Monday, December 27, 2021

Hair Rules: Race, Gender, and Stigmatization in Schools

Patricia A. Banks has published Hair Rules: Race, Gender, and Stigmatization in Schools in Volume 25 of the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change. The abstract summarizes: 

As laws banning racial hair discrimination in schools are proposed across the United States, it is increasingly important to understand how grooming policies can stigmatize students. This essay engages social science theory and research on stigmatization and the case of Arnold v. Barbers Hill Independent School District to investigate the cultural constructions of male students who wear long locs. Drawing on content analysis of court documents around this Texas lawsuit involving two black male cousins who were disciplined in school because of refusing to cut their locs, I examine how school officials justified the school district’s hair rules through associating the defendants’ hairstyle with a range of stigmatizing attributes. The conclusion considers the potential for this court case, as well as hair discrimination legislation, to mitigate the stigmatization of boys who wear long locs, long braids, and long twists. I argue that to fully address the stigmatization of boys who wear these styles, laws and policies must be attentive to race as well as gender.

December 27, 2021 in Constitutional, Education, Gender, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 20, 2021

Legal Education's Curricular Tipping Point Toward Inclusive Socratic Teaching

As we design our Spring syllabi, I am excited to share my own recent publication that came out this month in volume 48 of the Hofstra Law Review titled, Legal Education's Curricular Tipping Point Toward Inclusive Socratic Teaching. The article draws heavily on the work of feminist and critical pedagogies. The abstracts explains: 

Two seismic curricular disruptions create a tipping point for legal education to reform and transform. COVID-19 abruptly disrupted the delivery of legal education. It aligned with a tectonic racial justice reckoning, as more professors and institutions reconsidered their content and classroom cultures, allying with faculty of color who had long confronted these issues actively. The frenzy of these dual disruptions starkly contrasts with the steady drumbeat of critical legal scholars advocating for decades to reduce hierarchies and inequalities in legal education pedagogy.

This context presents a tipping point supporting two pedagogical reforms that leverage this unique moment. First, it is time to abandon the presumptive reverence and implicit immunity given to problematic Socratic teaching despite the harms and inadequacies of such performances. Professor Kingsfield depicted an archetype of Socratic teaching where the professor wields power over students instead of wielding knowledge to empower students. He used strategic tools of humiliation, degradation, mockery, fear, and shame. Socratic performances that are professor-centered and power-centered do not merit the reverence and immunity they still receive after decades of sound critiques. This critique is framed as a call to “cancel Kingsfield.” Socratic teaching can (must) be performed inclusively. This Article proposes a set of shared Socratic values that are student-centered, skills-centered, client-centered, and community-centered.

Second, this Article proposes refining law school accreditation standards to ensure that students achieve learning outcomes equitably in inclusive classrooms. Accreditation reforms cannot happen around the architectural perimeter of legal education. Nor can reforms be implemented solely in episodic siloes by staff, external speakers, or even robust seminar courses. Rather, accreditation standards need to hold institutions accountable to measuring learning outcomes and addressing identified disparities and inadequacies in the curricular core of legal education.

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

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

AALS Women in Legal Education Section Programming at 2022 Annual Meeting

From the WILE Newsletter h/t Susan Bisom-Rapp and Victoria Haneman.

WILE ANNUAL MEETING SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE (virtual conference)

◆ Wednesday, January 5, 12:35 - 1:50 pm Eastern: AALS Awards Ceremony (the inaugural Deborah L. Rhode Award will be presented to Professors Stacy Butler and Wendy Greene)

◆ Wednesday, January 5, 2:00 - 3:00 pm Eastern: WILE Networking Session

◆ Wednesday, January 5, 3:10 - 4:25 pm Eastern: Open Source Program on the Impact of Deborah Rhode (planned by Section on WILE, the Section on Professional Responsibility, Section on Pro Bono, Section on Leadership)

◆ Wednesday, January 5, 4:45 pm - 6:00 pm Eastern: WILE Works-in-Progress: Other Voices in Feminist Legal Theory

