Gender and the Law Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

UAE imprisoning rape victims under extramarital sex laws – investigation

From the Guardian UK: 

Hundreds of women, some of them pregnant or domestic servants who are victims of rape, are being imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates every year under laws that outlaw consensual sex outside marriage, according to a BBC Arabic investigation.

Secret footage obtained by BBC Arabic show pregnant women shackled in chains walking into a courtrooms where laws prohibiting “Zina” – or sex outside marriage – could mean sentences of months to years in prison and flogging.

“Because the UAE authorities have not clarified what they mean by indecency, the judges can use their culture and customs and Sharia ultimately to broaden out that definition and convict people for illicit sexual relations or even acts of public affection,” said Rothna Begum, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch in London.

While both men and women could in theory be imprisoned for having sex outside marriage, the investigation – which will air at the opening of BBC Arabic festival on 31 October – found that in reality pregnancy is often used as proof of the “crime”, with domestic female migrant workers – numbering about 150,000 in the UAE – left most vulnerable.

October 28, 2015 in Courts, Human trafficking, International, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

No ‘Appreciable Progress’ for Women in Partnership Ranks

From Bloomberg News: 

It's back to the future — and not in a good way for women seeking equity partnership in the nation’s 200 largest law firms.

Women have not made “appreciable progress” since 2006 in either attaining equity partnership or increasing their pay to be on par with their male colleagues once they grasp the brass ring, according to a study by the National Association of Women Lawyers released on Tuesday.

The results: Women represent 18 percent of equity partners, an increase of two percent since 2006, according to NAWL’s findings. Even after they’ve made it into the equity ranks, they make about 80 percent of what their male colleagues bring home. In 2006, women had made 84 percent.

October 28, 2015 in Women lawyers, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 9, 2015

"California now has one of the toughest equal pay laws in the country"

From the LA Times: 

California took a major step Tuesday toward closing the lingering wage gap between men and women, as Gov. Jerry Brown signed one of the toughest pay equity laws in the nation.

Women in California who work full time are paid substantially less — a median 84 cents for every dollar — than men, according to a U.S Census Bureau report this year.

“The inequities that have plagued our state and have burdened women forever are slowly being resolved with this kind of bill,” Brown said at a ceremony at Rosie the Riveter National Historical Park in the Bay Area city of Richmond.

October 9, 2015 in Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Gender Diversity Makes Good Business Sense

From CNBC: 

Firstly, to hire women at junior levels and invest in them only to lose them before they can take on the senior roles is a poor outcome business-wise, returns-wise and image-wise.

Secondly, women are increasingly becoming the decision-making consumer. Not having a proper representation of women at senior levels would mean firms are losing out on an opportunity to have leaders who have a better understanding of the needs and psyche of their target consumers. That is a bad business decision.

Thirdly, women will increasingly be the decision-maker and enterprise-buyer on the corporate side as well. Not having top leaders who can easily relate to the situation of senior female executives across the table can have adverse consequences.

October 5, 2015 in Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"Gender Bias at Work Turns Up in Feedback"

From the WSJ blog: 

If companies are looking for gender bias in their workplace, here’s one place they may want to start: feedback.

Research suggests that men and women are assessed very differently at work. Specifically, managers are significantly more likely to critique female employees for coming on too strong, and their accomplishments are more likely than men’s to be seen as the result of team, rather than individual efforts, finds new research from Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research. Those trends appear to hold up whether the boss making the assessments is male or female.

September 30, 2015 in Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 25, 2015

"Law Firms Are Learning: Work-Life Balance Isn't Just for Moms"

From the Atlantic:

For decades, work-life balance at law firms has been a women’s issue—something for working moms to sort out. But there are a growing number of new firms built on flexible schedules that are now attracting men, and slowly shifting the definition of a successful legal career. Though the partner office is still the prototypical legal-career status symbol, the prerequisites of long hours and 24-7 availability are inconsistent with the emphasis many men put on time away from the office.


