Thursday, February 29, 2024
Study Shows that Equal Pay Act and Civil Rights Act Were More Successful than Previously Believed in Addressing the Gender Gap in Pay
Martha J. Bailey, Thomas Helgerman & Bryan Stuart, How the 1963 Equal Pay Act and 1964 Civil Rights Act Shaped the Gender Gap in Pay, IZA Discussion Paper No. 16700
In the 1960s, two landmark statutes—the Equal Pay and Civil Rights Acts—targeted the long-standing practice of employment discrimination against U.S. women. For the next 15 years, the gender gap in median earnings among full-time, full-year workers changed little, leading many scholars to conclude the legislation was ineffectual. This paper revisits this conclusion using two research designs, which leverage (1) cross-state variation in pre-existing state equal pay laws and (2) variation in the 1960 gender gap across occupation-industry-state-group cells to capture differences in the legislation's incidence. Both designs suggest that federal anti-discrimination legislation led to striking gains in women's relative wages, which were concentrated among below-median wage earners. These wage gains offset pre-existing labor-market forces which worked to depress women's relative pay growth, resulting in the apparent stability of the gender gap at the median and mean in the 1960s and 1970s. The data show little evidence of short-term changes in women's employment but suggest that firms reduced their hiring and promotion of women in the medium to long term. The historical record points to the key role of the Equal Pay Act in driving these changes.
Quote: "Yet a closer examination of long-term trends for a broader set of wage earners hints that federal anti-discrimination legislation mattered more than previously believed.
Belinda Smith, Respect@Work Amendments: A Positive Reframing of Australia’s Sexual Harassment Laws,
(2023) 36 Australian Journal of Labour Law 145
Australian law on sexual harassment has seen many changes in the past few years. This article outlines and analyses these changes in light of the findings of the inquiry that recommended them, Respect@Work: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces. The Report found that sexual harassment was pervasive, harmful and clearly not being addressed by the existing laws, which relied almost entirely on individual victims to lodge formal complaints and bear the burden of driving change. The legislative amendments serve to harmonise and improve individual protections across the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth), Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and work health and safety laws. The most significant change, though, is the introduction of a new duty on persons conducting a business or undertaking to take positive steps to prevent harassment and sex discrimination. While its deficiencies are acknowledged, this duty could play an important functional and symbolic role in shifting regulatory attention from victims to their employers and other duty holders, and more importantly, from redressing harm after the fact to preventing it in the first place.
A federal judge in Texas this week dealt a blow to a landmark piece of legislation protecting pregnant workers, ruling that there was no quorum in the U.S. House when the law passed, making it unenforceable.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, was part of a $1.7 trillion spending package that Congress passed in late 2022. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), first introduced the bill in 2012, and worked for more than a decade to get it passed.
“Texas: Won’t let you have an abortion but also won’t do anything to help you have a safe and healthy pregnancy,” Casey said in a statement to the Capital-Star on Wednesday. “This is Republican governance at its finest and downright insulting to women in Texas and beyond who want and need to continue working safely through pregnancy.”
Last February, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the Biden administration arguing that since members of Congress were allowed to vote by proxy for the spending package, there were not enough members physically present to form the quorum required in the Constitution.
Then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi regularly allowed House members to vote by proxy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Monday, February 26, 2024
Colleen Campbell has published Intersectionality Matters in Food and Drug Law in volume 95 of the University of Colorado Law Review. The abstract provides:
Feminist scholars critique food and drug law as a site of gender bias and regulatory neglect. The historical exclusion of women from clinical trials by the FDA prioritized male bodies as the object of clinical research and therapies. Likewise, the FDA’s prior restriction on access to contraceptive birth control illustrates how patriarchal and paternalistic attitudes within the Agency can harm women’s reproductive health. However, there is little analysis of how race and gender intersect in this domain.
This Article uses the regulation of skin-lightening cosmetics products to illustrate why and how intersectionality matters in food and drug law. While the inadequate regulation of cosmetics has a disparate impact on women’s health, it is women of color who predominantly use skin-lightening products, similar to some hair care products that are disproportionately marketed to women of color. Additionally, skin-lightening products are often toxic because they contain mercury and other harmful substances. The skin-lightening industry has also historically (and contemporarily) targeted women of color with racist and colorist advertising messages that idealize light skin as the pinnacle of beauty.
