Wednesday, April 30, 2014

US Dept of Education Protects Transgender Students

So reads the article

The federal law that protects students from sex discrimination, Title IX, also protects transgender students, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights formalized in new guidance issued Tuesday.

In new guidance from education officials on the topic of sexual violence in schools, the Department of Education, for the first time, made clear its position that transgender discrimination in schools is included under what it considers as sex-based discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.


“Our federal civil rights laws demand that all students — women and men; gay and straight; transgender or not; citizens and foreign students — be allowed to learn and participate in all parts of college life without sexual assault and harassment limiting their opportunities,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights, in a statement. “The Office for Civil Rights stands ready to enforce this core principle to ensure all students’ safety in schools.”

April 30, 2014 in Education, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

eight years too late,....

....I feel embarrassed having never even known about this book, published in 2008, but it will definitely be on my summer reading list.  

Men of Blood

April 30, 2014 in Legal History, Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

India Supreme Court to Hear "Sodomy" Case

So begins the story

India’s Supreme Court has agreed to hear pleas against the controversial sodomy law that recently re-criminalized gay sex.

In July 2009, the Delhi High Court overturned a colonial-era ban on same-sex intercourse. Four years later, on Dec. 11, 2013, the country's Supreme Court reenacted Section 377 of India's Penal Code, which states, "whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine."


April 30, 2014 in International, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Anheuser-Bush Executive Sues for Sex Discrimination

Sex Discrimination Lawsuit Cites a "Frat Party"Atmosphere at A-B"

For two decades, [Francine] Katz was one of the brewer's staunchest defenders, and when she resigned in 2008 as its communications chief, she was among the company's highest ranking female executives. 


Now, Katz, who lives in Richmond Heights, is suing A-B and its parent company, A-B InBev, alleging the brewer discriminated against her based on her gender, in violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act.


In her lawsuit filed in Circuit Court in St. Louis in October 2009, Katz alleges that after was promoted in 2002 to vice president of communications and consumer affairs, her pay and bonus — $500,000 — was significantly less than that of John Jacob, a male colleague who previously held the position. Jacob is among those who may be called to testify.


By 2007, her pay and bonus was still 46 percent lower than Jacob's last full year of compensation before he retired, Katz alleges. She also alleges she received fewer stock options than every male employee on A-B's member strategy committee, which fluctuated between 15 to 20 members.


Katz also says that she and the only other female on the committee, Marlene Coulis, were the lowest paid committee members. Coulis, who was previously vice president of consumer strategy and innovation but no longer works at A-B, also is on the witness list and may be called to testify.


Katz complained about her compensation to her superiors in the years following her promotion, but only learned of the extent of the pay discrepancy in 2008 in a regulatory filing related to InBev's acquisition of A-B, she claims in her civil suit, which seeks back pay and punitive damages.


As part of her lawsuit, Katz also alleges the brewery encouraged a "frat party" and "locker room" atmosphere, excluded women from informal social networks and failed to give women assignments that would improve their career opportunities.

April 29, 2014 in Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Book Review: Presumed Incompetent

Maria Lopez (Loyola, New Orleans) and Kevin Johnson (Davis) have posted Presumed Incompetent: Important Lessons for University Leaders on the Professional Lives of Women Faculty of Color, Berkeley J. Gender, Law & Justice (forthcoming).

Academics have long known that the experiences of women faculty members of color differ in important respects from those of any other faculty members. Adding significantly to that body of knowledge, Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia edited by Professors Angela P. Harris and Carmen Gonzalez in a collection of essays of different voices offers important lessons for scholars, university administrators and leaders, faculty members, and, for that matter, students interested in the experiences of women of color in academia. People of good faith who want to “do the right thing” may find it difficult to read the unsettling stories and pleas for empathy, internalize the lessons as based on common occurrences rather than outlier experiences, and consider how to address and redress the issues. Still, we as a collective have the obligation and responsibility to think about what might be done to improve the day-to-day lives of the next generation of women faculty of color.


