Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Book Review, The Feminist War on Crime: The Unexpected Role of Women's Liberation in Mass Incarceration

Aziza Ahmed, Recovering Feminist Lessons from the Past for a Less Carceral Future, JOTWELL, reviewing, Aya Gruber, The Feminist War on Crime: The Unexpected Role of Women’s Liberation in Mass Incarceration (2021).

In a moment when mass incarceration, police reform, and abolition are dominating national headlines, Aya Gruber’s book, The Feminist War on Crime: The Unexpected Role of Women’s Liberation in Mass Incarceration, takes on one of the most complicated questions of the politics of policing and incarceration: gender violence.  Her book provides a history of the uncomfortable relationship between the carceral state and feminist organizing to end violence against women. And, it offers a path forward that begins to address mistakes of the past by reigniting those modes of feminism focused on poverty, welfare, and race that were sidelined with the rise of what is now called “carceral feminism.”

 

Gruber begins her book by connecting the dots between the anti-sexual violence activism of the 19th century and today.  In doing so, Gruber centers the role of race in structuring how imaginaries of sexual exploitation and violence occur.  The voices of dominant groups (including white feminists) constructed the larger social narrative of sexual violence. Their ideas of sexual exploitation were shaped by the racialized ideas undergirding the political economy of the time, including the anti-immigrant sentiments of Chinese exclusion and the racist ideologies wrapped into slavery.***

 

Understanding our contemporary moment, and the choices activists are making in calling for criminal justice reforms, requires a sense of the past: the decisions that have come to shape contemporary anti-sexual violence organizing and what feminists could have done better.  As Gruber powerfully shows, to find a path forward we cannot simply rely on the dominant feminist visions of prior moments, which often were mired in a racial and carceral feminist politics.   Instead, advocates should unearth the dissenting feminist voices that long argued that it was possible to have a world free of sexual violence and without the cruelty of the carceral state

April 20, 2022 in Books, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Book, Why Women in the Judiciary Really Matter

Sally Kenney, Book, Gender and Justice: Why Women in the Judiciary Really Matter 

[T]his book explores different questions in different North American and European geographical jurisdictions and courts, demonstrating the value of a gender analysis of courts, judges, law, institutions, organizations, and, ultimately, politics. Gender and Justice argues empirically for both more women and more feminists on the bench, while demonstrating that achieving these two aims are independent projects.

"In this impressive work of seminal scholarship, Professor Kenney documents and articulates a persuasive case for the value a gender analysis of legal systems and decisions, as well as there needing more politically and judicially astute women appointed to the bench. – Library Bookwatch, Midwest Book Review

March 23, 2022 in Books, Courts, Judges, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Introduction to New Book, The Oxford Handbook of Feminism and Law in the U.S.

Deborah Brake, Martha Chamallas & Verna Williams, Introduction to Oxford Handbook of Feminism and Law in the U.S., OXFORD HANDBOOK OF FEMINISM AND LAW IN THE U.S. (Deborah L. Brake, Martha Chamallas, & Verna L. Williams, eds) (Oxford University Press, 2022 Forthcoming)

Combining analyses of feminist legal theory, legal doctrine and feminist social movements, this Handbook offers a comprehensive overview of U.S. legal feminism. Contributions by leading feminist thinkers trace the impacts of legal feminism on legal claims and defenses and demonstrate how feminism has altered and transformed understandings of basic legal concepts, from sexual harassment and gender equity in sports to new conceptions of consent and motherhood. It connects legal feminism to adjacent intellectual discourses, such as masculinities theory and queer theory, and scrutinizes criticisms and backlash to feminism from all sides of the political spectrum. Its examination of the prominent brands of feminist legal theory shows the links and divergences among feminist scholars, highlighting the continued relevance of established theories (liberal, dominance and relational feminism) and the increased importance of new intersectional, sex-positive, and postmodern approaches.

Unique in its triple focus on theory, doctrine, and social movements, the Handbook recounts the history of activist struggles to pass the Equal Right Amendment, the Anti-Rape and Battered Movements of the 1970s, the contemporary movements for reproductive justice and against campus sexual assault as well as the #MeToo movement. The emphasis on theory and feminist practice animates discussions of feminist legal pedagogy and feminist influences on judges and judicial decision making. Chapters on emerging areas of law ripe for feminist analysis explore foundational subjects like contracts, tax, and tort law and imagine feminist and social justice approaches to digital privacy and intellectual property law, environmental law, and immigration law.