◆ Thursday, January 6, 12:35 - 1:50 pm Eastern: WILE Primary Program - Equality, Intersectionality, and Status in the Legal Academy

◆ Thursday, January 6, 2:00 - 3:00 pm Eastern: WILE Award Ceremony (the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to LSAC Deputy for Legal and Global Higher Education Camille deJorna)

◆ Friday, January 7, 4:45 - 6:00 pm Eastern: Introducing and Supporting Intersectionality in Pedagogy

 

WILE kicks off the 2022 Annual Meeting at the AALS Awards Ceremony (Wednesday, January 5, 12:35 – 1:50 pm Eastern) during which the inaugural Deborah L. Rhode Award will be presented to Professors Stacy Butler (Arizona) and Wendy Greene (Drexel). The award, created by WILE and the Sections on Leadership, Professional Responsibility, and Pro Bono & Public Service, honors the contributions, service, and leadership of the late Deborah Rhode by recognizing new trailblazers in legal education and the legal profession. Professor Butler is being honored for founding and directing Innovation for Justice (i4J), a social justice-focused innovation lab. Professor Greene is being recognized for her scholarship, activism, and law reform work aimed at prohibiting race-based natural hair discrimination. I am grateful for the hard work of the award selection committee: Interim Dean Douglas Blaze (Tennessee), Professor Renee Knake Jefferson (Houston), Assistant Director Nadine Mompremier (Columbia), and Associate Dean Adrien Wing (Iowa).

Our second event is the WILE Section Networking Session (Wednesday, January 5, 2:00 – 3:00 pm Eastern), which will afford our members a chance to meet and learn in a more informal format. Thanks to WILE Secretary Victoria Haneman (Creighton) and Executive Committee member Milena Sterio (Cleveland-Marshall) for moderating that session. I encourage you all to attend this valuable session.

Following that session will be the Open Source Program – The Impact of Deborah Rhode (Wednesday, January 5, 3:10 – 4:25 pm Eastern) (Co-Sponsored by the Sections on Leadership, Professional Responsibility, Pro Bono & Public Service Opportunities, and WILE). A distinguished panel representing Deborah Rhode’s diverse interests has been assembled to reflect on her legacy and its impact on future projects and initiatives. The panelists are Professor Ben Barton (Tennessee), Dean Garry Jenkins (Minnesota), former Assistant Dean Tom Schoenherr (Fordham), and Associate Dean Adrien Wing (Iowa). Topics include Deborah Rhode’s impact on women and diversity in legal education, legal ethics, the imperative of pro bono within the legal academy and the profession, and leadership. Thanks to Lucy Ricca (Stanford), who is the Policy and Program Director at the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession, for expertly organizing and serving as moderator for the Open Source Program. Chair Elect Lisa Mazzie (Marquette) served on a multi-Section subcommittee, which selected the program’s speakers.

Our fourth program at the Annual Meeting is the WILE Works-in-Progress Session – Other Voices in Feminist Legal Theory (Wednesday, January 5, 4:45 – 6:00 pm Eastern). This program, based on a call for papers, focuses on the views of scholars whose work marks them as feminist legal theorists even if they have not traditionally been labeled as such. The scholars presenting work are: Noa Ben-Asher (Pace), Gender Identity, The New Legal Sex; Kim D. Ricardo (UIC), Comparative Study of Abortion Laws in Argentina and the United States; and Anna Offit (SMU), Benevolent Exclusion. Professor Bridget Crawford (Pace) is our discussant. The session moderator is Dean Lolita Buckner Inniss (Colorado). The session was organized by Dean Inniss (Colorado), Rachel Croskery-Roberts (UCI), Catherine Hardee (California Western), Fernanda Nicola (American), and Nancy Soonpaa (Texas Tech)