To that end, this review essay directs attention at one chapter of the volume, which offers invaluable commentary and perspective on the other chapters and provides many lessons for university leaders hoping to make a positive difference. This is terrain where one might expect two minority law school deans (and faculty members) to feel most comfortable. In addition, as people of color with real life experience with these issues, we hope to provide insights that help university leaders to better appreciate, grapple with, and attempt to effectively address the concerns of women faculty of color

April 29, 2014 in Books, Law schools, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

CFP: Transgender Equality in Institutions

From The Faculty Lounge:

AALS Section on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues: CFP

The 2015 AALS Panel of the Section on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues (SOGII) is “Transgender Equality: Prisons, Workplace, and Academic Institutions.” One speaker on this panel will be selected by a subcommittee of the SOGII Executive Committee. If you are interested in presenting on this panel, please submit a one page abstract describing the essence of your talk to Ellen S. Podgor, Chair of the Section on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues, [email protected]. The deadline for submission is June 1, 2014. Received abstracts will be acknowledged within seven days.

April 29, 2014 in Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Backstory of Abortion Informed Consent Laws

I have just published Back to the Future of Regulating Abortion in the First Term, 29 Wisconsin J. Law, Gender & Soc'y 47 (2014).  In this work, I draw on original research of oral histories and recovered documents to explore the historical and legal context that spawned informed consent laws so early after Roe v. Wade seemingly resolved the legal question over abortion.  

From the abstract:

This article contextualizes the recent aggressive anti-abortion legislation  by examining the backstory and historical context of two early U.S. Supreme Court cases challenging abortion regulation in the first term: City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, and Ohio v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health . Little has been written about these foundational cases. Yet at the time of the first Akron case, the Supreme Court’s decision was “celebrated as the most far-reaching victory on reproductive rights since Roe v. Wade.” Now the arguments, strategies, and motivations of the Akron cases have renewed relevance, as first-term regulations are fast tracked through the judicial system and placed at the center of the ongoing debate over abortion. ***


This legal history offers insights and analyses gleaned from a review of the historical record found in archives and long-forgotten files in dusty basements. It relies on interviews with key players in the cases to fill in the story between the black and white lines of judicial opinions.Revisiting the legal and factual details of the foundational cases of first-term abortion regulation offers a more nuanced understanding of the opposition to abortion and the unsatisfactory nature of the judicial compromises. 

April 29, 2014 in Abortion, Legal History, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 28, 2014

23 Ways Feminnists Have Made the World Better for Women

Hence reads the title of a blog post.  It is in part a critique of the Heritage Foundation's Panel on Women's History, which was hosted last month.  

23, ways, feminists, have, made, the, world, better, for, women,

April 28, 2014 in Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Japan's First Lady Joins LGBT Parade

On April 27, this news was reported: 

Japan’s first lady, Akie Abe, wife of conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, joined the festivities, standing on a float (pictured, below, in white) amid a sea of 3,000 marching participants.

Akie Abe, 51, known for her liberal inclinations, wrote on herFacebook page later that she has been involved in the issue since joining a commission set up by UNAIDS and the Lancet medical journal last year, reports AFP.

“I want to help build a society where anyone can conduct happy, enriched lives without facingdiscrimination,” she wrote. “I had the pleasure of spending fun time filled with smiles. Thank you.”

April 28, 2014 in International, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Women Lawyers and Judges Earn 82% of What Men Earn

From the ABA Journal, How Much Less do Women Lawyers and Judges Earn than Men?

Women lawyers and judges earn about 82 percent of what their male counterparts make, reports The Upshot, a New York Times blog.

The data comes from Claudia Goldin, a Harvard University labor economist. She wrote a paper, "A Grand Gender Convergence: Its Last Chapter" (PDF), which was published this month in the American Economic Review.


Women doctors and surgeons earn 71 percent what their male counterparts earn, according to Goldin’s research, and female accountants earn 76 percent of what male accountants make. Goldin maintains that workplace flexibility could help solve the problem.

“The gender gap in pay would be considerably reduced and might vanish altogether if firms did not have an incentive to disproportionately reward individuals who labored long hours and worked particular hours,” she wrote in the paper.

Looking for a profession with no gender differences in pay? Female human resources pecialists earn 100 percent of what their male counterparts earn, according to Goldin’s research, as do advertising salespeople and dental hygienists.

April 26, 2014 in Equal Employment, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (1)

Reverse Equal Pay Suit

British Men Win Equal-Pay Against University

A group of British men have won a sex-discrimination case against a university that paid them less than some of their female coworkers.

At issue was how much money the 18 men – carpenters, plumbers and caretakers – employed by the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, made compared with female colleagues on the same pay scale. The female workers included secretaries and office workers.

