Gender and the Law Prof Blog

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

Friday, December 18, 2015

Law Student Studies Gender Inequity in His Research

Law Student Studies Gender Inequity in His Research

UW Law student Harlan Mechling couldn’t go to his little sister’s graduation from Willamette University, but his father did call to tell him she was graduating as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a nation-wide honor society, with 42 other women and 16 men. Those numbers stood out to Mechling, instigating his research on gender inequity.

 

 “The more I thought about it, the more I realized that’s not surprising because it’s consistent with my experience,” Mechling said. “Throughout my life, girls have always been at the top of the class.”
 

Mechling’s research revealed that women account for more than 60 percent of students graduating with honors, 9 percent higher than their percent of the student population. Despite these feats, most women will likely be getting paid only 78 percent of what their male colleagues will earn.

 

Kellye Testy, dean of the UW School of Law, believes her students face persistent gender discrimination once they’re out in the work world.

 

“One of the areas I’ve always been interested in is legal education,” Testy said. “We’ve been admitting women in law school a roughly equal number as men for a few decades now. 

 

But if you look at the world and the number of CEOs, governors, law school deans, etc., the percentage of women is much lower than it should be.”

 

She clarified that it is not just the UW law school that is graduating equal numbers of men and women.

 

Mechling’s research used statistics from Phi Beta Kappa. He gathered stats from emails sent out to those who qualified and the number of people in the society, from 27 private and public universities. Mechling wanted to measure academics because it was one of the only measurements that was consistent across universities in different states.

 

He began his research thinking maybe the high percentage of women in honors was just a Northwest thing, but was surprised to find consistency among schools.

 

The research paper Mechling created, titled “Follow California’s lead — help women recover damages for workplace sex/gender discrimination,” also states that even with the same amount of work experience, women teachers are paid 11 percent less than male teachers within a year of graduating college. In business and management jobs, women make 86 percent of what men are paid. In sales it is even less, with women earning 77 percent of what men get paid, according to Mechling. 

 

Testy believes it is because of implicit bias. She said gender equity is certainly moving in the right direction, but there’s a long history in the United States of gender discrimination.

 

Mechling said one way to address these issues is for states to have better non-discrimination laws.

 

“The best solution is a federal law amending the Equal Pay Act of 1973,” Mechling said. “There have been attempts to do that, but House Republicans keep shooting it down. I think the state is the only way it’s going to work because Congress has shown repeatedly that it’s not going to happen on the federal level.”

 

States tend to interpret the Equal Pay Act very broadly, according to Mechling. Usually there are four defenses for unequal pay and gender inequity, one of which allows employers to justify pay disparity as long as it’s any factor other than sex.

 

Cited in his research, the American Bar Foundation found only 6 percent of employment discrimination filings between 1987 and 2003 went to trial. Only one-third of those cases were successful. Even for employment discrimination cases, 40 percent are dismissed or lost at summary judgment.

 

Martina Kartman, a UW law student who was an intake investigator at the Seattle Office for Civil Rights, did the initial interviews at the office to determine if a discrimination case would be taken or not. 

 

“I think one of the things that was most difficult about discrimination laws and enforcing them is that they are from the ‘60s,” Kartman said. “Our laws haven’t always kept up with change.”

 

December 18, 2015 in Equal Employment, Law schools, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

DOJ Issues New Report on Gender Bias in Law Enforcement in Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

DOJ, Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

One critical part of improving LEAs’ response to allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence is identifying and preventing gender bias in policing practices. Gender bias in policing practices is a form of discrimination that may result in LEAs providing less protection to certain victims on the basis of gender, failing to respond to crimes that disproportionately harm people of a particular gender or offering reduced or less robust services due to a reliance on gender stereotypes. Gender bias, whether explicit or implicit, conscious or unconscious, may include police officers misclassifying or underreporting sexual assault or domestic violence cases, or inappropriately concluding that sexual assault cases are unfounded; failing to test sexual assault kits; interrogating rather than interviewing victims and witnesses; treating domestic violence as a family matter rather than a crime; failing to enforce protection orders; or failing to treat same-sex domestic violence as a crime. In the sexual assault and domestic violence context, if gender bias influences the initial response to or investigation of the alleged crime, it may compromise law enforcement’s ability to ascertain the facts, determine whether the incident is a crime, and develop a case that supports effective prosecution and holds the perpetrator accountable.