February 17, 2022 in Books, Legal History, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Book: "Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley" -- the First Black Woman Appointed to the Federal Judiciary

New Book, Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality

The first major biography of one of our most influential judges—an activist lawyer who became the first Black woman appointed to the federal judiciarythat provides an eye-opening account of the twin struggles for gender equality and civil rights in the 20th Century.

“A must read for anyone who dares to believe that equal justice under the law is possible and is in search of a model for how to make it a reality.” —Anita Hill

Born to an aspirational blue-collar family during the Great Depression, Constance Baker Motley was expected to find herself a good career as a hair dresser. Instead, she became the first black woman to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court, the first of ten she would eventually argue. The only black woman member in the legal team at the NAACP's Inc. Fund at the time, she defended Martin Luther King in Birmingham, helped to argue in Brown vs. The Board of Education, and played a critical role in vanquishing Jim Crow laws throughout the South. She was the first black woman elected to the state Senate in New York, the first woman elected Manhattan Borough President, and the first black woman appointed to the federal judiciary.
    
Civil Rights Queen captures the story of a remarkable American life, a figure who remade law and inspired the imaginations of African Americans across the country. Burnished with an extraordinary wealth of research, award-winning, esteemed Civil Rights and legal historian and dean of the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, Tomiko Brown-Nagin brings Motley to life in these pages. Brown-Nagin compels us to ponder some of our most timeless and urgent questions--how do the historically marginalized access the corridors of power? What is the price of the ticket? How does access to power shape individuals committed to social justice? In Civil Rights Queen, she dramatically fills out the picture of some of the most profound judicial and societal change made in twentieth-century America.

February 17, 2022 in Books, Courts, Judges, Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The Strict Scrutiny Team and "A Podcast of One's Own"

 

Leah Litman, Melissa Murray, and Katherine Shaw, A Podcast of One's Own, 28 Mich. J. Gender & L. 51 (2021).

In this short Essay, we discuss the lack of racial and gender diversity on and around the Supreme Court. As we note, the ranks of the Court’s Justices and its clerks historically have been dominated by white men. But this homogeneity is not limited to the Court’s members or its clerks. As we explain, much of the Court’s broader ecosystem suffers from this same lack of diversity. The advocates who argue before the Court are primarily white men; the experts cited in the Court’s opinions, as well as the experts on whom Court commentators rely in interpreting those opinions, are often white men; and the commentators who translate the Court’s work for the public are also largely white men. We suggest this lack of diversity has consequences both for the Court’s work and for the public’s understanding of the Court. We also identify some of the factors that contribute to the lack of diversity in the Court’s ecosystem, including unduly narrow conceptions of expertise and a rigid insistence on particular notions of neutrality. We also note and discuss our own modest efforts to disrupt these dynamics with Strict Scrutiny, our podcast about the Supreme Court and the legal culture that surrounds it. To be sure, a podcast, by itself, will not dismantle the institutional factors that we have identified in this Essay. Nevertheless, we maintain that our efforts to use the podcast as a platform for surfacing these institutional dynamics, while simultaneously cultivating a more diverse cadre of Supreme Court experts and commentators, is a step in the right direction.

With the title derived from British feminist writer Virginia Woolf's famous essay, A Room of One's Own (1929).

All I could do was to offer you an opinion upon one minor point--a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction; and that, as you will see, leaves the great problem of the true nature of woman and the true nature of fiction unsolved.

January 26, 2022 in Books, Constitutional, SCOTUS, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

New Book: Intimate States--Gender, Sexuality, and Governance in Modern US History

From Larry Solum, at the Legal Theory Blog:

The Legal Theory Bookworm recommends Intimate States: Gender, Sexuality, and Governance in Modern US History, edited by by Margot Canaday, Nancy F. Cott, & Robert O. Self.  Here is a description:

Fourteen essays examine the unexpected relationships between government power and intimate life in the last 150 years of United States history.
 
