Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Monday, July 20, 2020

Where are the Statutes of Women? Sidelining Women in American Iconography

Melissa Weresh, Gauzy Allegory and the Construction of Gender, 25 Wm. & Mary J. Women & L. 7 (2018)

In August 2017, violence erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia when white nationalists arrived to protest the removal of a statue memorializing Confederacy General Robert E. Lee. Commenting on the controversy associated with the removal of Confederate monuments, the American Historical Association noted that the removal of a monument was intended "not to erase history, but rather to alter or call attention to a previous interpretation of history." In another effort to call attention to a silenced past, in April 20 18, The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration opened in Montgomery, Alabama. Recognizing that "[t]he United States has done very little to acknowledge the legacy of slavery, lynching, and racial segregation," the Legacy Museum was a countermemorial effort designed to operate as "an engine for education about the legacy of racial inequality and for the truth and reconciliation that leads to real solutions to contemporary problems." More recently, the New York Times explored the issue of under· representation of women in American iconography in two articles titled, "Honor, at Last, for Ida B. Wells, 'a Sword Among Lions,' " and "These Women Deserve Statues in New York."

 

These changes to the landscape of American iconography underscore the powerful connection between history, commemoration, and public memory. This is true because "[a] monument is not history itself; a monument commemorates an aspect of history, representing a moment in the past when a public or private decision defined who would be honored in a community's public spaces."

 

Notwithstanding this recent attention, women remain underrepresented in all forms of American iconography, resulting in a deficiency in commemorative memory. When they are represented, they tend to be featured allegorically rather than historically, exacerbating the quantitative under-representation in a qualitative manner. Explanations for and implications of this quantitative and qualitative under-representation are largely unexplored in legal scholarship. This Article is therefore about the twofold erasure of women from the iconography that makes up our national memory: first, women are rarely represented at all, and second, when they are, they are represented as symbols, rather than as actual human beings. This is a troubling form of gender marginalization, or sidelining.

 

This Article begins with an empirical examination of the manner in which women have been commemorated in American iconography. It then turns to a framework of gender that incorporates features of gendered relationships and gendered significations of power, using that framework as a lens for evaluating the lack of female commemoration in American iconography. This lens also provides useful categories for evaluating the impact of allegorical as opposed to historical commemoration.

 

Against this backdrop, the Article explores potential explanations for both the lack of historical representation as well as the tendency to feature women allegorically in iconography, seeking interdisciplinary answers in fields such as classical history, art history, theology, linguistics, and commemoration studies. Noting possible explanations for both the quantitative and qualitative under-representation, the Article explores the implications of allegorical representation, emphasizing that it is important to consider not only the lack of historical representation, both quantitatively and, by virtue of allegorical representation, qualitatively, but also how that absence created and maintained hierarchies and contributed to the sidelining of women in commemorative spaces. Disconcerting consequences of allegorical representation include the objectification of the female form, and the irony of featuring idealized, allegorical images of women in areas of society and culture from which they have been historically excluded. Upon initiating this important conversation, it then turns to potential cultural, societal, and legal strategies to address this inequity.

h/t Ederlina Co

July 20, 2020 in Gender, Legal History, Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

Survey Shows 80 Percent Support Gender Equality, But Less Identify as "Feminist"

This is How America Feels About Feminism in 2020

Feminism is sometimes referred to as the other "f" word, a term so loaded its meaning is often obscured by the intense emotions around it.

This was reflected in a Pew Research Center survey released this month, which found that although nearly 80% of Americans support gender equality – and feminism is defined as "the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes" by Merriam-Webster – only 61% of women and 40% of men say "feminist" describes them very or somewhat well. 

 

“I think ‘identify as feminist’ has morphed into ‘identify with a wide breadth of social, political issues that align with contemporary politics of equity and reparative justice,’ ” says Karla Holloway, who has taught African American studies, women's studies and law at Duke University. “Feminism is taken to mean a shared perspective on these issues, but because the issues divide constituencies, it turns into pushing aside the label rather than understanding it as a category that can, and does, contain complexity."  

 

Three-quarters of self-identified feminists say the country hasn’t gone far enough in giving women equal rights with men, and only 39% of nonfeminists say the same, according to the survey, which found divisions along gender, racial and political lines, as well

July 20, 2020 in Gender, Pop Culture, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 6, 2020

Book Invisible Women: Data Bias in a Male World

  Caroline Criedo Perez, Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

Data is fundamental to the modern world. From economic development, to healthcare, to education and public policy, we rely on numbers to allocate resources and make crucial decisions. But because so much data fails to take into account gender, because it treats men as the default and women as atypical, bias and discrimination are baked into our systems. And women pay tremendous costs for this bias, in time, money, and often with their lives.