 

Wash Post, Gender and Racial Stereotypes Derail Rape Investigations, Attorney General Says

Four days after an Oklahoma police officer was found guilty of serial rape, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the Department of Justice’s new guidelines for authorities handling sexual assault cases in their communities and within their departments.

 

The report, released Tuesday, calls for law enforcement agencies to fight gender bias in their responses to sexual assault and domestic violence with clear policies and updated training.

 

Lynch said officers across the country too often make snap judgments about women who report rape: She’s drunk. She’s an unreliable narrator. She’s just embarrassed by her actions.

Women's Law Project, WLP on the DOJ's First-Ever Guidance on Gender Bias in Law Enforcement

December 16, 2015 in Gender, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The OnRamp Fellowship Supporting Women's Reentry into Practice

The OnRamp Fellowship--A Pipeline Back Into Practice

According to a 2010 study by the Center for Work-Life Policy, nearly 75 percent of women attempting to return to the workforce after voluntarily leaving have difficulty finding a job. What’s a talented, driven, hard-working woman to do? Enter the OnRamp Fellowship program, an “experiential re-entry platform” designed to help women lawyers return to the workforce. The program, which began in 2014, is the brainchild of Caren Ulrich Stacy, who spent 20 years inside law firms recruiting talent. She says during those years, she saw hundreds of resumes from qualified women who were attempting to re-enter the profession after leaving, usually to raise families. Some of those gaps were a few years; some were a decade or more. And the gaps made those women seem risky to firms. 

 

While Caren understood the hesitancy of firms to take on lawyers who had been out of the workforce, she felt they were missing out on women who could become top performers and leaders. So she designed the OnRamp Fellowship to given women a pipeline back into the profession. Fellowship applicants are thoroughly vetted by Caren, whose experience and insight helps her select women who will be a good “fit” for each position. Those women are then given the opportunity to interview with some of the top firms in the country for practice groups with open positions or groups expected to experience future growth. Fellows are hired by participating firms for six-month or one-year terms and are paid through those firms. There is no guarantee of employment at the end of their fellowship year, though the hope is that the fellows will obtain full-time employment, either through their fellowship firm or elsewhere. And that’s been the case for most fellows.

December 15, 2015 in Women lawyers, Work/life | Permalink | Comments (0)

SC Legislator Proposes Informed Consent Law for Viagra

Really.  2015-16 Bill 4544: Erectile Dysfunction-South Carolina Legislature.

Applying limitations on women's reproductive rights equally to men. 

H/t Ann Bartow.

December 15, 2015 in Abortion, Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 14, 2015

9th Circuit Hears Challenge to Men-Only Draft

Wash Post, Federal Appeals Court Weighs: Is It Discrimination for Only Men to Register for the Draft?

PASADENA, Calif. — Just days after the Defense Department decided to open all combat jobs to women, a federal appeals court on Tuesday weighed a legal challenge that contends the male-only draft registration is discriminatory.

 

A three-member panel with U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit heard arguments in a 2013 lawsuit filed by the National Coalition For Men and James Lesmeister but later dismissed by a district court judge. That judge, with the U.S. Central District of California, sided with the government, ruling the issue was “unripe” because the military was in the midst of revising its policies barring women from ground combat roles and it would require congressional action.

 

For the legal history of the draft and other military exclusions, see Jill Hasday, Fighting Women: The Military, Sex, and Extrajudicial Constitutional Change, 93 Minnesota L.Rev. 1 (2008).