The following day, WILE hosts its primary program, Equality, Intersectionality, and Status in the Legal Academy (Thursday, January 6, 12:35 – 1:50 pm Eastern)(Co-Sponsored by the Section on Minority Groups, and the Section on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues). Based on a call for papers, this session will explore visible and invisible status distinctions in the legal academy, how people of color and women are affected by them, and whether various solutions can improve equality. Scholars presenting work are Angela Mae Kupenda (Mississippi College), Killing Me Softly with His Song, and Options toward Professing the Truth; Rachel Lopez (Drexel), Untitled: The Power of Designation in the Legal Academy; Shefali Milczarek-Desai & Sylvia Lett (Arizona), Flipping the Script: Two BIPOC Law Professors Embrace and Enunciate Difference to Further Equality in the Legal Academy; and Melissa Weresh (Drake), Hierarchy Maintained: Gender Inequity in the Legal Academy. As WILE Section Chair, Susan Bison-Rapp will moderate the session. The session was organized by WILE Chair Elect Lisa Mazzie (Marquette) along with Executive Committee members Naomi Cahn (Virginia), Rachel Croskery-Roberts (UCI), Rona Kaufman (Duquesne), Ashley London (Duquesne), Linda McClain (Boston), Nancy Soonpaa (Texas Tech), and Milena Sterio (Cleveland-Marshall).

Following immediately after the WILE primary program, the Section will host its Annual Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony (Thursday, January 6, 2:00 – 3:00 pm Eastern). Since 2013, WILE has given out a lifetime achievement award to an individual who has impacted women, the legal community, the academy, and the issues that affect women through mentoring, writing, speaking, activism, and providing opportunities to others. Our 2022 recipient is Camille deJorna, who serves as Deputy for Legal and Global Higher Education at the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). Before that post, she served in a top role in the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and oversaw the admissions and student affairs offices at several law schools, including Columbia, Hofstra, and the University of Iowa. She was selected by the WILE Executive Committee for her pathbreaking work on diversity and inclusion in the legal academy and profession. Special thanks to Dean Lolita Buckner Inniss (Colorado) for managing the nomination process and to Dean Tamara Lawson (St. Thomas) for providing the beautiful plaque for the occasion.


The Section’s seventh and final program is a session on pedagogy titled Introducing and Supporting Intersectionality in Pedagogy (Friday, January 7, 4:45 – 6:00 pm Eastern). Discussions related to gender, race, class, sexual orientation, age, immigration, and/or disability visibly shape the law and richly impact classroom outcomes. The goal of this session is to consider new pedagogical tools and ideas both for incorporating intersectional feminism into the law school classroom, and for exploring these ideas with faculty colleagues who may be resistant. Speakers include Jamie Abrams (Louisville), Bridget
Crawford (Pace), Teri McMurtry-Chubb (John Marshall), and Kathryn Stanchi (UNLV). Serving as commentators are Dean Angela Onwuachi-Willig (Boston) and Dean Sean Scott (California Western). WILE Secretary Victoria Haneman (Creighton) will moderate. Assisting Victoria Haneman (Creighton) in organizing the session were Executive Committee members Jill Engle (Penn State Law), Catherine Hardee (California Western), Fernanda Nicola (American), and Kerri Stone (Florida International).

 

December 15, 2021 in Conferences, Education, Law schools, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Florida law school creates Ben Crump social justice center with goal of increasing racial and gender diversity in the profession

Florida law school creates Ben Crump social justice center

A South Florida law school on Thursday announced the creation of a social justice center named after Ben Crump, the Black civil rights attorney who has gained national prominence representing victims of police brutality and vigilante violence.

The Benjamin L. Crump Center for Social Justice, housed at the St. Thomas University College of Law in Miami Gardens, aims to nurture the next generation of civil rights lawyers while also pushing more racial and gender diversity in the legal profession, school officials told The Associated Press ahead of the announcement.

. . .

As a past president of the National Bar Association, the largest network of predominantly Black attorneys and judges, Crump said civil rights and social justice lawyering isn't seen as a lucrative area of practice for aspiring attorneys. He said he hopes that lending his name to the center inspires law school students to consider social justice as a worthy, career-long pursuit.