Celebrated feminist advocate Caroline Criado Perez investigates the shocking root cause of gender inequality and research in Invisible Women​, diving into women’s lives at home, the workplace, the public square, the doctor’s office, and more. Built on hundreds of studies in the US, the UK, and around the world, and written with energy, wit, and sparkling intelligence, this is a groundbreaking, unforgettable exposé that will change the way you look at the world.

From Goodreads:

Imagine a world where your phone is too big for your hand, where your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body, where in a car accident you are 47% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued. If any of this sounds familiar, chances are that you're a woman.

Invisible Women shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. It exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives.

Award-winning campaigner and writer Caroline Criado Perez brings together for the first time an impressive range of case studies, stories and new research from across the world that illustrate the hidden ways in which women are forgotten, and the impact this has on their health and well-being. From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, urban planning and the media, Invisible Women reveals the biased data that excludes women. In making the case for change, this powerful and provocative book will make you see the world anew.
 (less)

July 6, 2020 in Books, Business, Gender, Healthcare, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Study Documents Disparity in Research Productivity during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ruomeng Cui, Hao Ding & Feng Zhu, Gender Inequality in Research Productivity During the COVID-19 Pandemic" 

We study the disproportionate impact of the lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak on female and male academics' research productivity in social science. We collect data from the largest open-access preprint repository for social science on 41,858 research preprints in 18 disciplines produced by 76,832 authors across 25 countries in a span of two years. We find that during the 10 weeks after the lockdown in the United States, although the total research productivity increased by 35%, female academics' productivity dropped by 13.9% relative to that of male academics. We also show that several disciplines drive such gender inequality. Finally, we find that this intensified productivity gap is more pronounced for academics in top-ranked universities, and the effect exists in six other countries. 

June 24, 2020 in Gender, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Study Documents Disparity in Research Productivity during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ruomeng Cui, Hao Ding & Feng Zhu, Gender Inequality in Research Productivity During the COVID-19 Pandemic" 

We study the disproportionate impact of the lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak on female and male academics' research productivity in social science. We collect data from the largest open-access preprint repository for social science on 41,858 research preprints in 18 disciplines produced by 76,832 authors across 25 countries in a span of two years. We find that during the 10 weeks after the lockdown in the United States, although the total research productivity increased by 35%, female academics' productivity dropped by 13.9% relative to that of male academics. We also show that several disciplines drive such gender inequality. Finally, we find that this intensified productivity gap is more pronounced for academics in top-ranked universities, and the effect exists in six other countries. 

June 24, 2020 in Gender, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Study Documents Disparity in Research Productivity during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ruomeng Cui, Hao Ding & Feng Zhu, Gender Inequality in Research Productivity During the COVID-19 Pandemic" 

We study the disproportionate impact of the lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak on female and male academics' research productivity in social science. We collect data from the largest open-access preprint repository for social science on 41,858 research preprints in 18 disciplines produced by 76,832 authors across 25 countries in a span of two years. We find that during the 10 weeks after the lockdown in the United States, although the total research productivity increased by 35%, female academics' productivity dropped by 13.9% relative to that of male academics. We also show that several disciplines drive such gender inequality. Finally, we find that this intensified productivity gap is more pronounced for academics in top-ranked universities, and the effect exists in six other countries. 

June 24, 2020 in Gender, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Best Practices for University Faculty on Gender Equity for People of Color

Constance Wagner, In Search of Best Practices on Gender Equity for University Faculty: An Update" 
Norman Shachoy Symposium at Villanova Law School, 2019

This article updates the author’s earlier work on the search for gender equity among women faculty in the university setting in the United States. The author reflects on the fact that some of the literature in this area does not sufficiently address the challenges facing women of color. She seeks to fill the gap in her own research by referencing best practices discussed in three recent books on the professional lives of university faculty who are women of color. She argues that future work on best practices for achieving gender equity must address issues of intersectionality of race, gender, and class in order to develop effective tools for change in the university setting. This article was prepared for the 2019 Norman Shachoy Symposium at Villanova Law School, which focused on “Gender Equity in Law Schools”.