The inadequate regulation of cosmetics illustrates why intersectional analysis is essential in food and drug law. An intersectional lens uncovers the various underlying forces that produce a disparate health impact for women of color: systemic racism in health, racially targeted marketing, and hegemonic beauty norms shaped by race and skin color constructs. The increased toxicity of these products also overexposes women of color to more serious health risks from cosmetics. While cosmetics reform has ushered in new regulations that improve the Agency’s authority to regulate cosmetics, the health risks posed to women of color from toxic personal care products in general deserves urgent attention in food and drug discourses. Intersectional analysis uncovers the contours of this urgency and offers an important response to the de-prioritization of women of color within food and drug law discourses.
Supreme Court Amicus Brief Argues Brenda Andrew's Capital Murder Case Used Prejudicial "Sexualized Evidence"
A coalition of amici, including a former federal judge, Fair and Just Prosecution, 17 law professors, and 4 domestic violence researchers, have filed an amicus brief in support of Brenda Andrew's petition for cert. in her capital murder case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief challenges the weaponizing of gender bias as a jury persuasion tool: "The noxious effects of gender bias pack a powerful punch in the courtroom—and prosecutors know it. Some prosecutors, including those that tried Ms. Andrew, deliberately invoke gender bias, strategically emphasizing a woman’s departure from feminine ideals “to turn jurors against female defendants,” rather than meeting their burden of proof with actual evidence." The brief argues:
Brenda Andrew’s capital murder prosecution was tainted with irrelevant and prejudicial evidence that spoke not to her criminal culpability, but to her failure to comply with society’s gender-biased expectations about how women should and should not behave. Repeatedly, the prosecution elicited testimony designed to paint Ms. Andrew as a hypersexual seductress and an uncaring mother. The prosecution’s leitmotif of gender deviance was an implicit theme and an explicit exhortation at trial: because Ms. Andrew did not behave as a “virtuous” woman should, the jury should convict her and subject her to the harshest punishment possible. By the time the case was submitted to the jury, the prosecution had deflected the jury’s focus from an inquiry into Ms. Andrew’s guilt or innocence to a referendum on Ms. Andrew’s femininity and morality.
Ms. Andrew’s case is an exceptional example of the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office weaponizing gender bias to poison proceedings against a female defendant who had no prior criminal record, in a case that involved no allegation of torture or exceptional cruelty. This brief includes a portion of the trove of sexualizing evidence in Ms. Andrew’s trial, and presents scholarship demonstrating how prejudicial that evidence was. Until these prosecutorial tactics are eradicated from American courtrooms, “[j]ustice is likely to remain a lottery while so much depends on the woman’s fulfillment of society’s expectations.” [citation omitted] Amici urge this Court to grant Ms. Andrew’s petition for a writ of certiorari.
Mary Ziegler, Naomi Cahn, and Sonia Suter have published a commentary with MSNBC titled The Massive Legal Fallout from Alabama's IVF Ruling is Just the Beginning. The full published opinion from the Alabama Supreme Court can be accessed here. The Court held that "[t]he central question . . . is whether the Act contains an unwritten exception to that rule for extrauterine children -- that is, unborn children who are located outside of a biological uterus at the time they are killed. Under existing black-letter law, the answer to that question is no: the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act applies to all unborn children, regardless of their location."
Ziegler, Cahn, and Suter preview the problematic breadth of this holding. Here is an excerpt:
Friday, February 23, 2024
It looks like it is time again to reup this article I wrote over a decade ago disputing the use of women’s legal history to claim that nineteenth-century feminist pioneers like Elizabeth Cady Stanton advocated against abortion. Tracy Thomas, Misappropriating Women's History in the Law & Politics of Abortion, 36 Seattle L. Rev. 1 (2012). I also discuss the issue further in my book, Tracy Thomas, Elizabeth Cady Stanton & the Feminist Foundations of Family Law (NYU Press 2016). Post-Dobbs, anti-choice writers have once again resurrected the erroneous claim that Stanton, and other historical feminists like Victoria Woodhull, actively opposed abortion. Erika Bachiochi & Rachel Morrison, Dobbs, Equality and the Contested Meaning of Women's Rights (Texas Review of Law & Politics, forthcoming).