December 14, 2015 in Constitutional | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Group Challenges AZ Susan B. Anthony-Frederick Douglass Selective Abortion Ban as Discrimination for Perpetuating Stereotypes

Asian American Group to Challenge Arizona's Sex Selection Abortion Ban

This Wednesday, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) will  challenge Arizona’s ban on so-called race-selective and sex-selective abortions.

 

NAPAWF along with the Maricopa County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (MC-NAACP) argue the law “targets and stigmatizes Black and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and is based entirely on racially motivated stereotypes and generalizations about Black and AAPI women’s reasons for deciding to terminate a pregnancy.”

 

Lawmakers in support of the ban cite high numbers of sex-selective abortions in Asian countries as a primary reason why the ban should be enacted.

 

The case will be heard in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. In 2011, the Arizona legislature passed the “Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011.”

 

An earlier court ruling upheld the law on the grounds the NAACP and NAPAWF had no legal grounds to challenge it. The court said, in effect, that if there is no individual claiming that they were personally denied the ability to obtain an abortion, then there is no harm in this case to bring suit. Both groups are challenging that ruling in the Ninth Circuit Court this Wednesday.

 

” The Arizona law unconstitutionally and unequivocally discriminates against people of color, including Asian Americans,” Miriam Yeung, Executive Director of NAPAWF said to AsAmNews. “Specifically, lawmakers in support of the ban cite high numbers of sex-selective abortions in Asian countries as a primary reason why the ban should be enacted. The Arizona ban was passed based upon racist stereotypes about Asian Americans that have no basis in fact.”

 

I have written a bit about the Anthony-Douglass Act and the misappropriation of Susan B. Anthony's name for anti-abortion advocacy.  See Tracy Thomas Misappropriating Women's History in the Law and Politicis of Abortion, 36 Seattle L. Rev. 1, 8 (2012).

December 11, 2015 in Abortion, Legal History, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Japanese Women Sue Claiming Law Requiring Surname Change to Husband's is Unconstitutional

Japanese Women in Court Fighting to Keep Their Surnames After Marriage

Five women are suing the government of Japan over a law requiring spouses to adopt the same surname.

 

“By losing your surname ... you’re being made light of, you’re not respected ... It’s as if part of your self vanishes,” said Kaori Oguni, a translator and one of the five women involved in the lawsuit.

 

A decision by the supreme court, due on 16 December, coincides with prime minister Shinzo Abe’s push to draw more women into a shrinking workforce. Despite that, many in his conservative ruling party are opposed to any legal change.

 

An 1896 law says spouses must adopt the same surname to legally register their marriage. The law does not specify which one, but in practice, 96% of women take their husband’s name, a reflection of Japan’s male-dominated society.

 

Conservatives say allowing couples to choose whether they share the same surname or not could damage family ties and threaten society.

 

“Names are the best way to bind families,” Masaomi Takanori, a constitutional scholar, told NHK public television.

 

“Allowing different surnames risks destroying social stability, the maintenance of public order and the basis for social welfare.”

H/T Joanna Grossman

December 11, 2015 in Constitutional, Family, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Study of The Promise--and Danger--of Victim Impact Statements for Sexual Assault Victims

Karen-Lee Miller, PhD Thesis, "You Can't Stop the Bell from Ringing": Protean, Unpredictable, and Persisting: The Victim Impact Statement in the Context of Sexually Assaulted Women

Abstract:     

The victim impact statement (VIS) is a victim’s voluntarily written account of a range of harms experienced as a consequence of a crime. Rarely is the VIS investigated specific to sexual assault or from a theoretical perspective. This qualitative study was designed to address these gaps. Interviews were conducted with 44 participants who sought or provided VIS-related services in Canada. Findings were analyzed using insights from actor-network theory.