June 4, 2020 in Education, Gender, Law schools, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 1, 2020

New Book: Syndicate Women: Gender in Organized Crime

Chris Smith, Syndicate Women: Gender and Networks in Chicago Organized Crime

In Syndicate Women, sociologist Chris M. Smith uncovers a unique historical puzzle: women composed a substantial part of Chicago organized crime in the early 1900s, but during Prohibition (1920–1933), when criminal opportunities increased and crime was most profitable, women were largely excluded. During the Prohibition era, the markets for organized crime became less territorial and less specialized, and criminal organizations were restructured to require relationships with crime bosses. These processes began with, and reproduced, gender inequality. The book places organized crime within a gender-based theoretical framework while assessing patterns of relationships that have implications for non-criminal and more general societal issues around gender. As a work of criminology that draws on both historical methods and contemporary social network analysis, Syndicate Women centers the women who have been erased from analyses of gender and crime and breathes new life into our understanding of the gender gap.

June 1, 2020 in Books, Gender, Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 29, 2020

New Study Shows Gender Impacts Scholarly Influence and Citation in Law

Caroline Osborne & Stephanie Miller, The Scholarly Impact Matrix: An Empirical Study of How Multiple Metrics Create an Informed Story of a Scholar's Work

Does gender impact citation and exposure?

a. Does gender impact citation?

Another important observation is that men are more likely to be in the frequently and significantly cited intervals than women. At the significantly cited level men are fourteen percent, on average, more likely to be cited. At the frequently cited interval men are eight percent, on average, more likely to be cited. This suggests that men have a citation advantage at both frequently and significantly cited intervals. These results are in contrast to another recent study that finds there is no gender citation advantage in legal scholarship. Christopher A. Cotropia and Lee Petherbridge, Gender Disparity in Law Review Citation Rates, 59 WM. & MARY L. REV. 771 (2018) (study exploring gender disparity in scholarly influence).

b. Does Gender impact exposure in an IR or on SSRN?

Gender provides an advantage in exposure to men at the frequently and significantly downloaded intervals with a twelve percent advantage to men in the frequently downloaded interval on SSRN. That advantage evaporates at the significantly downloaded interval on SSRN with men and women enjoying parity. The twelve percent advantage at the frequently downloaded interval is significant when recalling that the frequently downloaded interval is the interval with the greatest number of downloads and thus, arguably, the interval demonstrating the greatest impact. The absence of a difference in downloads between men and women on SSRN at the significantly downloaded interval was the anticipated result. As noted in the discussion on gender and citation, a 2018 study suggests that there is no gender bias in citations to legal scholarship. Id.

May 29, 2020 in Gender, Scholarship, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 28, 2020

What I'm Watching Today, Thursday, at Law & Society on Gender & Law

Law & Society Association, Virtual Conference Program

Gender and Punishment

May 28 - 11:00 AM - 12:45 PM
Moving away from antiquated perspectives that neglected to study gender because there were "so few" women in the criminal justice system, these papers use feminist perspectives to examine disparate treatment, gender gaps, and punitivism.
Chair/Discussant(s) Rupali Samuel, LLM, Harvard Law School

Gender Equality and the Shifting Gap in Female-To-Male Incarceration Rates
Presenter(s) Heather McLaughlin, Oklahoma State University
Co-Presenter(s) Sarah Shannon, University of Georgia
 

Negotiating Criminal Records: Access to Employment for Reintegrating Women in Canada
Presenter(s) Anita Grace, Carleton University

 

The Gap Between Correctional Law & Practice: An Intersectional Feminist Analysis
Presenter(s) Alexis Marcoux Rouleau, Université de Montréal

 

The Gendered Economy of Prison Intimacy
Presenter(s) Joss Greene, Columbia University

 

Moving Rules: Struggles for Reproductive Justice on Uneven Terrain

May 28 - 11:00 AM - 12:45 PM
Moving Rules will consider how recent developments in the struggle for reproductive justice in Argentina, Poland, Ireland and Mozambique contribute to our understanding of legal rules as complex entities that move as they are made. The papers will consider how rules move across space and time as they are made through feminist cause lawyering, witnessing legal reproduction, communist legacies, and oppositional legal consciousness.
Chair(s) Paola Bergallo, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella
Discussant(s) Ruth Fletcher, Queen Mary University of London
Presentations

Building Democracy and Legal Change: A Study of Feminist Cause Lawyering in Argentina
Presenter(s) Paola Bergallo, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella

 

We Were Communists - Historical, Political, and Ideological Determinants of Sexual Reproductive Rights
Presenter(s) Carmeliza Rosario, CMI / Centre on Law and Social Transformation

 

Witnessing Legal Reproduction
Presenter(s) Ruth Fletcher, Queen Mary University of London

 