The last few decades have seen a surge of historical scholarship that analyzes state power and expands our understanding of governmental authority and the ways we experience it. At the same time, studies of the history of intimate life—marriage, sexuality, child-rearing, and family—also have blossomed. Yet these two literatures have not been considered together in a sustained way. This book, edited and introduced by three preeminent American historians, aims to close this gap, offering powerful analyses of the relationship between state power and intimate experience in the United States from the Civil War to the present.

The fourteen essays that make up Intimate States argue that “intimate governance”—the binding of private daily experience to the apparatus of the state—should be central to our understanding of modern American history. Our personal experiences have been controlled and arranged by the state in ways we often don’t even see, the authors and editors argue; correspondingly, contemporary government has been profoundly shaped by its approaches and responses to the contours of intimate life, and its power has become so deeply embedded into daily social life that it is largely indistinguishable from society itself. Intimate States makes a persuasive case that the state is always with us, even in our most seemingly private moments.

And from the reviews:

Intimate States is a stunning achievement, challenging conventional thinking that sharply divides public from private; sex and gender from politics; identity from material concerns. In its breadth and depth, originality, and cohesiveness, Intimate States also manages to avoid the usual pitfalls of edited volumes; while far-ranging, it offers a single and coherent argument of profound importance.”― Deborah Dinner, Emory University
 
 
The Table of Contents:
 
1: Reconstructing Belonging: The Thirteenth Amendment at Work in the World, Stephanie McCurry
2: The Comstock Apparatus, Jeffrey Escoffier, Whitney Strub, and Jeffrey Patrick Colgan
3: Morals, Sex, Crime, and the Legal Origins of Modern American Social Police, William J. Novak
4: The Commerce (Clause) in Sex in the Life of Lucille de Saint-André, Grace Peña Delgado
5: “Facts Which Might Be Embarrassing”: Illegitimacy, Vital Registration, and State Knowledge, Susan J. Pearson
6: Race, the Construction of Dangerous Sexualities, and Juvenile Justice, Tera Eva Agyepong
7: Eugenic Sterilization as a Welfare Policy, Molly Ladd-Taylor
8: “Land of the White Hunter”: Legal Liberalism and the Shifting Racial Ground of Morals Enforcement, Anne Gray Fischer
9: Sex Panic, Psychiatry, and the Expansion of the Carceral State, Regina Kunzel
10: The Fall of Walter Jenkins and the Hidden History of the Lavender Scare, Timothy Stewart-Winter
11: The State of Illegitimacy after the Rights Revolution, Serena Mayeri
12: What Happened to the Functional Family? Defining and Defending Alternative Households Before and Beyond Same-Sex Marriage, Stephen Vider
13: Abortion and the State after Roe, Johanna Schoen
14: The Work That Sex Does, Paisley Currah

 

December 22, 2021 in Books, Constitutional, Legal History, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 20, 2021

Q&A with Editor of Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Property Opinions

Eloisa C. Rodriguez-Dod has compiled an edited volume of Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Property Opinions. This volume continues the tremendous momentum begun by the Feminist Judgments Project. Describing the book in a Q&A, Rodriguez-Dod explains: 

This book answers the question of whether feminist perspectives and methods could change the shape of property law. A group of diverse property law scholars rewrote significant fundamental property law cases from a feminist perspective. The rewritten cases cover a broad range of property law topics, including landlord-tenant, patents, zoning, publicity rights, land titles, concurrent ownership, and takings. This book demonstrates how rewritten opinions from a feminist perspective could have made property law more just and equitable for women and marginalized groups. It also shows how property law is not neutral, but rather shaped by the society that produces it and the judges who apply it.

This volume of the feminist judgments project is likely of interest to judges, scholars, and students interested in the development of property law. The larger goals of the global project are described as: 

The United States Feminist Judgments Project is part of a global collaboration of hundreds of feminist law professors who reimagine and rewrite key judicial decisions from a feminist perspective. The touchstone of the project is that the rewritten opinions must use the facts and precedent of the original opinion, but bring to the process of judging a feminist perspective that takes into account race, class, gender, disability and other status groups historically marginalized by the law. In this way, the Project seeks to show that United States jurisprudence is not objective or neutral, but rather deeply influenced by the perspectives of those who are appointed to interpret it. As a consequence, the Project also shows that previously accepted judicial outcomes were neither necessary nor inevitable, and that feminist judges could have changed the course of American jurisprudence.