“Young men today have different values, different aspirations than their fathers,” says Stewart Friedman, a Wharton Practice professor of management and director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project. “They want to be available both psychologically and physically for children.” At some of the most competitive white-collar workplaces, such as Netflix and Microsoft, these shifts have led to expanded parental-leave policies.

September 25, 2015 in Manliness, Masculinities, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"Rush for gender equality with top judges 'could have appalling consequences for justice'"

A view from Britain from the Evening Standard (UK): 

One of the country’s most senior judges today warned that rushing to achieve equal representation for women at the top of the legal profession could inflict “appalling consequences” on the quality of British justice.   

Lord Sumption, a Supreme Court judge, said he believed that the judiciary was a “terrific public asset” which could be “destroyed very easily” if the selection of candidates was skewed in favour of women.

He added that to avoid inflicting damage, campaigners for equality would have to be “patient” and suggested that it would need up to 50 years before the number of women on the Bench matched the total of men.

September 23, 2015 in Women lawyers, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

"The Legal Profession’s Gender Imbalance in a Chart"

From Bloomberg Law Business: 

The American Bar Foundation has released new data about gender balance in the profession, or more accurately, the lack thereof.

Clearly, more women are entering the law as shown in the chart below.

Gabe Friedman

Gabe Friedman/Source: National Lawyer Population Survey, American Bar Association.

But even though the number of women entering the law has been steadily increasing in recent years, the percentage of women equity partners at the top 200 law firms has been flat for close to a decade, as the chart below shows:

Gabe Friedman/Source: National Association of Women Lawyers, ABA's National Lawyer Population Survey

Gabe Friedman/Source: National Association of Women Lawyers, ABA’s National Lawyer Population Survey

September 23, 2015 in Women lawyers, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 21, 2015

"Gov. Brown expected to sign expanded fair pay legislation"

From the OC Register: 

SAN FRANCISCO – Female employees in California are poised to get new tools to challenge gender-based wage gaps and receive protection from discrimination and retaliation if they ask questions about how much other people earn.

A bill recently passed by the Legislature and that Gov. Jerry Brown has indicated he will sign won’t suddenly put all women’s salaries on par with men’s or prod employers to freely disclose what every employee makes, which could make it easier for workers to mount pay discrimination claims.

But the legislation expands what supporters call an outdated state equal pay law and goes further than federal law, placing the burden on the employer to prove a man’s higher pay is based on factors other than gender and allowing workers to sue if they are paid less than someone with a different job title who does “substantially similar” work.

September 21, 2015 in Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 18, 2015

"Gender Bias Suit Will Soon Shine a Harsh Light on Microsoft"

From Wired

MICROSOFT FACES A class action lawsuit from former employee and noted computer security researcher Katie Moussouris. The suit claims that during Moussouris’s seven years at Microsoft, she and other women were unfairly discriminated against on the basis of their gender, passed over for raises and promotions, and ranked below their male counterparts during bi-annual performance reviews.

Moussouris was instrumental in prompting Microsoft to launch its first bug bounty program in 2013, something the company resisted for years. The program pays researchers who find security vulnerabilities in its software. After resigning from Microsoft in May, Moussouris took a job as chief policy officer at HackerOne, which helps companies manage bug bounty programs and communicate with security researchers.

September 18, 2015 in Technology, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Embedded image permalink

From the Guardian UK: 

The barrister at the centre of a sexism furore over a complimentary LinkedIn message from a solicitor 30 years her senior has said she is facing a professional backlash over her decision to speak out.

Writing for the Independent, the human rights lawyer Charlotte Proudman said she did not regret her decision to make public a message from Alexander Carter-Silk that commented on her “stunning” photograph, because it had led to an outpouring of similar experiences from other women.

Proudman said she had named Carter-Silk because she believed the public interest in exposing the “eroticisation of women’s physical appearance” by an influential and senior lawyer was greater than his right to privacy.