April 26, 2014 in Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Florida Recognizes Pregnancy Discrimination is Sex Discrimination

Florida Supreme Court Recognizes Anti-Discrimination Protection for Pregnant Workers

The 6-1 decision allows Peguy Delva to proceed with her lawsuit against her employer, real estate developer Continental Group. Delva alleged that her employer, real estate developer Continental Group, denied her extra shifts after she became pregnant and failed to reschedule her to work after maternity leave. A lower court dismissed Delva’s case, finding that the Florida Civil Rights Act did not extend to discrimination in employment on the basis of pregnancy. The Florida Supreme Court rejected that ruling, noting that the Florida law does provide protection against discrimination based on sex and that this protection extends to pregnancy.  The court cited similar rulings in Massachusetts and Minnesota.

The Florida decision puts Florida state law in line with the federal 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act – whose passage was championed by the National Organization for Women (NOW) and Eleanor Smeal, then-president of NOW. 

April 26, 2014 in Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Mecca of Golf Welcomes Women

St. Andrews

(photo of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club)

Golf, I've heard it said, began in Scotland.  And in Scotland, there is the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.  This Club is no mere club; it, along with the US Golf Association, creates the venerable Rules of Golf. The Club has also historically prohibited women from belonging to the club, even as honorary members.  

That might change, though:  

“Members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, the founding club of The R&A, will vote on a motion to admit women as members. The Club’s committees are strongly in favor of the rule change and are asking members to support it.”

What prompted the change of heart?  As usually the answer in such institutional matters, political pressure and fear of economic damage:  

...there was a golf game-changer last year, when the controversy over all-male clubs hit the sports pages as the British Open was held at another men-only member club, Muirfield. First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond refused to attend, declaring the male-only rule to be “indefensible in the 21st century.” Others thought so, too, as attendance at Muirfield dropped by 20,000 following Salmond’s personal boycott.

April 25, 2014 in Gender, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

health insurance for transgendered folk in Boston

The Boston City Council passed the following law on April 16: 

The City of Boston, to the extent permissible by federal and state law after this ordinance is in
force, shall not contract with any health insurance company that refuses to insure any person or  that discriminates in the amount of premium, policy fees, or rates charged for any policy or contract of insurance, or in the benefits payable thereunder, or in any of the terms or conditions of such contract, because of gender identity or expression.

And here was a preface to the law:  

Many transgender people have been diagnosed with a medical condition known as
Gender Dysphoria (GD), a well-recognized medical condition. In 2008, the
American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a resolution that recognizes
Gender Dysphoria as a “serious medical condition” which can result in severe
psychological impacts if untreated – including increased risk of suicide and death....


April 25, 2014 in Healthcare, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Academic Dads Don't Carry Their Share of Parenting Work

The Family Law Prof Blog posted Even in Academia, Dads Don't Do Diapers.  The assumption of this study was that if there was gender equality in parenting anywhere, it would be in academia where men have more flexible time at home.  But, no.

Most of the academics in our study said they believe that husbands and wives should share equally, but almost none did so.” To be precise, only three men out of 109 reported that they performed half the child-care work. One possible explanation, according to the father-and-son duo, is that women derive a higher enjoyment of many of the activities involved in the care of small children. The Rhoads asked the men and women to report their level of enjoyment in performing 25 different tasks—everything from playing with the baby to washing his clothes. On almost every count, women said they experienced a higher level of satisfaction. Steven Rhoads admits the discovery that mothers enjoy changing diapers was, to his own mind, the most surprising aspect of his findings. “It shows you gender roles go pretty deep,” he says.

Are you kidding me?!?  The conclusion is that we enjoy changing diapers!  Please.  The entrenched gender role is not that women enjoy such crappy duties.  (Ok, I couldn't resist.)  But that they are socially conditioned not to show dissatisfaction with mothering or towards their children under threat of the "bad mother" indictment.  

April 24, 2014 in Education, Family | Permalink | Comments (2)

Is Blogging Scholarship?

Is Blogging Scholarship?  The short answer  is no.  But...this article concludes it is incredibly important as  the venue of intellectual innovation and creativity, and thus should be valued "as an avenue of scholarship" even if different in kind from the classic tenure-type work. 