December 20, 2021 in Books, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 16, 2021

The Long History of Feminist Legal Theory

I just published The Long History of Feminist Legal Theory in the online edition of The Oxford Handbook of Feminism and Law in the United States (Deborah Brake, Martha Chamallas & Verna Williams eds. Nov. 2021).

The conventional idea is that feminist legal theory began in the 1970s, in the second-wave feminist movement. However, the foundations of feminist legal theory were first conceptualized much earlier, in 1848, and developed over the next century and a half through distinct periods of thought. That development began with the establishment of the core theoretical precepts of gender and equality grounded in the comprehensive philosophy of the nineteenth-century’s first women’s rights movement ignited at Seneca Falls. Feminist legal theory was popularized and advanced by the political activism of the women’s suffrage movement, even as suffragists limited the feminist consensus to one based on women’s maternalism. Progressive feminism then expanded the theoretical framework of feminist theory in the early twentieth century, encapsulating ideas of global peace, market work, and sex rights of birth control. In the modern era, legal feminists gravitated back to pragmatic and concrete ideas of formal equality and the associated legalisms of equal rights and equal protection. Yet through each of these periods, the two common imperatives were to place women at the center of analysis and to recognize law as a fundamental agent of change.

An earlier (non-paywall) version is available here: The Long History of Feminist Legal Theory (SSRN).  

December 16, 2021 in Books, Legal History, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Podcast Unsung History, Suffragist Mabel Ping-Hua Lee

Unsung History: Mabel Ping-Hua Lee

Cover for Unsung History

Mabel Ping-Hua Lee was born in China in 1896 but lived most of her life in the United States, where, due to the Chinese Exclusion Act, she had no path to naturalization until the law changed in 1943. Even though it would not benefit her for decades, Mabel Lee worked for women’s suffrage, leading the New York City Suffrage Parade on horseback at the age of only 16. Lee was the first Chinese woman to earn a PhD in Economics in the United States, graduating from Columbia University in 1921 with a dissertation entitled: “The Economic History of China: With Special Reference to Agriculture,” and then spent her life helping the Chinese community in New York City through her work with as director of the First Chinese Baptist Church of New York City. 

Joining me to help us learn more about Mabel Lee is Dr. Cathleen Cahill, Associate Professor of History at Pennsylvania State University and author of the 2020 book Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement.

December 15, 2021 in Books, Legal History, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

New Book Gendered Citizenship on the Gap Years of the Equal Rights Amendment, 1920-1963

From Legal Theory Blog (Larry Solum): Highly Recommended

Legal Theory Bookworm: "Gendered Citizenship" by DeWolf

The Legal Theory Bookworm recommends Gendered Citizenship: The Original Conflict over the Equal Rights Amendment, 1920–1963 by Rebecca DeWolf.  Here is a description:

By engaging deeply with American legal and political history as well as the increasingly rich material on gender history, Gendered Citizenship illuminates the ideological contours of the original struggle over the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) from 1920 to 1963. As the first comprehensive, full-length history of that struggle, this study grapples not only with the battle over women’s constitutional status but also with the more than forty-year mission to articulate the boundaries of what it means to be an American citizen.

Through an examination of an array of primary source materials, Gendered Citizenship contends that the original ERA conflict is best understood as the terrain that allowed Americans to reconceptualize citizenship to correspond with women’s changing status after the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment.

Finally, Rebecca DeWolf considers the struggle over the ERA in a new light: focusing not on the familiar theme of why the ERA failed to gain enactment, but on how the debates transcended traditional liberal versus conservative disputes in early to mid-twentieth-century America. The conflict, DeWolf reveals, ultimately became the defining narrative for the changing nature of American citizenship in the era.

November 17, 2021 in Books, Constitutional | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Book "Why Don't Women Rule the World?"

Book, Why Don't Women Rule the World?

Why Don't Women Rule the World?

Why Don't Women Rule the World?: Understanding Women's Civic and Political Choices

FIRST EDITION

 “[Why Don’t Women Rule the World?] is unlike other texts in its comparative approach and strong theoretical underpinnings. It has interesting pedagogical features that will resonate with comparative scholars, Americanists and those who integrate public policy analysis into the course.”
—Rebecca E. Deen, University of Texas at Arlington  

Why don’t women have more influence over the way the world is structured?  