December 7, 2021 in Education, Gender, Law schools, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Veterans Day from a Gender & Law Perspective: Equality, Discrimination, Preferences, Family, Health, Assault, and the Draft

Here is an overview of some of the scholarship and current legal movements regarding gender, veterans, and the miltiary:

The Supreme Court's classic case upholding veterans' preferences despite their disparate impact against women. Personnel Administrator of Massachusetts v. Feeney, 442 U.S. 256 (1979).

United States v. Virginia (VMI), 518 U.S. 515 (1996) (Ginsburg, J.) (requiring state male-only military college to admit women equally to VMI)

US v. Briggs,  592 U.S. ___ (Dec. 10, 2020) (holding that military rape cases have no statute of limitations)

Gender & the Law Prof BlogSCOTUS Refuses to Hear Challenge to Male-Only Draft but 3 Justices Dissent (June 15, 2021)

Gender & the Law Prof Blog, Federal Judge Holds Male-Only Military Draft Violates Equal Protection (Feb. 26, 2019)

Gender & the Law Prof Blog, 9th Circuit Hears Challenge to Men Only Draft

Gender & the Law Prof Blog, Senate Overwhelming Votes to Require Women to Register for Draft (2016)

Gender & the Law Prof Blog, Justice Ginsburg's Legacy and the Draft Case

EEOC, Policy Guidance on Veterans' Preferences Under Title VII

Jamie Abrams, editor at the Gender & Law Prof blog, Examining Entrenched Masculinities Within the Republican Government Tradition,  114 West Va. L. Rev. (2011). 

Jamie Abrams & Nickole Durbin, Citizen Soldiers and the Foundational Fusion of Masculinity, Citizenship, and Military Service, 11 ConLawNOW 93 (2021). 

Jill Hasday, Fighting Women: The Military, Sex, and Extrajudicial Constitutional Change, 93 Minnesota L.Rev. 1 (2008).

Melissa Murray, Made With Men in Mind: The GI Bill and the Reinforcement of Gendered Work After World War II, in Feminist Legal History (Tracy Thomas & Tracey Jean Boisseau eds. 2012).

Congress' Deborah Sampson Act Signed Into Law (2021):  to improve the benefits and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to women veterans, and for other purposes.

H.R. 2982, Women Veterans Health Care Accountability Act: To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct a study of the barriers for women veterans to health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Gender & the Law Prof Blog, How to Reduce Discrimination in Veterans' Preferences Laws, featuring Craig Westergard, Questioning the Sacrosanct: How to Reduce Discrimination and Inefficiency in Veterans' Preference Law, 19 Seattle Journal for Social Justice 39 (2020)

Gender & the Law Prof Blog, Bills Introduced in Congress to Allow Professional Licenses of One State to be Valid in State to Which Military Spouse is Relocated  

Gender & the Law Prof Blog, Parental Right Issues in Military Academies Disproportionately Harms Women 

Gender & the Law Prof Blog, Study on Military Sexual Assaults Concludes that Rate of Assaults is Lower, Rate of Prosecution Higher, and Victims Report More Often than in Civilian Society (May 2021)

November 11, 2021 in Courts, Education, Equal Employment, Family, Healthcare, Masculinities, Work/life | 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)

Friday, November 5, 2021

LGBTQ+ Protections: Bostock's Implication for Public Schools

John Dayton and Micah Barry, LGBTQ+ Employment Protections: the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia and the Implications for Public Schools, 35 Wis. J. L. Gender & Soc’y 115 (2020).

In this article Professors Dayton and Barry provide a history of LGBTQ+ discrimination and its impact in U.S. communities and schools, examine in depth the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, and discuss the opinion’s implications for public educational institutions.  The article begins by recognizing “the central role employment plays in people’s lives . . . and the history of using employment discrimination to marginalize and harm vulnerable groups.”  It points out that “LGBTQ+ persons have been an especially vulnerable group, with laws in many states treating their LGBTQ+ status as a lawful basis for dismissal from employment” and that “the impacts of dismissal on their lives could be devastating.”

