Thursday, September 23, 2021

New Book Tarana Burke and The Surprising Origins of MeToo

Tarana Burke Talks About the Surprising Origins of #MeToo

Four years ago, Tarana Burke was a devoted but little-known activist with a vision for how victims of sexual violence could find empathy and healing.

 

Now she sits at the center of a social movement that never seems to stop surging — most recently, toppling New York’s governor and erupting in new corners of the globe.

 

Until now, Ms. Burke has never told her own story. In her memoir, “Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement,” which Flatiron Books is releasing on Tuesday, she reveals a close but complicated historical link between the civil rights movement and MeToo.

 

Last week, she spoke about what she owes to activists in Selma, Ala., why she turned away from them, and how her personal experiences, from Catholicism to an up-close view of the Central Park jogger case, influenced her founding of the MeToo movement.

“Unbound” is out on Sept. 14.

September 23, 2021 in Books, Equal Employment, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Critique of Bostock and the Failure of its Formalism to Embrace an Anti-Stereotyping Principle

Anthony Kreis, Unlawful Genders, Law & Contemporary Problems (forthcoming)

Professor Kreis critiques Bostock v. Clayton County for its neglect to expressly embrace an anti-stereotyping principle, which would have more fully revealed the interconnected relationship between discrimination against women and LGBTQ people. He is concerned that the formalistic focus on sex as a textual matter obscured the historical regulation of gender roles meant to oppress both women and sexual minorities. Professor Kreis argues that courts should revisit this more closely in the constitutional law space and analyze LGBTQ-related constitutional claims as sex discrimination.

From the introduction:

There was a real cost to Bostock’s formalism. The majority opinion correctly understood that it is impossible to divorce discrimination on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity from their sex assigned at birth. However, beyond noting that a person has to notice and take account of a person's sex before they can take account of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, the Court did not explain why discrimination is often the result of the connection. Specifically, the Bostock decision failed to sufficiently explain why the link between the two kinds of discrimination is non-severable. This could have been done by applying an anti-stereotyping principle. This principle, which courts have recognized since the 1970s and 1980s in both the employment discrimination context and in constitutional law,  stands for the proposition that gender-based assumptions about what men or women can do and assumptions about how men or women should act are impermissible forms of sex discrimination. While the principle has been applied to a variety of stereotypes that manifest by employers’ and legislators’ expectations of how men and women can or should behave, it has not been broadly applied to claims of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, though it has been more regularly applied to gender identity discrimination claims.

 

Sex stereotype theory can both explain and address anti-LGBTQ discrimination because misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia are inextricable from one another.

September 23, 2021 in Constitutional, Equal Employment, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Symposium 10/15 Reproducing Injustice: Covid-19, Reproduction, and the Law

Reproducing Injustice: Covid-19, Reproduction, and the Law, Drexel Law School, Oct. 15

Reproductive rights are under attack in the United States, with a record number of restrictive abortion bills introduced in state legislatures this year alone. The United States continues to report high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity, with pregnant people of color at greater risk of adverse health outcomes related to childbirth and experiencing mistreatment by their health care providers at disproportionately high rates. In addition, gaps in access to health care, legal services, and other critical resources mean that many poor people and people of color face particular burdens as parents trying to raise their children in safe and healthy environments. Political divisions regarding reproduction have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As we look forward to a post-pandemic future, it seems important to ask: What kinds of trends do we see as we consider reproductive health and rights through the lens of the pandemic? How can lessons from the COVID-19 era inform future efforts to increase access to health services, defend reproductive rights, and promote reproductive justice? The Drexel Law Review Volume XIV presents Reproducing Injustice: COVID-19, Reproduction, and the Law, a symposium designed to facilitate a conversation about reproductive health and rights in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what we can take away from the past year and a half to advocate for reproductive justice moving forward.
 
RSVP

September 23, 2021 in Abortion, Conferences, Healthcare, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

CFP Rutgers Law, Feminism in the Law--An Exploration of Justice Ginsburg's Legacy

Call for Papers

The Women’s Rights Law Reporter is seeking submissions for its annual symposium entitled “Feminism in the Law: An Exploration of Justice Ginsburg’s Legacy.”