Written by four leaders within the national and international academic caucuses on women and politics, Why Don't Women Rule the World? helps students to understand how the underrepresentation of women manifests within politics, and the impact this has on policy. Grounded in theory with practical, job-related activities, the book offers a thorough introduction to the study of women and politics, and will bolster students’ political interests, ambitions, and efficacy.  

Key Features: 

  • A comparative perspective expands students’ awareness of their own intersectional identities and the varying effects of patriarchy on women worldwide.  
  • A variety of policy areas highlighted throughout the book illustrates how different theories are applied to real-world situations.            
  • Multiple political engagement activities keep students engaged with the content.

November 10, 2021 in Books, Education, Legislation, Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Book Review Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement

Ann Tweedy, Book Review, Uncovering the Little-Known History of Suffragists of Color, JOTWELL, reviewing Cathleen D. Cahill, Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement (2020).

Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement is an essential read for anyone interested in women’s history, the history of voting rights in the United States, Indigenous history, or the history of other under-represented groups. Cathleen D. Cahill brings to light the little-known contributions of Native, African-American, Asian, and Latina women to the struggle for voting rights in America. Cahill combed multitudinous sources to paint robust portraits of these women, including Native activists Laura Cornelius Kellogg, Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin, and Zitkala-Ša, African-American voting rights advocate Carrie Williams Clifford, Chinese-born activist Mabel Lee, and Latina activist Nina Otero-Warren, among others.

 

The book rightfully complicates the notion of women’s suffrage, revealing that a singular focus on women’s suffrage both obscures the larger struggles that these women were engaged in to secure the voting rights of all members of their communities and elides the contributions of these women to the suffrage movement. As Cahill explains, “[t]he suffrage histories of women of color bridge 1920, so to see that year as an end point leads us to tell a story that inevitably ignores them and truncates our understanding.” (P. 205.) Another invaluable aspect of this book is that Cahill refuses to shy away from the complexities of the important history she is unveiling. Thus, as readers, we are forced to reckon with the fact Native and Latina activists, for instance, sometimes drew distinctions between themselves and African-Americans to demonstrate the worthiness of their own communities for voting rights. More broadly, we are faced with the shameful history of exclusion within the women’s suffrage movement. White suffrage parade organizers, for instance, tried to relegate Ida B. Wells (then going by Mrs. Wells-Barnett) to the portion of the 1913 Washington D.C. suffrage parade reserved for African-Americans, rather than allowing her to march with the Illinois delegation as planned. As a consequence, she had to jump into the parade after it had already started in order to march with her fellow Illinois citizens. (P. 104.)

 

It is tempting to the think of the history of voting rights, like other histories, in linear terms, with African-American males getting the vote in 1870 upon the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment; white, African-American, and Latina women receiving the right to vote in 1919 with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment; and Native American men and women securing the right to vote via statute in 1924 (although many Native persons had obtained the right to vote prior to that).

 

Recasting the Vote shows that this progression was nowhere near so simple. Cahill, for example, reminds us that, post-1920, widespread lynching of African-Americans continued to be utilized to dissuade African-Americans from voting and that, as a consequence, activists like Carrie Williams Clifford organized campaigns for anti-lynching legislation. (P. 226.) Racist whites also prevented Native Americans from voting even after the Indian Citizenship Act was passed, with “States with large Native populations borrow[ing] heavily from . . . southern examples while also using Native people’s unique relationship to the federal government to keep them from voting.” (P. 261.) And although activists like Mabel Ping-Hua Lee fought for women’s suffrage in the United States, under the Chinese Exclusion Act, “the Chinese were the only people in the world whom the United States restricted due to their nationality and made ineligible for naturalized citizenship.” (P. 149.) Thus, until the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943, Chinese-born women could not become naturalized citizens and could not vote irrespective of the Nineteenth Amendment.

 

Cahill thus renders her history of suffragists of color in all of its undeniable complexity. As such, Recasting the Vote is bound to be an indispensable resource on the subject for decades to come.