My conclusion as to Stanton was to the contrary. I found that a close look at the historical record shows that Stanton supported—not opposed—women’s right to engage in voluntary, enlightened motherhood by choice. And she opposed state regulation of women’s private decisions and autonomy. Stanton actually said very little about abortion at all, a handful of comments over fifty years, in contrast to her thousands of speeches, writings, and interviews advocating many other demands for women’s rights for social, political, family, and economic citizenship. Instead, Stanton merely used the public debate swirling around abortion triggered by the new criminalization of abortion in the late 1860s as an avenue to voice her other demands for women’s equality, enfranchisement, autonomy, and opportunity.
Wednesday, February 21, 2024
SCOTUS Denies Cert in Case About Whether Jurors Can Be Excluded for Religious Beliefs Against Lesbian Plaintiff
The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to consider whether potential jurors in an employment dispute involving a lesbian worker could be excluded because of their religious views on homosexuality.
The court rejected an appeal brought by Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, a Republican, in a case involving allegations of employment discrimination against the state’s Department of Corrections.
Conservative Justice Samuel Alito wrote a statement saying he agreed with the decision not to take up the case for technical legal reasons, but said that it raises important issues.
Jean Finney, an employee, sued the department, saying she was retaliated against by a colleague after she began a same-sex relationship with his former spouse.
During the jury selection process, Finney's lawyer asked potential jurors if they had traditional religious beliefs or had been brought up to believe that "people that are homosexuals shouldn't have the same rights as everyone else."
Based on previous Supreme Court decisions, lawyers are allowed to exclude potential jurors without stating a reason but are barred from doing so on the basis of race and gender.
The case largely focuses on two jurors who said they believed that homosexual activity was a sin. But, the state argues, the jurors also said they believed that homosexuals should have the same rights as everyone else. The judge ultimately excluded three jurors who said they had conservative Christian beliefs.
Jamie Abrams, Feminist Pedagogy in Legal Education, Oxford Handbook of Feminism & the Law in the U.S. (Deborah Brake, Martha Chamallas & Verna Williams, eds. 2023).
This chapter . . . traces and evaluates the influences of feminism in legal education. It explores how feminist critiques challenged the substance of legal rules, the methods of law teaching, and the culture of legal education. Following decades of advocacy, feminist pedagogical reforms have generated new fields, new courses, new laws, new leaders, and new feminist spaces. This chapter captures many reasons to celebrate the accomplishments of our feminist pioneers and champions. It also serves as a critical call to action to modern faculty, administrators, and students to carry the work forward with a vigilant purpose and determination.
New book from my co-editor on the Gender & Law Blog.
For more than fifty years, scholars have documented and critiqued the marginalizing effects of the Socratic teaching techniques that dominate law school classrooms. In spite of this, law school budgets, staffing models, and course requirements still center Socratic classrooms as the curricular core of legal education. In this clear-eyed book, law professor Jamie R. Abrams catalogs both the harms of the Socratic method and the deteriorating well-being of modern law students and lawyers, concluding that there is nothing to lose and so much to gain by reimagining Socratic teaching. Recognizing that these traditional classrooms are still necessary sites to fortify and catalyze other innovations and values in legal education, Inclusive Socratic Teaching provides concrete tips and strategies to dismantle the autocratic power and inequality that so often characterize these classrooms. A galvanizing call to action, this hands-on guide equips educators and administrators with an inclusive teaching model that reframes the Socratic classroom around teaching techniques that are student centered, skills centered, client centered, and community centered
Friday, February 9, 2024
Deborah L. Brake, Symposium: Gender, Health, and the Constitution--The New Gender Panic in Sport: Why State Laws Banning Transgender Athletes are Unconstitutional, 15 ConLawNOW 35 (2024).
This essay considers the role of sport in the new gender panic of legislative activity targeting transgender individuals, which now extends into health and family governance. Sport was one of the first settings—the gateway—to ignite the current culture war on transgender youth. This analysis examines how Title IX of the Education Act of 1972, the popular law responsible for the growth of opportunities for girls and women in sports, has been mobilized in service of a broader gender agenda. Far from providing a persuasive justification for the state laws banning transgender girls from girls’ sports, Title IX, properly understood, supports the case for transgender inclusion, not exclusion. Lacking a genuinely substantial connection to the preservation of girls’ and women’s athletic opportunities, state laws excluding transgender girls and women from sports violate the Equal Protection Clause. And these laws also have implications to health more generally and to other constitutional controversies.