The symposium will be held on December 2, 2021 from 3-5 pm on the Newark campus in conjunction with Rutgers Law School’s ceremony for the renaming of 15 Washington Street in honor of the late Justice. As a Rutgers Law School faculty member, Ruth Bader Ginsburg served as the first faculty adviser to the Women’s Rights Law Reporter, which is the nation’s oldest legal periodical focusing on the field of women’s rights law.

The symposium will explore Justice Ginsburg’s lasting legacy and the work that still needs to be done in the field of gender, sexuality, and the law. The symposium promises to be a very well publicized and attended event that will include opening remarks by Justice Ginsburg’s daughter, Professor Jane Ginsburg. We hope to include a wide range of scholars on the panel who can discuss how Justice Ginsburg’s achievements have impacted their own work and scholarship.

The symposium is being planned as an in-person event, subject to evolving New Jersey health regulations. In the event that the event cannot be held live, we will hold the symposium virtually. We are also open to a hybrid format if a panel member is unable to travel due to health concerns.

Those interested in participating should submit an abstract (~750-1,000) words and CV to eics@womensrightslawreporter.com with the subject “RBG Symposium Submission” by September 30, 2021.  Given the short timeline, decisions will be made by October 15, 2021. Those selected will be contacted via email and provided information about traveling to Rutgers Law School for the symposium. We will provide a modest honorarium per speaker as well as reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses.

Once selected, draft articles should be submitted by November 22, 2021. We are looking to have a final draft of paper submissions by January 25, 2021. We are, however, willing to accommodate you if you are unable to adhere to this timeline. Paper length should be roughly 5,000 words; however, we are willing to consider pieces that are either longer or shorter. Papers will be published in the spring edition of the Women’s Rights Law Reporter.

We look forward to reading your submissions and are anticipating a very successful, thought-provoking symposium.

Sincerely,

Samantha Arnold & Siena Carnevale

Co-Editors-In-Chief, Women’s Rights Law Reporter

September 22, 2021 in Call for Papers, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

After DOJ Investigation San Jose State University Will Pay $1.6 Million to 13 Student Athletes in Sexual Harassment Case

San Jose State to Pay $1.6 Million to 13 Students in Sexual Harassment Case

Investigations by the university and the Justice Department identified 23 student-athletes who had been inappropriately touched by an athletic trainer, officials said.

San Jose State University has agreed to pay $1.6 million to 13 female student-athletes who alleged that they had been sexually harassed by a former athletic trainer, federal prosecutors and the university said on Tuesday.

 

In a letter to California’s state university system, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice concluded that the university had failed for more than a decade to respond adequately to reports of sexual harassment against the trainer and violated Title IX, a law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded schools.

 

The university, the letter stated, did this “despite widespread knowledge and repeated reports of the allegations.” As a result, student-athletes experienced “further sexual harassment,” the department said.

 

Starting in 2009, the Justice Department said in a statement, student-athletes had reported that the trainer repeatedly subjected them to “unwelcome sexual touching” of their breasts, groins, buttocks and pubic areas during treatment in campus training centers.

 

The investigations by the university and the Justice Department identified 23 student-athletes who they said had been inappropriately touched by Scott Shaw, the trainer, according to the university. The department offered $125,000 to each of them, the university said, and 13 accepted the offer.

 

Mr. Shaw, who was the university’s director of sports medicine until he retired last year, and his lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday evening.

 
The Justice Department also found that the university retaliated against two employees in its athletics department, one of whom had repeatedly alerted school officials to the threat posed by Mr. Shaw, and the second had opposed retaliation against the employee who reported the threat. The second employee, the department said, was fired.

September 22, 2021 in Education, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Book -- Just Get on the Pill: The Uneven Balance of Reproductive Politics

Krystale Littlejohn, Just Get on the Pill: The Uneven Burden of Reproductive Politics (UC Press)

Understanding the social history and urgent social implications of gendered compulsory birth control, an unbalanced and unjust approach to pregnancy prevention.