October 13, 2021 in Books, Legal History, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Unequal Profession, Unleashed

Unequal Profession, Unleashed

By: Meera Deo

Published in: Rutgers Law Review, Vol. 73, No. 3, 2021

This Essay initiates the Rutgers Law Review symposium, "Taking Our Space: Women of Color and Antiracism in Legal Academia," a collection of essays inspired by my book, Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia (Stanford University Press, 2019). After briefly tracing the origins of the book project, I focus on five themes that outline responses as well as updates to Unequal Profession: (1) claiming my worth; (2) jumping on the bandwagon; (3) centering structural solutions; (4) being part of the solution—not the solution; and (5) understanding pandemic effects on legal academia. Together, these themes reveal the depth and difficulty of the work that the legal academy must take on in order to move our profession closer to equity.

The five themes presented here are insights I have gleaned along the way since Unequal Profession was published. Just as a qualitative researcher draws out patterns and observations from the data, I have performed some preliminary analyses on two-plus years’ worth of responses to Unequal Profession, as well as crafted a brief update on how various events of this past unfathomable year exacerbate raceXgender biases in legal academia. I share these observations so that aspiring authors, current academics, allies in practice, and administrative leaders can work together with me to craft a more equal profession. As the five themes outlined here demonstrate, achieving a more equal profession involves working not only to address naysayers, whose implicit and explicit biases may reinforce inequities, but also for each one of us to critically reflect on our own individual prejudices and opportunities for improvement.

October 12, 2021 in Books, Education, Gender, Law schools, Race, Scholarship, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

New Book and Reviews: Anita Hill's "Believing" Sees Sexual Harassment and Gender-Based Violence as a Cultural and Structural Problem That Hurts Everyone

Anita Hill, Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence

“An elegant, impassioned demand that America see gender-based violence as a cultural and structural problem that hurts everyone, not just victims and survivors… It’s at times downright virtuosic in the threads it weaves together.”—NPR

From the woman who gave the landmark testimony against Clarence Thomas as a sexual menace, a new manifesto about the origins and course of gender violence in our society; a combination of memoir, personal accounts, law, and social analysis, and a powerful call to arms from one of our most prominent and poised survivors.

In 1991, Anita Hill began something that’s still unfinished work. The issues of gender violence, touching on sex, race, age, and power, are as urgent today as they were when she first testified. Believing is a story of America’s three decades long reckoning with gender violence, one that offers insights into its roots, and paths to creating dialogue and substantive change. It is a call to action that offers guidance based on what this brave, committed fighter has learned from a lifetime of advocacy and her search for solutions to a problem that is still tearing America apart.

NYT Review, Anita Hill Has Some Perspective to Offer

Anita Hill still speaks in the measured tones she did while being questioned before an all-white, all-male panel before the Senate in 1991 — a young law professor in a blue linen suit who would give the nation an overnight education in workplace sexual harassment.

 

Thirty years later, she is more academic than activist, focusing on pathways to progress, and continuing to teach law as a professor of social policy, law and gender studies at Brandeis University.

 

But to be honest, Hill’s patience is waning. “I really am running out,” she said in a video interview from her home in Massachusetts earlier this month.

 

Her new book, “Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence,” due out on Tuesday from Viking, aims to channel that impatience into something more substantive — a manifesto of sorts.

NPR Review, "Believing" Is a Book Only Anita Hill Could have Written

Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence is not a book about Anita Hill. Yes, it has plenty of her personal stories and, yes, it references her role at the center of the Supreme Court hearing firestorm that first acquainted many Americans with the concept of "sexual harassment." ***

 

The book first attempts to show how massive problems like harassment and assault are affecting everyone from the smallest children to adults, from the lowest-wage workers to the highest-paid celebrities. Then, Hill shows both the effects of the problem — the ways it not only hurts individuals but hampers political change and economic growth — and the myriad barriers to solving it. To try to tackle something so complex, she says, feels like trying to "boil the ocean."

September 29, 2021 in Books, Equal Employment, Race, Violence Against Women, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Accidental Feminism: Gender parity and selective mobility among India's professional elite

Accidental Feminism: gender parity and selective mobility among India's professional elite

Preface to: Accidental feminism: Gender parity and selective mobility among India's professional elite

By Swethaa Ballakrishnen

Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2021.