September 15, 2015 in Technology, Women lawyers, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"Big Law’s Race and Gender Problem"

Videoed interviews with Big Law partners are available from Bloomberg News.  An excerpt: 

“The fact of the matter is, that in the legal profession, racial and gender balance is just behind,” said Jami McKeon, Chair of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. McKeon and Michele Coleman Mayes, the New York Public Library’s General Counsel, spoke to us at the Big Law Business Summit in July about racial and gender imbalance in big law.

September 9, 2015 in Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 7, 2015

"Uneven Wages Cast Shadow Over Labor Day"


From US News & World Report: 

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal for employers to discriminate against prospective workers based on gender, race or religious preference. But that doesn't mean pay gaps don't exist. An income and poverty report published last year by the U.S. Census Bureau found significant disparities in median household incomes based on race; Asian households brought in $67,065 at the end of 2013, while African-American homes posted $34,598 in annual median income.

Another report from the Economic Policy Institute, drawing in part on Census Bureau data, found that median household incomes for Caucasian male full-time employees hovered around $72,530, significantly higher than African-Americans ($51,610) and Hispanics ($43,240). Female employees' earnings were significantly weaker across the board.


And the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates women spent more than twice as much time caring for and helping children in the household as men did in 2014.

“Women who have taken some time out of the workforce to do care-giving maybe are not able to come back at the same level. They’ve missed a couple steps on the career ladder,” Robbins says. “Women’s disproportionate representation in the lower paid jobs, and, conversely, their lack of representation in some of the best-paid jobs, really does feed into the wage gap.”

Full-time work more often than not offers greater annual earnings than a part-time job, but a greater percentage of women than men isn't enjoying a standard 40-hour work week. The Labor Department estimates 74 percent of working women were employed full-time in 2013, while 24 percent worked part time. That's compared to 86.9 percent of employed men who work full-time and only 13.1 percent who work part-time.

September 7, 2015 in Race, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

"California equal pay bill may be toughest in nation"

The LA Times story: 

 California's new Fair Pay Act, which awaits Gov. Jerry Brown's signature, may be the nation's most aggressive attempt yet to close the salary gap between men and women.

Supporters said the legislation, passed unanimously by the California Senate on Monday, closes loopholes that prevented enforcement of existing anti-discrimination law.

The bill ensures that male and female employees who perform "substantially similar" work receive equal pay, even if their job titles aren't the same or if they work in different offices for the same employer.

September 2, 2015 in Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lawsuit by the National Coalition for Men

From CNN/ Money: 

Are businesses that cater to women inherently anti-male?  

Entrepreneur Stephanie Burns would say no. Burns runs Chic CEO, a startup that hosts networking events and provides online resources for female entrepreneurs.

But three men's rights activists didn't see her services as benevolent. They sued her for being denied entry to an event in San Diego.

The lawsuit cites a California law called the Unruh Civil Rights Act,enacted in 1959, which prohibits businesses from discriminating based on factors such as sex, race, religion and disabilities.

Burns told CNNMoney that men are allowed to attend her events, but that particular one was at capacity. But Chic CEO's promotional materials -- which all catered to women -- were fuel for the lawsuit. The event was described as a "fun, relaxed environment to meet up with entrepreneurs, mompreneurs, CEOs, directors, savvy business women."

August 26, 2015 in Manliness, Masculinities, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

"Why Aren't There More Women Futurists?"

The title, from an Atlantic piece, just caught my eye.   

Why can’t people imagine a future without falling into the sexist past? Why does the road ahead keep leading us back to a place that looks like the Tomorrowland of the 1950s? Well, when it comes to Moneypenny, here’s a relevant datapoint: More than two thirds of Facebook employees are men. That’s a ratio reflected among another key group: futurists.

Both the World Future Society and the Association of Professional Futurists are headed by women right now. And both of those women talked to me about their desire to bring more women to the field. Cindy Frewen, the head of theAssociation of Professional Futurists, estimates that about a third of their members are women. Amy Zalman, the CEO of the World Future Society, says that 23 percent of her group’s members identify as female. But most lists of “top futurists” perhaps include one female name. Often, that woman is no longer working in the field.