Much of the interesting innovation in blogging, though, comes from the rank of the untenured, the alt-ac, and the amateur enthusiasts. Discussions of whether blogging is scholarship shouldn’t make it seem like blogging is a scholarly indulgence.


Blogging may be more informal and have different structural demands and pressures to the peer-review model. But it’s providing some of the most interesting historical commentary out there right now, and with the right encouragement, it might start leading to some of the most original research, too.

April 24, 2014 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Today is Take Our Daughters to Work Day

Still my favorite article on the meaning of this day.  Lisa Belkin, What Does Take Your Child to Work Day Mean in 2012? 

When Ms. Magazine created "Take Our Daughters To Work Day" 20 years ago, it was a statement of how far girls had still to go. When the name was changed to "Take Our Sons And Daughter To Work Day" in 2003, it was a measure of how far girls had come.  And today, as 37 million kids visit 3.5 million workplaces across the country, it is a chance to reflect on where all our children are going next.

See also Take Our Daughters to Work Day--21 Years Later


April 24, 2014 in Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Do Professors Do All Day?

What Do Professors Do All Day?  Go to meetings.  

April 24, 2014 in Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Justice Sotomayor Gets It: Race Matters

From her dissent in Tuesday's decision in Schuette v. BAMNupholding Michigan’s state ban on race-conscious (and gender-conscious) admission decisions. (Citations omitted).

Race matters. Race matters in part because of the long history of racial minorities’ being denied access to the political process. And although we have made great strides, “voting discrimination still exists; no one doubts that.”


Race also matters because of persistent racial inequality in society—inequality that cannot be ignored and that has produced stark socioeconomic disparities.


And race matters for reasons that really are only skin deep, that cannot be discussed any other way, and that cannot be wished away. Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter the neighborhood where he grew up. Race matters to a young woman’s sense of self when she states her hometown, and then is pressed, “No, where are you really from?”, regardless of how many generations her family has been in the country. Race matters to a young person addressed by a stranger in a foreign language, which he does not understand because only English was spoken at home. Race matters because of the slights, the snickers, the silent judgments that reinforce that most crippling of thoughts: “I do not belong here.”


In my colleagues’ view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination. This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination. As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society. It is this view that works harm, by perpetuating the facile notion that what makes race matter is acknowledging the simple truth that race does matter.

April 23, 2014 in Education, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Justice Sotomayor on the Troubling Implications of Denying Full Restitution to Victims under VAWA

Justice Sotomayor’s dissent today in the case of Paroline v. U.S., is of note for its appreciation of the implications of the decision about the Violence Against Women's criminal restitution provision for crimes like the Steubenville rape.  In Paroline, the majority in a 5-4 decision overturned a criminal restitution award of $3.4million against a defendant who placed photos of child pornography on the Internet.  The majority would award restitution only proportionally for this defendant's relatively small share of the role in the offense, as the more complicit actors were the original perpeterator and pornography distributors and publishers.  Chief Justice Roberts in dissent would award no restitution because of the infirmities of the federal statute.  Only Sotomayor would uphold the entire restitution for the victim’s losses. 

 Here’s what she said, thinking through how this ruling is likely to apply in future cases:

THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s dissent also fails to contend with the ramifications of the suggestion that §3664(e) forecloses entry of restitution in cases where a victim suffers indivisible losses as a result of the aggregate conduct of numerous offenders. It claims that this reading of §3664(e) “will work just fine” for “common crimes” such as assault. Ante, at 5–6. But what about a victim of a vicious gang assault, where a single offender’s conduct cannot be labeled a but-for cause of any discrete injury? Such offenses are, unfortunately, all too common. See, e.g., Wheelock v. United States, 2013 WL 2318145, *2 (ED Wisc., May 28,2013) (defendant convicted for his participation in a gang rape of a 13-year-old victim in which he “and several other individuals had provided alcohol to the girl and, after she became intoxicated and unconscious, sexually assaulted her”); United States v. Homer B., 1990 WL 79705 (CA9, June 14, 1990) (similar). I would have thought it beyond refute that the victim of such a tragic offense would be entitled to restitution even though none of her losses may be attributed solely to any individual defendant. If the opinion of THE CHIEF JUSTICE is in agreement, it does not explain why the result should be any different for victims like Amy, who have suffered heart wrenching losses at the hands of thousands of offenders rather than a few.

April 23, 2014 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)