Ohio AG Keeps Lawsuit Alive Defending 6 Week Abortion Ban Even After Voters Passed Constitutional Amendment for Reproductive Freedom
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost asked that the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas throw out a lawsuit that would eliminate the six-week abortion ban, just months after saying that said ban would be void if voters chose to legalize and protect access to abortion.
Now, Yost’s team is explaining that although the filing has no explicit mention of this, the AG only wants to fight for "other provisions" — and not the ban itself.***
The AG’s office filed a procedural document Friday that responds to all claims that were made by six-week ban challengers, including Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Ohio, and indicates arguments the office will make throughout the life of the lawsuit.
The response by the Attorney General’s Office is a common legal document that is required as part of the legal process, according to Case Western Reserve University constitutional law professor Jonathan Entin.
“The lawyer's job is to provide the strongest case with the strongest set of arguments available on behalf of the client's position,” Entin said. “The attorney general's client is the state.”
Tracy Thomas, University of Akron director of constitutional law, said it came as a surprise that the state attorney is continuing the lawsuit fight to try to save the law.
“Given the vote [on Issue 1], given the governor saying ‘we’re going to respect the vote,’ I think what was expected was not keeping this lawsuit going,” Thomas said.
Immediately after the abortion amendment passed, DeWine told News 5 that he did “certainly accept the results of Issue 1 in Ohio.””
But given the polarizing politics on the issue of abortion rights, Thomas said keeping the lawsuit going, if just to delay a ruling until more legislative decisions on reproductive rights can be made, could be one strategy at play.
“Laws and constitutions are only as good as the courts enforcing them,” she said.
Wednesday, January 31, 2024
“Four women presidents, all new in their roles, far too new to have shaped the culture on their campuses, called before Congress? Of course there’s a pattern,” Dr. Andrews said. “The question is, What’s the agenda? Is it to take down women leaders? To attack elite universities through a perceived vulnerability? To further a political purpose?”
Privately if not always publicly, other women in the academy described a similar reaction to the spectacle around the hearing on Dec. 5 and the fallout since: Ms. Magill and Dr. Gay resigned, their critics made it clear they were coming for Dr. Kornbluth, and last week, prominent male donors demanded the ouster of Cornell president Martha Pollack, too.
Are women more likely to end up in vulnerable positions? Social psychologists have proposed the idea of the “glass cliff” to describe the phenomenon of women who become leaders in times of crisis. In institutions not used to female leaders, they are seen as weaker. Subject to greater scrutiny, they tend to fail sooner.
“It’s not clear whether they’re selected because it’s a difficult time and people think women can make it better when things are bad, or if women are really set up, inadvertently or advertently,” said Madeline Heilman, an emerita professor at New York University who has conducted decades of experiments on sex bias in the workplace. Whatever the case, she said, “if they both start well and a man does poorly, people offer excuses and other reasons before they see it as indicative of what he’s like. For a woman, it fits into the stereotype of not being qualified. What is seen as a mistake for men is a lethal error for a woman.”
Decades of experiments show other ways that stereotypes disadvantage women. Men and women alike are too stingy when evaluating women and too generous when evaluating men, whether what’s being judged is their height or the strength of their C.V. Studies of millions of scientific papers find that those with women as lead author are far less likely to be cited than those led by men. Reports on the status of women on individual campuses and from national organizations document marginalization and persistent disrespect. Taken in isolation, such episodes can seem small, but they add up, leaving female professors earning less and taking longer to be promoted, irrespective of productivity. Fed up, many “senior” women leave.
Monday, January 29, 2024
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules that Prohibition of Medicaid Funding for Abortions Violates the State Equal Rights Amendment
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued its long-awaited decision ruling that prohibiting state Medicaid funds from funding abortion discriminates on the basis of sex in violation of the state's Equal Rights Amendment.
Thursday, January 18, 2024
Yvette Butler, In Pursuit of Collective Liberation in Feminist Constitutionalism, 122(6) Mich. Law Rev. ___ (April 2024, Forthcoming).