The average person concerned about becoming pregnant spends approximately thirty years trying to prevent conception. People largely do so alone using prescription birth control, a situation often taken for granted in the United States as natural and beneficial. In Just Get On the Pill, a keenly researched and incisive examination, Krystale Littlejohn investigates how birth control becomes a fundamentally unbalanced and gendered responsibility. She uncovers how parents, peers, partners, and providers draw on narratives of male and female birth control methods to socialize cisgender women into sex and ultimately into shouldering the burden for preventing pregnancy.

 

Littlejohn draws on extensive interviews to document this gendered compulsory birth control—a phenomenon in which people who give birth are held accountable for preventing and resolving pregnancies in gender-constrained ways. She shows how this gendered approach encroaches on reproductive autonomy and poses obstacles for preventing disease. While diverse cisgender women are the focus, Littlejohn shows that they are not the only ones harmed by this dynamic. Indeed, gendered approaches to birth control also negatively impact trans, intersex, and gender nonconforming people in overlooked ways. In tracing the divisive politics of pregnancy prevention, Littlejohn demonstrates that the gendered division of labor in birth control is not natural. It is unjust

September 22, 2021 in Books, Healthcare, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Book Review Biography of Iconic Civil Rights Feminist Dorothy Pittman Hughes

Carrie Baker, The Story of Iconic Feminist Dorothy Pittman Hughes: "With Her Fist Raised." 

dorothy-pitman-hughes-feminist-gloria-steinem-who-founded-ms-magazine

Many of us have seen the iconic photo of interracial sisterhood with Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes from 1971, now part of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. While we know a lot about Steinem from popular media, history books, autobiographies and even a Broadway play, most of us know very little about Pitman Hughes. But we should.

 

The recent publication of Pitman Hughes’s biography—With Her First Raised: Dorothy Pitman Hughes and the Transformative Power of Black Community Activism—by University of Massachusetts historian Laura Lovett shares this forgotten history. According to Lovett, her book offers “a history of the women’s movement with children, race and welfare rights at its core, a history of women’s politics grounded in community organizing and African American economic development.”...

 

Throughout her life, Pitman Hughes sought to make the lives of ordinary women better by working to empower communities to meet their needs—whether that was child care, recognition of Black women’s inherent beauty or access to economic resources or local healthy food. The book recounts her early experiences of racism, including “routine extralegal violence from the Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizens’ Councils,” her work with the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE), the Black Panthers and Malcolm X, and her friendships with people like Flo Kennedy and Ti-Grace Atkinson, as well as Steinem....

 

“Dorothy’s style was to call out the racism she saw in the white women’s movement. She frequently took to the stage to articulate the way in which white women’s privilege oppressed Black women but also offered her friendship with Gloria as proof this obstacle could be overcome,” said Lovett.

 

Pitman Hughes also organized the first shelter for battered women in New York City, co-founded the New York City Agency for Child Development working to expand child care services in the city and was a co-founder of the National Black Feminist Organization.

September 22, 2021 in Books, Legal History, Pop Culture, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 20, 2021

Accountability for Nassar Abuse

U.S. gymnasts testified in Congress last week seeking greater accountability for all of the failures in institutions and oversight that allowed Larry Nassar to abuse so many.

Dr. Amanda Potts and I previously analyzed the Victim Impact Statements (VIS) in the Michigan criminal case to consider these larger issues of accountability. Our article, The Language of Harm: What the Nassar Victim Impact Statements Reveal About Abuse and Accountability came out last year in the Pittsburgh Law Review. Last week's testimony resurrects the relevance of the conclusions of this linguistic analysis. 

This Article uses corpus-based discourse analysis to examine this impactful collection of VIS for their larger lessons in law, policy, and society. This analysis reveals several takeaways for further analysis and examination. It reveals the challenges that rape, sexual assault, and abuse survivors face in naming the crime and describing the harms. These challenges are particularly fraught and complex when powerful systems and institutions allow abusers to flourish, resulting in systemic and interconnected betrayals and failures. The VIS call for better platforms for survivors to heal, to speak, and to voice their harms beyond these episodic and rare moments offered by the #MeToo Movement, or, as in the Nassar case, made available due to the specific facts and judicial management of a case. The VIS reveal that, while Nassar has been held accountable, the larger limits of language, law, and accountability ensure that future cases will surface, absent better preventative policies. These VIS broadly call for powerful law and policy reformation that will hold perpetrators and their enablers accountable and meet the full range of victims’ needs outside of the criminal justice system.