As is well known, the Bostock decision made clear that such discrimination in employment is illegal pursuant to Title VII.  Further, Professors Dayton and Barry argue, the decision “is likely to reach further than employment law and likely impact interpretations of Title IX.”  Thus, it has significant legal implications for public educational institutions.  As the article states:

Legal rights mean little, however, unless they are effectively translated from theory into practice.  Assuring non-discrimination for all LGBTQ+ persons in schools will require educational and cultural changes in schools, changes that are long overdue.  Public school officials would be wise to implement appropriate training and education programs for employees and students concerning LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion to assure legal compliance and that public schools are safe and welcoming places for everyone.

. . . [E]vidence suggests that awareness of protective workplace legislation decreases interpersonal discrimination against LGBTQ+ persons.  School officials must assure legal compliance, but school officials may also improve school culture by promoting equal rights and equal respect for all people.

In short public educational institutions, “must ensure that legally compliant polices are established, administered, and respected in their schools.”

November 5, 2021 in Education, Equal Employment, Gender, Law schools, LGBT, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Students Sue Texas School District over Bans on Boys Wearing Long Hair

Wash Post, A Texas School District Bans Boys from Wearing Long Hair. Now, Some Students are Suing.

School officials in Texas forced a 9-year-old boy to serve an in-school suspension for a month, deprived him of recess and normal lunch breaks, and banished him from campus to an alternative school — all to pressure the fourth-grader into getting a haircut, a new lawsuit says.

 

Still, the boy refused to obey what he believes is an unjust school policy that bans boys from having long hair.

The boy, identified as A.C. in court documents, is one of seven students suing a Texas school district for what they call a discriminatory policy that requires boys to wear short hair. The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas filed the federal lawsuit Thursday on the students’ behalf against the Magnolia Independent School District, which serves some 13,000 students about 40 miles northwest of Houston.

 

The students, aged 7 to 17, allege that the district’s policy prohibiting boys from wearing long hair is based on gender stereotypes that violate the Constitution. They say administrators apply it unevenly, allowing some boys to wear long hair that violates the district’s grooming standards while punishing others. Those suing the district said that punishment has caused them “immense and irreparable harm.”

October 27, 2021 in Constitutional, Education, Gender, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Experts Weigh In on Biden's National Gender Equity Strategy

Biden's National Gender Equity Strategy: Here's What Experts Say About It

On Friday, the White House released the country’s first-ever National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, which aims “to advance the full participation of all people — including women and girls — in the United States and around the world,” according to a fact sheet the White House released summarizing the 42-page report. The strategy seeks “to combat discrimination and harmful gender norms that affect people of all genders: women and girls — including transgender women and girls — gender nonbinary and gender nonconforming people, as well as men and boys,” the report notes.

 

It outlines 10 priorities for reaching gender equity and equality, in the realms of economic security; gender-based violence; health; education; justice and immigration; human rights and equality under the law; security and humanitarian relief; climate change; science and technology; and democracy, participation and leadership.

 

It also suggests an intersectional approach to achieving those priorities, aiming to address the “impact of intersectional discrimination” on the basis of gender, race and other factors, such as sexual orientation, disability and socioeconomic status. And the report promises a whole-of-government implementation plan, requiring federal agencies to submit within nine months at least three internal goals supported by the strategy, including at least one that each agency can immediately implement.***

 

On Friday, the White House released the country’s first-ever National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, which aims “to advance the full participation of all people — including women and girls — in the United States and around the world,” according to a fact sheet the White House released summarizing the 42-page report. The strategy seeks “to combat discrimination and harmful gender norms that affect people of all genders: women and girls — including transgender women and girls — gender nonbinary and gender nonconforming people, as well as men and boys,” the report notes.

 

It outlines 10 priorities for reaching gender equity and equality, in the realms of economic security; gender-based violence; health; education; justice and immigration; human rights and equality under the law; security and humanitarian relief; climate change; science and technology; and democracy, participation and leadership.

 

It also suggests an intersectional approach to achieving those priorities, aiming to address the “impact of intersectional discrimination” on the basis of gender, race and other factors, such as sexual orientation, disability and socioeconomic status. And the report promises a whole-of-government implementation plan, requiring federal agencies to submit within nine months at least three internal goals supported by the strategy, including at least one that each agency can immediately implement.***

 

The strategy was shaped by the input of more than 250 nonprofit, community-, faith- and union- based organizations and academics, plus more than 270 girls, young women and gender nonconforming youth leaders from more than a dozen countries, the report said.