In India, elite law firms offer a surprising oasis for women within a hostile, predominantly male industry. Less than 10 percent of the country’s lawyers are female, but women in the most prestigious firms are significantly represented both at entry and partnership. Elite workspaces are notorious for being unfriendly to new actors, so what allows for aberration in certain workspaces?

Drawing from observations and interviews with more than 130 elite professionals, Accidental Feminism examines how a range of underlying mechanisms—gendered socialization and essentialism, family structures and dynamics, and firm and regulatory histories—afford certain professionals egalitarian outcomes that are not available to their local and global peers. Juxtaposing findings on the legal profession with those on elite consulting firms, Swethaa Ballakrishnen reveals that parity arises not from a commitment to create feminist organizations, but from structural factors that incidentally come together to do gender differently. Simultaneously, their research offers notes of caution: while conditional convergence may create equality in ways that more targeted endeavors fail to achieve, “accidental” developments are hard to replicate, and are, in this case, buttressed by embedded inequalities. Ballakrishnen examines whether gender parity produced without institutional sanction should still be considered feminist.

In offering new ways to think about equality movements and outcomes, Accidental Feminism forces readers to critically consider the work of intention in progress narratives.

September 28, 2021 in Books, Gender, International, Women lawyers, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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)

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

New Book, The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century

Amia Srinivasan, The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century

Thrilling, sharp, and deeply humane, philosopher Amia Srinivasan's The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century upends the way we discuss—or avoid discussing—the problems and politics of sex.

How should we think about sex? It is a thing we have and also a thing we do; a supposedly private act laden with public meaning; a personal preference shaped by outside forces; a place where pleasure and ethics can pull wildly apart.

How should we talk about sex? Since #MeToo many have fixed on consent as the key framework for achieving sexual justice. Yet consent is a blunt tool. To grasp sex in all its complexityits deep ambivalences, its relationship to gender, class, race and powerwe need to move beyond yes and no, wanted and unwanted.

We do not know the future of sex—but perhaps we could imagine it. Amia Srinivasan’s stunning debut helps us do just that. She traces the meaning of sex in our world, animated by the hope of a different world. She reaches back into an older feminist tradition that was unafraid to think of sex as a political phenomenon. She discusses a range of fraught relationships—between discrimination and preference, pornography and freedom, rape and racial injustice, punishment and accountability, students and teachers, pleasure and power, capitalism and liberation.

The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century is a provocation and a promise, transforming many of our most urgent political debates and asking what it might mean to be free.

September 1, 2021 in Books, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 30, 2021

New Book: The Woman Behind the Supreme Court's Decision in West Coast Hotel v. Parrish

Helen Knowles, Making Minimum Wage: Elsie Parrish v. West Coast Hotel Company

The US Supreme Court’s 1937 decision in West Coast Hotel v. Parrish, upholding the constitutionality of Washington State’s minimum wage law for women, had monumental consequences for all American workers. It also marked a major shift in the Court’s response to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal agenda. In Making Minimum Wage, Helen J. Knowles tells the human story behind this historic case.

West Coast Hotel v. Parrish pitted a Washington State hotel against a chambermaid, Elsie Parrish, who claimed that she was owed the state’s minimum wage. The hotel argued that under the concept of “freedom of contract,” the US Constitution allowed it to pay its female workers whatever low wages they were willing to accept. Knowles unpacks the legal complexities of the case while telling the litigants’ stories. Drawing on archival and private materials, including the unpublished memoir of Elsie’s lawyer, C. B. Conner, Knowles exposes the profound courage and resolve of the former chambermaid. Her book reveals why Elsie—who, in her mid-thirties was already a grandmother—was fired from her job at the Cascadian Hotel in Wenatchee, and why she undertook the outsized risk of suing the hotel for back wages.

Minimum wage laws are “not an academic question or even a legal one,” Elinore Morehouse Herrick, the New York director of the National Labor Relations Board, said in 1936. Rather, they are “a human problem.” A pioneering analysis that illuminates the life stories behind West Coast Hotel v. Parrish as well as the case’s impact on local, state, and national levels, Making Minimum Wage vividly demonstrates the fundamental truth of Morehouse Herrick’s statement.

July 30, 2021 in Books, Equal Employment, Legal History, SCOTUS, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)