September 20, 2021 in Sports, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Texas Doctor's Washington Post Statement on Providing Abortion Care After September 1

San Antonio physician, Alan Baird, published an Opinion piece yesterday in the Washington Post. Having begun practicing obstetrics and gynecology before the Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, Dr. Baird describes his reaction to Texas's S.B. 8. 

For me, it is 1972 all over again.

And that is why, on the morning of Sept. 6, I provided an abortion to a woman who, though still in her first trimester, was beyond the state’s new limit. I acted because I had a duty of care to this patient, as I do for all patients, and because she has a fundamental right to receive this care.

September 20, 2021 in Abortion, Constitutional, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Coverture Analysis in Insurance Coverage Case

The Kentucky Court of Appeals published an interesting decision of note on September 3 in Bratcher v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., et. al.  The plaintiff was injured in a motorcycle accident and filed a claim for benefits under her parents' policy listed as "Bratcher, Don & Tina." The plaintiff lived in her parents' rental property. The plaintiff's mother had separated from her father and moved into the rental property with the plaintiff just before the accident. The insurance coverage would include the plaintiff only if she was a "resident relative" defined as a person who lives "primarily with the first person shown as a named insured on the Declarations Page and who is [related to that "person"]" (emphasis in original). Person is defined as "a human being." State Farm moved for summary judgment arguing that she did not reside primarily with the person on the Declarations Page because that was only her father.  The Circuit Court agreed. The plaintiff argued on appeal that the parties were listed together as husband and wife and held equal status as named insureds. The Court of Appeals agreed and held that both mom and dad were first-named insureds on the policy. Because Mom had just moved in with the plaintiff, there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the plaintiff was a resident relative, so the case was remanded for proceedings consistent with the decision. 

Judge Dixon's Concurring Opinion is particularly interesting in how it draws out the historical points on coverture (emphasis in original). 

It is within this context of history I turn to State Farm’s denotation of Don as the first-named insured. While much has changed in the past 50 years, apparently much stays the same.

The law governing family relationships has developed significantly during the latter half of the 20th Century; married women are generally accorded the same rights as unmarried women, and strides toward recognizing the equality of women and men have been made and are continuing. Nevertheless, there remain vestiges of the historical treatment of women generally, and married women in particular, within our law, a treatment which at common law merged the married woman’s identity into that of her husband. 5 WILLISTON ON CONTRACTS § 11:1 (4th ed. 2021). Has Tina’s identity herein been merged with that of her husband? The uncontested proof indicates Appellant’s mother, Tina, purchased these insurance policies and paid the premiums for them. Under normal contractual circumstances, Tina would be considered the owner of the policies. Yet, State Farm representatives unilaterally chose to list the “insured” as “Bratcher, Don & Tina L,” conducting a credit check only on Don. Why not Tina? Is her credit irrelevant and insignificant? In fact, Tina was the only one between the two with actual employment. Does she have no independent identity? Nevertheless, due to the most random of circumstances, State Farm contends that because Tina, not Don, resided with Appellant in a home owned jointly by Tina and Don, their daughter–Appellant–is excluded from coverage solely because Don is the first-named insured. Thus, presumably, if Don were residing with Appellant instead of Tina, she would be covered by the policies in question. Such certainly smacks of the sex discrimination of a bygone era. Why else would State Farm choose a man as first-named insured over his wife who actually purchased the insurance policies herein and who paid all of the premiums for the policies? State Farm should not be allowed to benefit from such action.

September 20, 2021 in Family, Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 17, 2021

Gender Equity in Law School Enrollment: An Elusive Goal

Deborah Jones Merritt and Kyle P. McEntee, Gender Equity in Law School Enrollment: An Elusive Goal, 69 Journal of Legal Education 1, 102 (2021).

This article addresses the somewhat hidden gender inequity in law school enrollment.  Although the percentage of students self-identifying as female has reached over fifty percent in nationwide aggregated law school enrollment statistics, this number obscures the fact that law schools have not yet achieved greater gender equity.