 

The effort comes as the first major initiative of the Gender Policy Council — established by the Biden administration earlier this year, and formerly known as the White House Council on Women and Girls in the Obama administration — which will partner with the Office of Management and Budget to facilitate implementation of the strategy across federal agencies. The GPC will also prepare an annual, publicly available report for submission to the president on implementation progress, the report notes.

 

Many gender equity advocates will be eagerly awaiting those implementation reports, including four experts who spoke to The Lily about the strategy, characterizing it as a crucial — and hopeful — step toward closing gender gaps and rectifying historic inequities. But, experts say, the strategy lacks clear implementation plans and measurable goals.

October 27, 2021 in Education, Equal Employment, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

2019 Annual Survey The Cost of Women's Success, Law School Survey of Student Engagement

Law School Survey of Student Engagement, 2019 Annual Survey: The Cost of Women's Success

Meera Deo, Director's Message:

It is with great pride and pleasure that I share the 2019 Annual Results, which is the first LSSSE publication dedicated to gender. To date, few researchers have studied the background of women entering legal education, their success in law school, or the barriers that women law students overcome. *** 

 

Past Annual Results have highlighted similarities and differences based on gender, with regard to debt load, scholarships, and career expectations/preferences, to name just a few. Yet, this LSSSE publication devoted entirely to gender arrives at an opportune time. With increasing numbers of women in law school, policymakers and the general public might assume that gender is a non-issue, that the experiences of women and men are roughly the same, or that gender disparities are a thing of the past. Regrettably, LSSSE data confirm that none of these myths represent the current state of women in legal education. As with faculty diversity, increased numbers do not translate directly into improved experiences.***

 

Overall, this report reveals that women as a whole are succeeding along various metrics ranging from academic performance to student engagement. These achievements are especially impressive given the background demographics of women law students today, many of whom enter law school with fewer resources than their male classmates. In spite of these accomplishments, there is room for improvement. Especially given how hard women law students work and the sacrifices they make to excel, we owe them greater support.

 

Foreword, Deborah Jones Merrit

Why do gender differences in legal education persist? Scholars often point to women’s heavier family responsibilities. This LSSSE report, however, undercuts that explanation. Eleven percent of women law students report that they spend more than 20 hours a week caring for dependents—but so do 8.6% of men students. Family commitments may explain some of the gender gap in legal education, but they do not tell the whole story.

 

Instead, as this report suggests, law schools must question their own practices. Do admissions offices place too much weight on LSAT scores (which favor men) rather than undergraduate grades (which favor women)? Do women receive as much scholarship money as men? Do traditional classroom pedagogies discourage women’s participation? Do institutional support measures target men more effectively than women? More transparent data could help answer some of these questions.

 

Gathering data and addressing these questions would benefit women of all races and ethnicities; the gender gaps identified in this report cut across those lines. Promoting gender equity could also help law schools attract and support first-generation students. As this report notes, women currently outnumber men in that category.
Despite their burdens, women achieve marked success in law school. Among LSSSE respondents, women’s reported grades exceed those of men overall—as well as within each racial or ethnic group. Four-fifths of women, moreover, rate their law school experience as “Good” or “Excellent.” These outcomes are worth celebrating, but they do not guarantee gender equity. Law schools must build on their progress to give women the same economic opportunities as men and to make them fully at home in the classroom.

October 20, 2021 in Education, Law schools, Women lawyers | 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)

Monday, October 4, 2021

California Assembly Passes Menstrual Equity for All Act

The California Assembly has passed the Menstrual Equity for All Act. It is awaiting the Governor's signature. Current law requires feminine hygiene products be provided in schools that meet a 40% public poverty threshold.  The Legislative Counsel's Digest summarizes that: 

This bill would enact the Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2021, which would require a public school, as provided, maintaining any combination of classes from grades 6 to 12, inclusive, to stock the school’s restrooms with an adequate supply of free menstrual products, as defined, available and accessible, free of cost, in all women’s restrooms and all-gender restrooms, and in at least one men’s restroom, at all times, and to post a designated notice, on or before the start of the 2022–23 school year, as prescribed.
 