Julie Suk’s book, After Misogyny responds to the tension between present day misogyny and the overarching gains women have made in American society. She does this by explaining that misogyny is not merely about physical violence toward women or hatred of women. Instead, she reframes misogyny as societal over-entitlement to women’s labor and men’s over-empowerment in the eyes of the law. Over-entitlement stems from the substantial benefits individual men and society reap from women—including their reproductive labor—without just compensation. Over-empowerment is about the explicit legal enforcement of that entitlement. Suk explores over-entitlement through the legal claim of unjust enrichment to describe how men and society have benefitted from women’s labor. She then ends on a recommendation to use the Takings Clause to remedy use of women’s reproductive capacities without compensation.
Throughout the book, Suk uses a variety of stories to illustrate her concepts. As someone who writes about epistemology within the critical race theory tradition, in particular, I found this use of narrative particularly enjoyable. Narrative is a particularly important and powerful way to understand how constitutional theory and law are shaped. The goal of reframing narratives and reinterpreting a constitution is to transform the rights and duties between people and the state. According to Suk, such a transformation is necessary to remedy societal over-empowerment. The result of that transformation: misogyny collapses and becomes democracy. Only through this transformation do women become equal citizens.
While I enjoyed Suk’s book and these transformative goals, portions of it gave me pause. Suk’s suggestions fall short of the radical transformations required to truly advance Collective Liberatory goals. As discussed in Section III.B., Collective Liberation seeks to avoid viewing justice as a zero-sum game. Instead, Collective Liberation acknowledges the interconnectedness of struggles against subordination. In my view, it counsels striving for the best version of justice – one that is truly transformative and does not merely shift scraps of rights between groups through reformist reforms. This issue will be the focus of this Review. Suk’s work is helpful for articulating reforms, but her recommendations could go even further. She seems to fall into the same trap of proposing reformist reforms that have the potential to perpetuate, rather than help address, gender injustice.
Ultimately, I see Suk’s book as an important contribution because her concepts of over-entitlement and over-empowerment can easily be applied to other issues. I have already recommended her book to several people when I have noticed that an entitlement/empowerment framing may be useful to their analysis. While prospective readers should not glean too much hope from the title—misogyny and the patriarchy are still alive and well—Suk’s book provides important guidance as to what misogyny really is and how to address it more effectively.
Empirical Study of Appellate Patent Litigation Reveals Ongoing Racial and Gender Disparities of Lawyers
Paul Gugliuzza, Rachel Rebouche & Jordana Goodman, Inequality on Appeal: The Intersection of Race and Gender in Patent Litigation
Today, roughly 40% of lawyers are women, 15% are persons of color, and 8% are women of color. Yet people of color, and women of all races, rarely climb to the most elite levels of law practice. This article, based on an original, hand-coded dataset of the gender and race of thousands of lawyers and case outcomes, provides a stark illustration of on-going racial and gender disparities, focusing on the high-stakes world of appellate patent litigation.
All appeals in patent cases nationwide are heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, a court that is itself quite diverse: out of twelve active judges, five are women and four are persons of color, two of whom are women of color. But, out of 6,000-plus oral arguments presented to the Federal Circuit in patent cases from 2010 through 2019, a staggering 93% were delivered by white attorneys. Barely 2% were by Black or Hispanic/Latino attorneys. Adding in data about gender, white male attorneys alone argued 82% of patent cases during the decade we studied. Women of color, by contrast, argued fewer than 2%.
Crucially, those disparities bear no relation to attorney performance. Appellants in Federal Circuit patent cases win about a quarter of the time and appellees win about three-quarters of the time—with no correlation based on race, gender, or the intersection of the two. The one cohort of lawyers in our study that does win more frequently is a small group of lawyers at large law firms who argue Federal Circuit patent appeals more frequently than anyone else. That group of roughly 65 lawyers is, like our dataset overall, overwhelmingly white and male.
In general, our study tells a dispiriting story: despite increasing diversity among law students and lawyers, and no connection between a lawyer’s gender or race and case outcomes, a lack of diversity persists at the legal profession’s highest levels. However, we identify discrete areas of patent practice where women, people of color, and women of color are more visible—most notably, in representing the federal government (as opposed to private-sector clients) in patent appeals. Those findings provide a foundation for ideas to make the patent system, and high-level law practice generally, more diverse and inclusive.