Professor Merritt and Director McEntee utilize a variety of weighing measures to conclude that “[w]omen are still less likely than men to apply to law school, less likely to gain admission when they do apply, and less likely to attend the most prestigious schools after admission.”  The authors delve into the common reasons that deter students from applying for law school and note that key concerns, such as expense and confidence of successful completion, are felt more acutely by women than by men.  Thus, women are applying for law school at a lower rate than their similarly situated male counterparts. At the institutional level, law schools tend to place greater emphasis on LSAT scores rather than college grades, even though statistically the former favors male candidates while the latter favors female candidates. These, and other factors, lead to an underrepresentation of female admittees at laws schools generally ranked higher in the US News system, and an overrepresentation in those generally ranked lower.  This perpetuates the inequity into legal practice, as “[h]ighly ranked schools open employment doors that, as a practical matter, are not available to graduates of lower-ranking schools” and attending them increases the likelihood of finding a practicing position in the legal profession more broadly. 

The authors conclude by discussing various steps an institution can take to address these gender inequities and asserts the importance of doing so.  “Assuring full equity for women in law school enrollment is the first step toward achieving full gender equity throughout the legal profession.”

September 17, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 16, 2021

An Argument for Using "They" as Pronouns

Until I'm Told Otherwise, I Prefer to Call You "They"

Ian Ayres is a professor and deputy dean at Yale Law School. Their preferred pronoun is “they.”

With the start of a new school year this fall, I am adopting a new practice. It is already common for my university colleagues and me to ask our students for their preferred pronouns at the beginning of the semester. In these efforts to thoughtfully ascertain how people choose to be described, not enough attention is paid to circumstances when it is most appropriate not to specify gender at all. I would never intentionally misidentify someone else’s gender — but I unfortunately risk doing so until I learn that person’s pronouns. That’s why, as I begin a new school year, I am trying to initially refer to everyone as “they.”
 
In so doing, I am employing a “default rule” — a concept whose importance I have studied during my career as a law professor. A default rule fills in the gaps in a legal relationship, setting a condition that holds generally until a specific value is agreed on.... 
 

In the case of personal identity, I am drawn to default pronouns that don’t assume others’ gender. Instead of assuming someone’s gender identity based on how they look or dress or act, it is more appropriate to refer to them as “they” until I know better. And whenever possible, it is important to create early opportunities to learn their chosen pronouns, which has become standard practice in academic and other settings.

 

Starting with the inclusive default “they” is less likely to cause offense than using harmful stereotypes to guess at someone’s pronouns. In grade school, one of my children was advised to adopt a similar strategy to address female teachers as “Ms.” until the teacher said that they prefer “Miss” or “Mrs.” Non-identification is a much less costly default than misidentification.

 

Some people harp on how difficult it is to make this kind of linguistic change. But broadly adopting the singular “they” can actually reduce a speaker’s cognitive load. Years ago, my parents told me they liked “Ms.” because they no longer had to presume whether a woman was married or not. Calling people “they” by default similarly relieves the speaker of having to guess at someone’s gender. More importantly, it has the advantage of reducing gender-related assumptions that listeners might make. And it has the crucial benefit of more respectfully addressing people with nonbinary identities. Just as all-gender bathrooms make life easier for transgender people, using the singular “they” default, until told otherwise, affirms linguistic space in the classroom for people who do not exclusively identify as men or women.

September 16, 2021 in Education, Guest Bloggers, LGBT, Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

California Moves to Be First State to Outlaw Stealthing, or Removing Condom Without Consent

NYT, California Moves to Outlaw "Stealthing" or Removing Condom without Consent

The California State Legislature this week approved a measure that would make the state the first to outlaw stealthing, the act of removing a condom during sex without a partner’s consent.

 

The bill, which was approved unanimously on Tuesday, awaits the signature of Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, who has until Oct. 10 to sign it into law. A spokesman for the governor said his office did not comment on pending bills.

 

If approved, the measure would amend the state’s civil definition of sexual battery and make stealthing a civil offense, meaning victims could sue their assailants for damages.***

 

Ms. Garcia, a Democrat, said that she had tried to pass legislation criminalizing stealthing since 2017, when a Yale University study brought widespread attention to it. But she ran into considerable opposition.