This bill would require the California State University and each community college district, and would encourage the Regents of the University of California and private universities, colleges, and institutions of higher learning, to stock an adequate supply of menstrual products, available and accessible, free of cost, at no fewer than one designated and accessible central location on each campus and to post a designated notice, as provided.
This bill was authored and championed by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia. It expands the 2017 law that she also authored. The bill received widespread bipartisan support.  

October 4, 2021 in Education, Healthcare, Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Thursday, September 16, 2021

An Argument for Using "They" as Pronouns

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Why Are So Many Young Men Giving Up on College?

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

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

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

By: Leslie Culver

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

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

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

. . .

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

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

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Court Upholds Temporary Injunction Prohibiting School from Suspending Teacher Who Refuses to Use Students' Preferred Pronouns

NPR, Court Backs a Teacher Who Refused to Use a Students' Preferred Pronouns

The Supreme Court of Virginia has upheld a lower court ruling that ordered the reinstatement of a northern Virginia gym teacher who said he won't refer to transgender students by their pronouns.

 

Loudoun County Public Schools appealed to the state Supreme Court after a judge ruled that the school system violated the free speech rights of teacher Tanner Cross by suspending him after he spoke up at a school board meeting.

 

Cross, a teacher at Leesburg Elementary, cited his religious convictions at a May board meeting in which the school board debated proposed changes to its policies in treatment of transgender students. Cross said he would not use transgender students' pronouns....

 

The school system said it suspended Cross in part because his comments caused a disruption at the school. But the lower court judge, James Plowman, and the state Supreme Court agreed that the handful of calls fielded by school administrators did not cause the type of disruption that warranted a suspension.

 

Tuesday's ruling leaves in place a temporary injunction that bars the school system from suspending Cross. A trial is scheduled for next week in Loudoun County to settle the issue permanently.

 

Since Cross filed his lawsuit in May, two additional teachers in Loudoun County have joined him as plaintiffs.

For another case from the Sixth Circuit, see https://lawprofessorSixth Circuit Allows Professors' First Amendment Suit to Proceed Challenging Discipline for Refusal to Use Transgender Student's Preferred Pronouns

September 1, 2021 in Education, Gender, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The Phantom Menace to Professional Identity Formation and Law School Success: Imposter Syndrome

The Phantom Menace to Professional Identity Formation and Law School Success: Imposter Syndrome

By: David Grenardo

Forthcoming in: University of Daytona Law Review, Vol. 47, No. 3, 2022 Forthcoming

Professional identity formation, which involves teaching law students to recognize their responsibility to others, particularly clients, and encouraging the students to develop the professional competencies of a practicing lawyer, has gained considerable prominence in the legal academy. Professional identity formation relies on students to identify the professional competencies they excel in currently and the competencies in which they need to improve, and they must work to develop those competencies. Part of that process requires an accurate self-understanding of who law students are. The imposter syndrome serves as a sinister force that threatens a law student’s ability to develop her professional identity and to succeed as a lawyer. The pervasiveness and negative effects of the imposter syndrome warrant that law schools who incorporate professional identity formation into their curriculum, as well as any law school that wants its students to succeed, should address imposter syndrome with its students. Part I of this Article briefly discusses professional identity and how it requires self-reflection and self-awareness. Part II explains imposter syndrome in general, and Part III examines imposter syndrome and its prevalence in the legal profession. Part IV provides practical, tangible ways for law schools, professors, and law students to address imposter syndrome. This Article concludes that law schools, regardless of whether professional identity formation is a part of their curriculum yet, should help those law students facing imposter syndrome overcome it.