Thursday, January 11, 2024
Marc Spindelman, Dobbs' Sex Equality Troubles, 32 William & Mary Bill of Rgst J. 117 (2023)
This article takes up what Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Org. may mean for sex equality rights beyond the abortion setting. It details how Dobbs lays the foundation for rolling back and even eliminating Fourteenth Amendment sex equality protections. The work scales these possibilities against a different dimension of the ruling that’s yet to receive the attention that it merits. An important footnote in Dobbs, Footnote 22, sketches a new history-and-tradition-based approach to unenumerated rights under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities Clause. The jurisprudence that this Footnote capacitates could transform the constitutional landscape via new economic and social rights that set the Court on a collision course with the Slaughter-House Cases. Dangers on the economic rights front include reviving Lochner and its political economic principles in new constitutional garb. Dangers on the social rights front, by contrast, include new constitutional family law rules written from the social-conservative right, overriding constitutional and positive law developments that, since the 1960s, have broadly managed family law from and toward the liberal to progressive left. In both these areas, the Court’s decisions would be capable of catching various sex equality protections in their snares. The future in relation to all these prospects may be set by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the swing-vote justice in Dobbs. So, this article attends to the determinants of Kavanaugh’s Dobbs concurrence, and thus Dobbs’ meaning. While matters could obviously get much worse for sex equality rights after Dobbs, Kavanaugh’s concurrence also offers some reason to hope that they won’t. Struggles for sex equality rights may be intensifying and entering distinctively perilous times. Their future, however, has yet to be determined, including by the Supreme Court
Tracy Thomas, Protecting Abortion with Health Care Freedom of Choice, 51 Journal Law, Medicine & Ethics 601 (2023)
With the Supreme Court overturning the fifty year federal constitutional right to abortion recognized in Roe v. Wade and reaffirmed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the question returns to state courts and legislatures. One potential avenue for future protection lies in state constitutional provisions. These issues are being litigated in court, and activists in several states have successfully put express constitutional amendments for abortion on the ballot. Concurrently with the previously-recognized federal right, fourteen states had recognized a right to abortion under state constitutional guarantees of equal protection, liberty, autonomy, and/or privacy. Post-Dobbs, there is renewed interest in utilizing these potential foundations for the abortion right under state-specific guarantees.
One possible avenue for recognizing a state constitutional right to choose an abortion may be found in rights to health care. Four states have express constitutional guarantees of freedom of choice in health care, and three states have recently proposed such amendments. Four other states have statutory provisions of health care freedom expressing policy that could be used to interpret constitutional rights of liberty to protect abortion. Courts in Ohio, Wyoming, and Montana have applied their health care freedom amendments to protect the liberty interest in choosing an abortion. These cases offer an example of how to protect abortion as a health care right.
Tuesday, January 9, 2024
SCOTUS Grants Cert in Case of Idaho Abortion Ban and Federal Requirement of Emergency Room Procedures
The Supreme Court said Friday it will review a case challenging Idaho’s strict abortion ban, which the Biden administration says conflicts with a federal law requiring emergency room doctors to perform the procedure in some circumstances.
Rangita de Silva de Alwis, A Rapidly Shifting Landscape: Why Digitized Violence is the Newest Category of Gender-Based Violence, SciencesPo L. Rev. (forthcoming)
This paper proposes that new research on technology-facilitated violence must shape lawmaking on gender-based violence against women. Given the AI revolution, including large language models (“LLMs”), and generative artificial intelligence, new technologies continue to create power disparities that help facilitate gender-based violence both online and offline. The paper argues that the veil of anonymity provided by the digital realm facilitates violence; and the automation capabilities offered by technology amplify the scope and impact of abusive behavior. Although the direct physical act of sexual violence is different in offline violence, there are similarities. Firstly, both acts share the structural gender and intersectional inequities that lie at the root of such conduct. Secondly, the defense that women and girls are free to exercise the option to leave an abusive online environment denies women’s and girls’ free exercise of rights to assembly and expression in the online public square. In the final analysis, although not all isolated acts of online violence meet a legal threshold, we need to see these acts as a part of a continuum of offline violence that call for new forms of discourse and a dynamic application of international women’s human rights norms into evolving categories of violence.