 

The bill that was approved this week that would make stealthing a civil offense “is a good first step,” Ms. Garcia said. She said she hoped it would lay the groundwork to eventually add stealthing to the state’s criminal code.

 

A study published in the National Library of Medicine in 2019 reported that 12 percent of women said that they had been a victim of stealthing. Another study that year found that 10 percent of men admitted to removing their condom during intercourse without their partner’s consent.

 

Alexandra Brodsky, who wrote the 2017 Yale study and is the author of “Sexual Justice,” a book that addresses various forms of institutional response to sexual harassment and assault, said that the measure approved this week could bring “political and personal power” to victims. She said that it would remove any ambiguity surrounding stealthing — which tends to begin with the consensual act of sex — by defining it as illegal.

September 15, 2021 in Legislation, Reproductive Rights, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Originalist Case for an Abortion Middle Ground

Aaron Tang, The Originalist Case for an Abortion Middle Ground

Few originalist arguments are as important as the claim that, at the time of the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification, 27 of the 37 states in the union prohibited abortion at all points in pregnancy. The State of Mississippi and at least five of its amici advance this claim in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case that invites the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Many scholars have repeated it as well. To originalists, the takeaway is clear. If the public in most states in 1868 understood abortion to be prohibited throughout pregnancy, then present-day state bans on abortion after six weeks—or even earlier—cannot violate the Constitution’s original meaning. The 27- states claim is thus as forceful as it is arresting.

It is also wrong. This Article uncovers several historical errors on which the claim is founded. For example, the oft-repeated 27 figure includes states whose high courts interpreted the relevant abortion laws not to apply before quickening, or the first sign of fetal movement at roughly sixteen weeks of pregnancy. The 27 count also includes states whose abortion laws punished only particularly dangerous forms of abortion (e.g., via poison), while permitting safer procedures. Other mistakes abound. In one instance, pro-life originalists count a state as prohibiting abortion pre-quickening even though the relevant law was enacted after the Fourteenth Amendment.

After assessing the evidence, my best sense is that when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, just 15 of 37 states deemed abortion unlawful at all points in pregnancy. In the other 22 states, pregnant persons were free to obtain an abortion at any time before quickening. The public in most states would have thus understood most abortions—those performed before roughly sixteen weeks—to be perfectly lawful when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified.

To be sure, originalists are still correct that Roe’s viability line would have been unrecognizable to the public in 1868. But just as there’s a major difference between banning abortion after twenty-four weeks and banning it after sixteen, so too is there a big difference between banning abortion after sixteen weeks and banning it after six. Of the three positions, originalism is most consistent with the middle ground.

h/t Larry Solum

September 15, 2021 in Abortion, Constitutional, Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why Are So Many Young Men Giving Up on College?

The Atlantic, Colleges Have a Guy Problem: Why are so Many Young Men Giving Up on College?

American colleges and universities now enroll roughly six women for every four men. This is the largest female-male gender gap in the history of higher education, and it’s getting wider. Last year, U.S. colleges enrolled 1.5 million fewer students than five years ago, The Wall Street Journal recently reported. Men accounted for more than 70 percent of the decline.

 

The statistics are stunning. But education experts and historians aren’t remotely surprised. Women in the United States have earned more bachelor’s degrees than men every year since the mid-1980s—every year, in other words, that I’ve been alive. This particular gender gap hasn’t been breaking news for about 40 years. But the imbalance reveals a genuine shift in how men participate in education, the economy, and society. The world has changed dramatically, but the ideology of masculinity isn’t changing fast enough to keep up.

 

For decades, American women have been told that the path to independence and empowerment flows through school. Although they are still playing catch-up in the labor force, and leadership positions such as chief executive and senator are still dominated by men, women have barnstormed into colleges. That is the very definition of progress. In poorer countries, where women are broadly subjugated or otherwise lack access to regular schooling, girls enjoy no educational advantage whatsoever.