Findings of the overall study are presented through three distinct but interrelated papers. “Obliging Detours” (Miller, submitted) describes the development of the VIS in Canada, and its multiple, innovative, and unauthorized pathways of use. These pathways created novel opportunities, demands, and risks for sexual assault victims, particularly those who were mothers, female offenders, or had been excluded at trial. “Relational Caring” (Miller, 2014) identifies an ethic of care that underpinned use of the VIS by sexually assaulted women. Victims prioritized the well-being of others by constructing VIS narratives that privileged the harms experienced by others, protected future victims, and promoted the interests of intimate partner offenders. Victims who were mothers, especially those abused as minors, and those who were intimate partners of their offenders were particularly implicated. “Purposing and Repurposing Harms” (Miller, 2013) demonstrates how harm descriptions were manipulated by victims and others in keeping with, and contrary to, legislators’ design of the VIS. VIS repurposing occurred through victims’ practices of strategic disclosure, which was intended to effect changes in others’ behaviours, and harm peddling, which was the circulation of the VIS in nonsentencing arenas by victims and nonvictims to obtain compensation, child custody, and parole delay.

Taken together, the findings revealed that the VIS has a protean nature that is produced by structural and relational factors, and lends itself to multiple uses in multiple contexts. VIS-related outcomes and the effects on victims and others could neither be wholly predicted nor prevented, and involved interactions beyond the criminal court setting. The protean, unpredictable, and persisting positive and negative effects of the VIS hold promise — and danger — for sexual assault victims.

 

December 10, 2015 in Scholarship, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Ms. Foundation on "Let's Talk About Intersectional Feminism"

National Women's Law Center, Let's Talk About Intersectional Feminism

Recently, the Ms. Foundation launched the #MyFeminismIs campaign “to paint a broad, inclusive and intersectional picture of Feminism as we continue to challenge and change the conversation around equal rights.” The campaign aims to start a dialogue about feminism as a movement for the equality of all genders and what feminism looks like for each of us.

 

If you’re new to the term, intersectionality is a word coined by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, who defined it as “the view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity.”

 

In other words, the ways that people experience discrimination — based on sex, race, gender identity, ability, sexual orientation, size, religion, national origin, the list goes on — can’t be separated into categories because these systems of oppression are all connected. And because various forms of oppression are intertwined, an intersectional lens is fundamental to feminism as a movement for liberation and equality. We can’t work for gender equality without addressing other issues of inequality like police brutality against people of color, immigration reform, Islamophobia, or discrimination and violence against the LGBT community.

 

That’s why a campaign like #MyFeminismIs, which focuses on a broad, inclusive, and intersectional feminism, is so exciting. We come to our work, our activism, our feminist movement as our whole selves — so our work, our activism, and our movement should reflect that. What the #MyFeminismIs campaign is doing to continue the conversation about what inclusive, intersectional feminism like — in the media, in academia, in organizing and activism, and in the women’s advocacy world — will help shape and strengthen the future of feminism.

December 9, 2015 in Gender, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

New in Books: Notorious Justice Ginsburg

Emily Bazelon, NYT, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Clark Kent had Superman. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has Notorious R.B.G. For 80 of her 82 years, the Supreme Court justice was known for being brilliant, reserved and a little dry. Then in 2013, the Internet gave her a super-hip-nerd alter ego. On a Tumblr created by a law student, Shana Knizhnik, fans posted ­photoshopped tributes to Ginsburg. In one frequently shared image, she wore a crown with the caption “Can’t Spell Truth Without Ruth.” She also appeared as a bobblehead doll, a tattoo on a bicep, a decal on a fingernail, and a baby wearing a huge pair of glasses.

 

Notorious R.B.G. refers to Notorious B.I.G., the young rapper who was killed in 1997. The unlikely comparison gave Ginsburg’s fans the perfect vehicle for turning her precise lawyerly voice into a cultural roar. ***

 

Knizhnik has teamed up with Irin Carmon, an intrepid MSNBC reporter, to turn the Tumblr, which is still up and running, into a book. Turning the pages, I felt as if I were on a tour of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Museum with two conscientious and loving young curators. They show off Ginsburg, in old photos, at every age. They give us her workout, her favorite of her husband’s recipes (pork loin braised in milk, maybe the most un-kosher dish ever), and the intensely moving letter he wrote to her before he died.