August 13, 2015 in Science, Technology, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gender Pay Gap

An Op-Ed from the NYT: 

HOW serious are we, really, about tackling income equality?

The Securities and Exchange Commission took a shot at it last week, approving a rule that would require companies to disclose their C.E.O. pay gap — comparing how much chief executive officers take home compared with ordinary employees.

That’s a fine idea. But here’s a better one: require companies to publish their gender pay gap.


Claudia Goldin, a labor economist at Harvard, has crunched the numbers and found that the gap persists for identical jobs, even after controlling for hours, education, race and age. Female doctors and surgeons, for example, earn 71 percent of what their male colleagues make, while female financial specialists are paid just 66 percent as much as comparable men. Other researchers have calculated that women one year out of college earn 6.6 percent less than men after controlling for occupation and hours, and that female M.B.A. graduates earn on average $4,600 less than their male classmates for their first jobs.

August 13, 2015 in Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 31, 2015

"Law Society reveals 42 per cent gender pay gap among members"

From Scotland:  

New research by the Law Society of Scotland shows a 42 per cent gender pay gap among its members, the lawyers’ body has revealed.

The figure was reached by comparing average full-time and full-time equivalent (for part time/flexible hours employees) salaries for women and men at all career stages.


Janet Hood, convenor of the Law Society’s equality and diversity committee said the gap “reflects very badly on what is otherwise a modern and forward-thinking profession”.

She added: “There are many and nuanced reasons why the gender pay gap exists, and the legal profession is certainly not alone – figures from November 2014 show that the overall UK gap was 9.4 percent.

“However we have seen little change in the past decade compared to other professions such as accountancy or dentistry and it is a major concern that such a substantial gap persists 45 years after the UK Equal Pay Act and 10 years of Law Society equality research and promoting good practice within the legal profession.”

Ms Hood said the issue could not be ignored “for either ethical or business reasons” and there should be “no limit” set on the talent and ambition of women in the sector.

The referenced report by the Law Society of Scotland is available here.  

July 31, 2015 in International, Women lawyers, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"A Quiet Triumph for Gay Workers"

So reads the headline from an Atlantic article.   The contents thereof read:  

Gay Americans can now get married in the morning and then, in the afternoon, just for being gay, their employers can fire them. Is doing so legal? Up until last week, the answer was yes for Americans living in the 28 states without explicit bans on workplace sexual-orientation discrimination. But an important rulingfrom the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) means that courts in those states are now more likely to say that such discrimination is illegal, and that gay Americans are already protected from such discrimination under existing law.

Related articles include:

July 29, 2015 in LGBT, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 27, 2015

"Paid Leave This Week: Everywhere Is Better Than Here"

The headline is from a New Republic article, whose contents read in part:  

Young women have no illusions about how hard it is to be a working mother in America. The New York Times highlights recent evidence that millenial women are less likely than prior generations to expect careers equal to their husbands. 

The rest of the world continues to treat mothers better: India’s high court ruled that mothers who use surrogates are entitled to maternity leave. Meanwhile, Ireland’s government is considering extending its paid parental leave policy from six months to one year, which can be shared by both parents.

IBM introduces Uber for breast milk: Nursing mothers who work for IBM will now be able to use an app to ship their breast milk back home while travelling for business.

Day care can now cost more than college tuition. Working parents can expect to pay an average of $11,000 a year for a spot at an infant day care center ($16,549 if you’re unlucky enough to live in Massachusetts), more than average tuition at a four-year public college.   

The art of inequality: An art gallery in New York is exhibiting a mural-sized infographic by Portugese painter Rigo 23 depicting the last eight countries on earth without mandated paid maternity leave—the U.S. is right in between Tonga and Nauru.

July 27, 2015 in Family, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)