September 15, 2021 in Education, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

No Matter How Loud I Shout: Legal Writing as Gender Sidelining

No Matter How Loud I Shout: Legal Writing as Gender Sidelining

By: Leslie Culver

Published in: Journal of Legal Education, Volume 69, Number 1 (Autumn 2019)

In this essay, I argue that viewing legal writing as a mode of gender sidelining uncovers the urgency for law schools to provide unitary tenure for legal writing programs across all law schools. I recognize that many legal writing faculty are employed under ABA Standard 405(c),4 a seemingly second-best option to traditional tenure tracks. As Professor Kathy Stanchi comments, however, while Standard 405(c) offers some respite from “job insecurity, intellectual disparagement, and pay inequity,” it ultimately serves as an “institutionalized bar to professional advancement divorced from any reasonable measure of merit.” This essay takes Stanchi’s framing of 405(c) as an irrational categorical exclusion of tenure despite meritorious performance, and extends her reasoning as further evidence of gender sidelining.

Well-established research, from both the ABA and legal scholars, demonstrates the longstanding marginalization and inequitable status of legal writing faculty within the academy. As evidence of this inequity, there has been a rise in conversion of legal writing programs to tenure-track positions. And this rise toward parity is the only systemic gesture that can combat the gendered barrier of white males who dominate the legal academy.

. . .

I recognize that the inequality facing legal writing faculty is not novel. However, as this essay suggests, a gender sidelining framework demonstrates the need for a creative resolve that is bigger than any single community. To start, the legal writing community can take steps toward elevating our discipline by providing fundamental training for practitioners and adjuncts seeking to become full-time legal writing faculty.14 For example, prospective faculty need training on how to effectively deliver job talks that both elevate the discipline of legal writing and inform the traditional podium faculty as to the pedagogy and the interdisciplinary and integral foundations of legal writing across other first-year courses. Further, junior faculty would benefit from education on the need for and the value of professional development by way of conference participation, scholarship, and organizational participation in the legal writing community and more.

September 14, 2021 in Education, Gender, Law schools, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Black Women's Suffrage, the 19th Amendment, and the Duality of a Movement

Black Women's Suffrage, the 19th Amendment, and the Duality of a Movement

By: Danielle Conway

Forthcoming in: 13.1 Ala. C.R. & C.L. L. Rev. 1 (forthcoming 2022)

America is at an unprecedented time with self-determination for Black women, and this phase of the movement is reverberating throughout this nation and around the world. There is no confusion for those who identify as Black women that this movement is perpetual, dating back to the enslavement of Black people in America by act and by law. One need only look to the intersecting crises of 2020 to discern the reality of Black women’s — and by extension the Black community and by further extension individuals and groups marginalized, subordinated, and oppressed by white patriarchy — perpetual struggle for civil and human rights.

To appreciate the genealogy of this perpetual struggle for civil and human rights, it is instructive to look back on the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment and to be immersed in the stories and the legacies of Black women suffragists to gain insights about modern contestations against limiting the franchise. In the forming of this nation, Black women were intentionally excluded and erased from conceptions of humanity. This exclusion and erasure of Black women’s voices and contributions from the annals of social, political, and economic movements throughout history, such as abolitionist and women’s suffrage movements, tarnish the legitimacy of our democratic institutions, our laws, and our collective progress toward equality.

This article centers Black women’s lived experiences in the struggle for universal suffrage while also leading and supporting their communities in the fight against racial inequality and oppression. By making the sojourn through history using the lens of Black women, an opening is created to understand the perpetuation of racial injustice and oppression through the practices of withholding citizenship and the franchise. It also offers a window into the expertise and resilience of Black women in building and maintaining relationships, alliances, and coalitions to press for the larger vision of universal suffrage, even when their putative partners choose self-interest over the collective. The purpose of highlighting the duality of the movement is to contribute to the literature that seeks to reveal how Black women and their lived experiences with racism and oppression during the women’s suffrage movement up through and after the ratification of the 19th Amendment can inform today’s efforts at successful coalition building to support modern movements against injustice and inequality.

September 14, 2021 in Constitutional, Courts, Gender, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

As Seen through the Eye of the Camera: A Portrayal of How Cultural Changes, Societal Shifts, and the Fight for Gender Equality Transformed the Law of Divorce

As Seen through the Eye of the Camera: A Portrayal of How Cultural Changes, Societal Shifts, and the Fight for Gender Equality Transformed the Law of Divorce

By: Taylor Simpson-Wood

Published in: 42 Women's Rts. L. Rep. 1 (2020).