 

Ginsburg and her family clearly embraced this project, a gain for the reader and for the justice. We get up-close details, like Ginsburg’s reaction to her granddaughter Clara’s nose ring: “She kept calling it ‘that thing on your face.’ ” And Ginsburg gets help reaching readers who aren’t lawyers. Carmon, who wrote the text (Knizhnik chose the images), deftly annotates sections from Ginsburg’s major opinions, adding color, humor and context with a red pen.

December 9, 2015 in Books, SCOTUS, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The "Intellectual Bohemia" of the Internet for Feminism

Claire Bond Potter, Is the Internet the Final Bohemia?. Chronicle.

Yet flexible, voluntary networks in virtual space offer other political and intellectual possibilities, and we should imagine them before it is too late. Jacoby has said that even though he was wrong about a few things, he was right about most things. I’m glad he did. We may disagree about the importance of intellectual movements anchored principally by women, people of color, and queers, but we don’t disagree about how quickly these movements have been sucked into the academy — the barbarians at the gates becoming gatekeepers in turn. Internet bohemia, with its disdain for credentialing, and its networks that form, dissolve and form again according to new needs and desires, could, in fact, be different.

December 3, 2015 in Technology, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

New SSRN eJournal "Female Leadership Challenges" Blends Law, Finance & Economics

From the announcement:

We are pleased to announce a new MRN Leadership Research Network (MRN-LRN) Sponsored Subject Matter eJournal - Female Leadership Challenges eJournal, sponsored by Women in Leadership Research Network at UNSW Business School.

Sponsored by...
Women in Leadership Research Network
at UNSW Business School

Women in Leadership Research Network Logo

FEMALE LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES eJOURNAL
View Papers: http://ssrn.com/link/Female-Leadership-Challenges.html
Subscribe: http://hq.ssrn.com/jourInvite.cfm?link=Female-Leadership-Challenges

Editor: Renée B. Adams, Professor, University of New South Wales, Director, Financial Research Network (FIRN), Research Associate, European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI).

Sponsor: The Women in Leadership Research Network connects finance, economics and law faculty at UNSW with other academics and organizations interested in fresh thinking and creative solutions to female leadership challenges.

Description: This eJournal includes working and accepted paper abstracts and other scholarly works, such as book chapters and review articles, on the topic of the barriers to and the consequences of female leadership. We are interested in the role of culture, stereotypes and household production in women's career progression. We are interested in how barriers to female leadership and selection shape female leadership outcomes. We are interested in the role policy has to play in overcoming these barriers. We welcome fresh thinking on female leadership challenges from any discipline, particularly work that takes causal identification seriously.

Advisory Board
ROSALIND DIXON
Professor, University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

GIGI FOSTER
Associate Professor, UNSW Business School, School of Economics

PAULINE A. GROSJEAN
Associate Professor, UNSW Business School, School of Economics



HOW TO SUBSCRIBE
You can subscribe to the eJournal, by clicking on the "subscribe" link listed above.

December 2, 2015 in Business, Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Divorce Equality and Failure to Understand the Economic Partnership of Marriage

Allison Tait (Richmond), Divorce Equality, 90 Wash. Law Review (2015)

Abstract:

Abstract:     

The battle for marriage equality has been spectacularly successful, producing great optimism about the transformation of marriage. The struggle to revolutionize the institution of marriage is, however, far from over. Next is the battle for divorce equality. With the initial wave of same-sex divorces starting to appear on court dockets, this Article addresses the distinctive property division problems that have begun to arise with same-sex divorce and that threaten, in the absence of rule reform, to both amplify and reinscribe problems with the conventional marital framework. Courts have failed to realize the cornerstone concept of equitable distribution—marriage as an economic partnership—in the context of different-sex marriage. Because same-sex divorce highlights this failing, this Article uses same-sex divorce as a lens through which to reexamine the untapped potential of equitable distribution statutes.