August 31, 2021 in Education, Gender, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Third-Party Sexual Harassment: The Challenge of Title IX Obligations for Law School Clinics

Third-Party Sexual Harassment: The Challenge of Title IX Obligations for Law School Clinics

By: Ty Alper

Published in: Washington Law Review, Vol. 96, No. 1, 2021

Law faculty who teach and train students in clinical settings regularly expose students to the potential for sexual harassment. Because clinics involve actual cases in real-world contexts, students may encounter sexual harassment from third parties such as clients, witnesses, and judges. Do faculty who tolerate this exposure run afoul of their obligations under Title IX to stop and remedy sexual harassment about which they are, or should be, aware?

This Article is the first to identify and propose a method for addressing a phenomenon that strikes at the intersection of three sets of priorities for clinical faculty: duty to serve the client, duty to educate the student, and duty to protect the student. When a law student may face sexual harassment from a third party in the course of representing a client, the values underlying those priorities are in tension and admit no obvious solution; some remedies that Title IX arguably requires are, in many cases, impossible to square with the duties of loyalty and zealousness owed to a clinical client, not to mention the educational goals of the clinic. And yet, clinicians can and must embrace the fundamental principle of Title IX, which is to ensure that educational opportunities are available to all students, regardless of sex or gender presentation. The dilemma explored here echoes the modern American cultural, educational, and legal shift toward protecting students from speech and conduct deemed harmful, but does so in a non- classroom setting where legal ethics and clinical pedagogy are complicating factors.

August 31, 2021 in Constitutional, Education, Gender, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 27, 2021

Building Bridges: How Law Schools Can Better Prepare Students from Historically Underserved Communities to Excel in Law School

Amy H. Soled and Barbara Hoffman, Building Bridges: How Law Schools Can Better Prepare Students from Historically Underserved Communities to Excel in Law School, AALS Journal of Legal Education, Volume 69, Issue 2 (Winter 2020).

“As a poor, first-generation student, I constantly fear the judgment of my peers. . . . For me, the challenge of law school is not only overcoming the rigorous coursework.  I must also overcome the social and financial barriers seeking to steer me away.”  This reflection of a current Rugers Law School student, captured by Professors Amy Soled and Barabra Hoffman, is unfortunately an all-too-common sentiment for a number of students in your law school classrooms.  Students who are members of historically underserved communities, those whose circumstances “disadvantage them in relation to their classmates whose privileged environment better prepare them for law school,” often find the law school challenging in more ways than just academic rigor.  These students, who are historically underserved based on circumstances including but not limited to “economic status, race, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or education background,” encounter “social and cultural isolation” in an environment that unconsciously or otherwise has “an invisible and assumed perspective that is largely white, male, heterosexual, economically advantaged, and able-bodied.”  This isolation can lead to significant barriers to academic success in law school and ultimately passing the bar.

So what can we as legal educators do to address the needs of our students of different backgrounds and bridge this gap?  Professors Soled and Hoffman suggest “[b]uilding bridges to enable students from historically underserved communities to thrive in law school requires law school professors and administrators to implement a multiyear plan from orientation through graduation.”  This plan can include academic success programs starting in the summer before law school and extending through the entirety of the 1L year; creating mentoring programs of faculty, staff, and local practitioners; and fostering a sense of community in the classroom and beyond.  

For example, professors can create community and inclusion by holding mandatory individual conferences once a semester, which creates a space for students to engage with the professor in a low-stakes one-on-one environment.  “The more contact students have with their teachers, the better the students do and the more connected the students feel to their school.”  Professors can also address the pervasive and insidious “imposter phenomenon” which describes students who are “unable to internalize [their] accomplishments [and have] chronic feelings of self-doubt and fear of being discovered” as a fraud.  Students of historically underserved communities disproportionately experience this phenomenon. That is “[w]omen suffer from the imposter syndrome more commonly than do men, first-generation college students experience it more often than do multigeneration college students” etc.  Professor can help by discussing this, and other common challenges, openly in their classrooms and student conferences.

These and many other concrete suggestions for building these bridges of success for historically underserved students are addressed in this article.

August 27, 2021 in Education, Gender, Law schools, LGBT, Race, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)