment should be protected from First Amendment scrutiny under the captive audience doctrine. As this Article demonstrates, by using the captive audience doctrine, 652 legislators can attack the problem of street and cyber-harassment without running afoul of the First Amendment.

October 31, 2017 in Constitutional, Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Next Steps for the #MeToo Campaign

Marci Hamilton, What Needs to Happen Next for the #MeToo Campaign to Fulfill its Potential, Verdict, Justia.

The social media campaign #MeToo has been an extraordinary space where victims of sex harassment and assault have found their voices. These victims are inspiring and you just want to believe that something good must come out of all of the pain that they have had to endure so long in silence. While the disclosures are amazing, they aren’t enough to ensure a Harvey Weinstein never happens again.

 

Frankly, it is impossible to hold powerful people, institutions, and organizations accountable without massive legal change. The culture that permitted Weinstein, Bill Cosby, priests Paul Shanley and John Geoghan, and Nasser free rein will not end even if every single victim of sex abuse, harassment, and assault comes forward, and even if we succeed in educating every citizen in the United States. Disclosure and education are necessary but not sufficient. It’s not just that these predators used their positions of power to inflict life-changing pain on their victims. Rather, the legal and social cultures have been structured to shield the wrongdoers and keep the vulnerable weak. They have been publicly shamed, but the power construct they exploited remains precisely the same.

 

Indeed, society has signaled to these men in power that it is ok to take the spoils of war—the women and children—as part of their deserts for battles hard-won in moviedom, the board room, and sports.

 

There is, however, another power structure that has been bucking up these powerful men who have wreaked havoc on so many lives: our state and federal governments.

 

Here is a short list of laws that need to change in the vast majority of states (the federal government can also play a key role by incentivizing the states to pass these reforms):

Plug the gaps in mandated reporting. Right now many states do not require coaches, private school teachers, or university employees to report suspected abuse despite the irrefutable fact that children have been sexually abused in all three arenas.

 

Eliminate the statutes of limitations for all rape victims, young and old. This needs to happen for instances occurring right now and going forward and for those that are in the past. You want to know who your predators are? Revive the expired civil SOLs for rape in every state.

 

Test the rape kits sitting right now in police stations and forensic labs across the United States. This is Mariska Hargitay’s mission with the Joyful Heart Foundation, which she founded. How ridiculous is it that we have all of this evidence of rape and we just let it sit? Well, refer back to the discussion of power above.

 

Fix the defamation laws so no predator can follow Cosby’s lead and use the threat of a lawsuit to try to silence the victims, as I discuss here.

 

Enact whistleblower legislation that immunizes sex abuse, harassment, and assault whistleblowers from adverse employment actions and from defamation lawsuits.

 

Create liability for organizations that shield and hide the actions of sex predators of every stripe.

 

Mandate insurance coverage for companies that will cover sex harassment, abuse, and assault by employees and volunteers. This way the insurance industry transforms itself from being a bystander and enabler to an active participant in changing institutional policies. People wear seatbelts because the insurance lobby made it happen. It could do a helluva job with this problem if it wanted to.

 

Lasting change is difficult. Nothing is more difficult, though, than shifting power from one group that has had so much force that it could squander and abuse it.

October 26, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New SSRN Series for Women and Gender

Welcome to WGSRN: Women's & Gender Studies

SSRN is pleased to announce WGSRN, our new Women’s & Gender Studies Research Network, where researchers in women’s and gender studies and related interdisciplinary areas can share ideas and other early-stage research. Users can post preprints and working papers and can quickly upload and read free WGSRN papers, spanning subject areas including gender in the global research landscape, feminist methodology, theory, and philosophy, women and law, politics and justice, and several other growing topics.

Join our SSRN team on November 2 at 11a.m. to 11:30a.m. EDT for an informative webcast on the interdisciplinary nature of Women’s & Gender Studies and how sharing early research makes a difference can change the world.

October 26, 2017 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Lessons of Fox News for Reforming Sexual Harassment Law

Kate Webber Nuñez, Toxic Cultures Toxic Cultures Require a Stronger Cure: The Lessons of Fox News for Reforming Sexual Harassment Law, 122 Penn State L. Rev. (forthcoming):

A series of sexual harassment scandals have disrupted Fox News, causing the departure of some of its top executives and anchors. The upheaval at Fox News, however, came from public disclosure and social pressure; the actual law prohibiting harassment failed to deter or stop the rampant abuse at the network. Legal scholars have previously identified the problems with federal harassment law that could explain why widespread sexual harassment occurred at the highest levels of Fox News. Specifically, the existing literature details how women are forced to report harassment nearly immediately, despite the many career reasons not to, and yet are not fully protected against retaliation when they do. Scholars have also documented that if a victim’s claims do make it to court, the standard for proving harassment is a nearly insurmountable burden to overcome. These identified weaknesses in the law would seem to explain why it failed to act as a stronger deterrent to Fox News. Fox News, however, is headquartered in New York City, a jurisdiction with its own local anti-harassment law that is much more strongly worded. In fact, the New York City Human Rights Law removes each of the identified problems in federal harassment law. The example of Fox News therefore demonstrates that with entrenched harassing cultures, stronger anti-discrimination statutes that “fix” the identified weaknesses of current law are not a complete solution. Thus, this article advocates for two alternative means of strengthening harassment law: expanded use of systemic harassment claims and limits on the use of confidential settlements and mandatory arbitration agreements. This analysis is of particular relevance in light of recent sexual harassment scandals affecting companies such as Uber and The Weinstein Company.

October 25, 2017 in Business, Violence Against Women, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Women Victims of Domestic Violence Want from the Criminal Justice System

 Robyn Holder & Kathleen Daly, Sequencing Justice: A Longitudinal Study of Justice Goals of Domestic Violence Victims

What women as victims of domestic violence want from criminal justice has long interested researchers and advocates. This article foregrounds the ways in which ‘justice’ matters to victims and how a desire for justice may change over time. We find that victims have multiple justice goals, which are ordered and unfold through the criminal justice process. The goals are directed towards three domains of victim, offender and community; and are influenced by both personal and public interests. Accountability is a threshold goal from which others—punishment, deterrence, rehabilitation or another—may be contemplated. From the perspective of victims, achieving justice is sequencing these goals through hybrid processes with differing degrees of victim participation.

October 25, 2017 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)