Two questions drive the analysis. One question is how to decide which assets count as marital property and how to value one spouse’s contributions to the other spouse’s career success. I propose that courts characterize enhanced earning capacity as marital property and count indirect spousal contributions toward the growth in value of business assets. Without these changes, courts fail to capture the nature of marital partnership and properly compensate contributions made by non-earning spouses. Another question, made salient by same-sex “hybrid” cases in which the spouses have been long-term cohabiting partners but short-term marital partners, is how to determine when an economic partnership begins. I propose that courts use the category of “pre-marital” property in order to count assets and income acquired outside of the marriage itself.

Addressing these questions is critical to the reformation of marriage because property rules impact how spouses bargain with one another, how diverse roles get valued in marital bargains, and how we assign and perform gender within marriage. Moreover, proper compensation for spousal contributions rewards individuals for making choices that benefit the couple rather than the individual, which is normatively positive behavior. These proposals for rule reform provide guidance for courts, both those encountering an increasing number of same-sex divorces as well those deliberating over how best to assess spousal contributions in different-sex marriages. Furthermore, the proposals in this Article provide a blueprint for advocates who seek to continue the work of marriage equality in the hopes of further unwinding the power of gender within marriage.

 

December 2, 2015 in Family, Same-sex marriage | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Women Academics, but Not Men, are Punished for Co-Authoring

Wash Post, Why Men Get All The Credit When They Work With Women

Heather Sarsons, a PhD candidate in economics at Harvard, recently compiled four decades of records on over 500 tenure decisions at the top 30 economics schools in the nation. During the tenure process at a university, young professors race to do as much research as possible to prove they deserve a permanent position on the faculty. The number of papers they publish in journals is one important measure of their performance.

 

According to Sarson’s preliminary results, it doesn’t affect a male economist’s chances at tenure if he publishes papers on his own, or with collaborators. But female economists are punished if they co-author. *

 

As further evidence that men are receiving credit for women's contributions, Sarsons shows that the penalty for co-authorship only exists when women work with men. When women work on a paper exclusively with other women, that penalty disappears. When men and women collaborate, however, men seem to soak up all the credit from the women.

 

November 30, 2015 in Law schools, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 27, 2015

New Economic Report Shows US Gender Equality Worsens to 28th Worldwide

The US is Beaten by 27 Other Countries When it Comes to Women's Equality

While the world has made progress closing the gap between women and men in health, education, economic participation, and political empowerment over the last decade, the United States is not keeping up.

 

The World Economic Forum (WEF) just released its 2015 Global Gender Gap report, which showed that the gap has dropped by 4 percent in the last ten years. While this marks progress, it could take another 118 years to completely close the gap. Gender equality will not be reached until the year 2133 at this rate.

 

Progress also isn’t even across the globe. Over those 10 years, Nordic countries have consistently been doing the most to close the gender gap. Iceland came in at number one over the past six years, followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden.

 

The United States, on the other hand, has actually moved backward. On the list of 145 countries, the United States has never broken into the top 15 countries with the lowest gender gap. Worse, it fell eight places over the last year, to a rank of 28 for overall gender equality. The authors of the study credit this fall to slightly “less perceived wage equality for similar work and changes in ministerial level positions.” Though the U.S. has nearly closed the gender gap in education and health, the largest gaps stills remain in labor force participation, wage equality for similar work, and political empowerment.

November 27, 2015 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Women of Plymouth

Recalling our foremothers at Thanksgiving.

National Geographic, The Women of Plymouth

On September 6, 1620, 102 passengers and 30 crew members boarded the Mayflower. Some were in search of religious freedom; others, new opportunities in a new land. Eighteen adult women were on board.

 

Only four of those adult women would survive the following year and be present at what has come to be known as the “First Thanksgiving” in the fall of 1621. The reasons for this scale of loss are well known and well documented, and have little to do with the initial concerns related to lack of strength and fortitude that caused many of the Pilgrim men to leave their wives behind in Europe.