This article explores how changing societal forces and cultural mores have configured to mold the law of divorce from the turn of the Twentieth Century though the rise of no-fault divorce in 1970. It highlights that, irrespective of the varying, contemporaneous views of divorce of different eras, there is one common theme which runs beneath and unites the six decades, gender inequality. To illustrate this premise, it employs representative films for each covered time period to paint a picture of the cultural influences and forces that gave rise to that era’s perspective about divorce as it strove to make a better society.

Specifically, the essay traces the key components of film censorship implemented via the Hays Code in the 1930s and explores how divorce was transformed post-Code from being an anathema to an accepted, if not expected, part of mainstream American life. It also confronts the continuing myth that the 1950s constituted the golden age of the American family. The “ideal” family portrayed each evening on the television was not a documentary and, despite cinematic representations of life during the 1950s, the era was a time of great stress for both spouses. Husbands faced the specter of becoming an “organization man,” while many homemakers were suffering from “the problem that has no name.” The rise of new social mores is often a counter-reaction to those of the immediately preceding time period. This was certainly the case in the 1960s, when the rejection of the values of the 1950s led to a psychological shift resulting in the birth of a new “divorce culture” premised on the idea that when a spouse is unfulfilled due to an unsatisfying the marital relationship, divorce is not only justified, but paves the road to self-realization.

September 14, 2021 in Courts, Family, Gender, Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 13, 2021

Integrating National Violent Death Reporting System Data Into Maternal Mortality Review Committees

Jennifer M. Miller and Susan Rensing have published Integrating National Violent Death Reporting System Data into Maternal Mortality Review Committees in the Journal of Women's Health.  The abstract explains that: 

With the Maternal Mortality Review Information Application (MMRIA) data system, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alongside Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRCs), are developing comprehensive and uniform data collection to eradicate preventable maternal deaths. However, MMRIA is primarily focused on pregnancy-related deaths, and not pregnancy-associated deaths. Currently, the National Violent Death Reporting System Restricted Access Data (NVDRS-RAD) on pregnancy-associated homicides and suicides are not included in MMRIA and by extension the work of most MMRCs. This study examined the NVDRS-RAD data from 2014 to 2017 and argues that the data for pregnancy-associated maternal deaths should be integrated into the work of MMRCs. * * * 

Their findings indicate that: 

pregnancy and the postpartum period show increased risk for homicide and suicide. Pregnant women were found to be five times more likely to die by homicide than their nonpregnant peers who died by violent means. The relationships between periods of pregnancy and manner of death were all found to be significantly associated although the association was weak.

September 13, 2021 in Family, Pregnancy, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Black Queers in Everyday Life

Goldburn Maynard, Jr. has posted his recent work Black Queers in Everyday Life on SSRN. This publication is forthcoming in 30 Tulane J. Law & Sex 129 (2021). The abstract previews:

I am using my Black queer identity as a starting point to consider the weaknesses I see in everyday conceptions of intersectionality. Do those who have been educated in the principles of intersectionality and who mean well apply them in online and personal conversations? Recent experiences have shown me that there is a disconnect, wherein even those individuals who know better will double-down on reified, essentialist notions of blackness that exclude the concerns of Black women, queer individuals, and other Black intersectional identities. Zero-sum perspectives are valued over coalitional appeals.

Maynard urges readers to think more critically about applying authentic and holistic commitments to intersectionality. 

To what extent are we pushing our students and ourselves to interrogate their own privileges? More work needs to be done to figure this out, since stakes are so high. A lot of the potential interventions and solutions depend on what the reasons are for the resistance to intersectionality principles. A place to start is to explore some possible explanations for the phenomenon: (1) gaps in our teaching of intersectionality (e.g., not providing enough or the most illustrative examples); (2) a mismatch between the theory and some perceived reality that at times you do have to choose between identities (3) some resistance to theory in general because of its association with intellectuals and academia; (4) an almost inevitable reproduction of hierarchy that should be expected; and/or (5) real fears about the loosening of the Black coalition and its implications. I hope we move forward on this because microaggressions within minority communities are that much more painful and traumatic for the individual to recover from.

September 13, 2021 in Gender, Race, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)