 

When the Pilgrims arrived on the north shore of Massachusetts after their arduous 66-day, 2,800-mile journey, there was much work to be done. While the men organized and executed scouting trips that would ultimately result in the selection of Plymouth as the site for their colony, the women remained in the cramped — and no doubt fetid — ship. Care-giving roles for children soon expanded to include nursing the sick as the winter swiftly ushered in rampant disease.

 

More than half of the new colonists would be buried by the spring.

 

The hardship and loss endured by the surviving women is unimaginable. And due to the antiquated social mores of the time, in which women were entirely subservient to men, the details of their lives are sparsely recorded.

 

November 26, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law and Gender on Thanksgiving

Some highlights of past posts on women, law and gender at Thanksgiving.

Talking to Your Relatives About Women's Issues at Thanksgiving (cue SNL Adele Thanksgiving video)

The Second Shift on Thanksgiving

Feminist Reasons to be Thankful

November 26, 2015 in Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

For First Time Women Compose Majority of MDL Committee

NLJ, In a First, Women Compose Majority of MDL Committee

A federal judge has appointed the first plaintiffs steering committee in multidistrict litigation made up of a majority of women members, according to the lawyers in the case.

 

The appointments, which U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil of Kansas approved on Wednesday, come in lawsuits alleging that Ethicon Inc.’s power morcellators—medical devices used in laparoscopic uterine surgeries—have caused women to develop an aggressive form of cancer.

 

Vratil approved a proposed committee recommended by Paul Pennock, managing attorney at New York’s Weitz & Luxenberg and Aimee Wagstaff, founding partner of Andrus Wagstaff in Lakewood, Colorado. Pennock, now co-lead counsel with Wagstaff on the official committee, said he was inspired to create a leadership team of mostly women after hearing Vratil, a former member of the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, talk at a conference on “best practices” in MDLs held by Duke Law School’s Center for Judicial Studies in September 2014.

 

 

November 25, 2015 in Courts, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Elizabeth Cady Stanton Bicentennial

Ms. The Elizabeth Cady Stanton Bicentennial: A Missed Opportunity for Study and Reflection

November 12 was the bicentennial of the birth of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of America’s most prominent and extraordinary women’s right leaders. The event passed largely un-noticed. We missed a chance to pause and reflect on her leadership and also on the issues she wrestled with, some of which are still with us.

 

Stanton deserves more recognition. She was, of course, the main organizer of the famous Seneca Falls women’s rights convention in 1848, which issued a ringing declaration demanding the right to vote. But there are several other reasons for studying her career.

We didn't miss it at the Con Law Colloquium at Akron Law.  The entire colloquium featured Stanton scholars of law and history delving into Stanton's contributions to gender equality and constitutional thinking of the vote, political economy, marriage, the family, and religious liberty. 

Here's my prior blog post and all the details from the program.

 

November 25, 2015 in Conferences, Constitutional, Law schools, Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Servant Leadership in Law Schools

I've stumbled across this notion of servant leadership.  It is prevalent in social justice and religious circles, but was not familiar to me.  I studied leadership in many classes in graduate school, but those all explored notions of power, control and personality rather than ideas of service.  

A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.

The idea of servant automatically triggers my feminist flags as something sacrificial that would be required of women, but not men.  Something like the doormat theory of leadership.  Servant leadership sometimes appears, as in this article, as something kinder and gentler and more attuned to feminine values.  Ms. JD,  Women Leading Change.  But, the more I read, the more the idea is clearly gender neutral and derives from approach to both means and end.  It continues to appeal to me as better matching my own motivation for taking on and implementing administrative leadership.  

Women who are leading change also empower others to serve as leaders. A servant leader’s success is not measured by title, rank or position, instead the servant leader’s accomplishments are reflected in the sense of agency developed in the lives of others.

November 24, 2015 in Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)