Sexual Harassment: Victims and Survivors

May 28 - 11:00 AM - 12:45 PM

Sexual harassment and violence are pervasive problems in various institutional spheres. Many victims and survivors are discounted and ignored. The papers in this session explore a range of questions involving victims and survivors of sexual harassment, such as: what obstacles has the #MeToo movement encountered when confronting sexual assault and harassment in the military? What roles do and should victim impact statements have in revealing systemic institutional sexual abuse in specific cases and shaping broader policy to meet the needs of victims? What role does time have in shaping a victim's experience of sexual violence? Does the law represent an adequate feminist response to such violence? How do innovative multi-media exhibits,provide new ways for observers and bystanders to listen to survivors' stories and experiences?
Chair(s) Julie Goldscheid, City University of New York
Discussant(s) I. India Thusi, California Western School of Law
Presentations

#MeToo, Confronts Culture, and Complicity in the Military
Presenter(s) Rachel Van Cleave, Golden Gate University School of Law

 

From "Larry" the "Monster" to Sisterhood: What the Nassar Victim Impact Statements Reveal About Systemic Institutional Sexual Abuse
Presenter(s) Jamie Abrams, University of Louisville
Non-Presenting Co-Author(s) Amanda Potts, University of Cardiff

 

Multiracial Women, Sexual Harassment, and Gender-Based Violence
Presenter(s) Nancy Cantalupo, Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law

 

Sexual Harassment, Workplace Culture, and the Power and Limits of Law
Presenter(s) Suzanne Goldberg, Columbia University

 

Female Judges in Five Fragile States

May 28 - 02:15 PM - 04:00 PM
In post-conflict and transitional developing countries, situations of political rupture may create new opportunity structures that favour the entry of women into public positions of power. Post-conflict assistance often includes gender friendly rule of law reforms, and the conflict itself may have placed rights issues in focus. How these conditions affect women's access to, and utilization of, positions of judicial power has not received much scholarly attention. This session explores three main questions regarding women judges in five fragile and conflict-related states: Angola, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Haiti, and Uganda: (1) What are the main pathways of women judges to the bench? (2) What are the gendered experiences of women on the bench? (3) How and in what ways does having more women on the bench impact on judicial outcomes?
Chair(s) Paola Bergallo, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella
Discussant(s) Ulrike Schultz, Fernuniversitat in Hagen

Presentations

Female Judges in Angola: When Party Affiliation Trumps Gender
Presenter(s) Elin Skaar, Chr. Michelsen Institute
Non-Presenting Co-Author(s) Aslak Orre, Chr. Michelsen Institute

 

Women Magistrates in Haiti: Challenging Gender Inequality in a Frail Justice System
Presenter(s) Marianne Tøraasen, Chr. Michelsen Institute

 

Women on the Bench in Afghanistan: Equal but Segregated?
Presenter(s) Torunn Wimpelmann, Chr Michelsen Institute
Non-Presenting Co-Author(s) Antonio De Lauri, Chr. Michelsen Institute

 

Women on the Bench in Guatemala: Between Professionalization and State Capture
Presenter(s) Ana-Isabel Braconnier, University of Texas at Austin, Rachel Sieder, CIESAS

 

Women on the Bench – Perspectives from Uganda
Presenter(s) Pilar Domingo, Overseas Development Institute
Non-Presenting Co-Author(s) Siri Gloppen, University of Bergen

 

May 28, 2020 in Conferences, Gender, Judges, Reproductive Rights, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Call for Papers Columbia Journal of Gender & Law: Symposium "Are You There Law, It's Me, Menstruation"

Feminist Law Profs, CFP Columbia Journal of Gender & Law Symposium: Are You There, Law? It's Me, Menstruation

Columbia Journal of Gender & Law: Symposium Announcement and Call for Papers

Are You There, Law? It’s Me, Menstruation

The Columbia Journal of Gender & Law is pleased to announce a call for papers for its Spring 2021 symposium: Are You There, Law? It’s Me, Menstruation.

 

This symposium explores the intersection of law and menstruation. Over half the population menstruates for a large portion of their lives, but the law has mostly been silent on the issue. Virtually all people with female biology menstruate, although not all who menstruate are girls or women. A truly inclusive law reform movement will take all who menstruate into account, without regard to race, economic class, age, or gender identity. A legal system that takes into account the biology of over half the population is the foundation for a more just society. 

 

Judy Blume’s young adult classic, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, first captured readers’ attention fifty years ago, but only recently have periods entered the public discourse. The “tampon tax”—the state sales tax on menstrual products—is currently the subject of multi-state litigation and legislative advocacy. Public awareness of the unfairness of the tax has inspired many people to start speaking and mobilizing about other obstacles, including the lack of employment-related accommodations for menstrual needs, the lack of access to safe and affordable products (particularly in schools and prisons), and the anxiety and harassment that menstruating students can face at school.  Increasingly, litigation is being brought about some of these issues, and some states and localities are also taking action on their own, notably by requiring free menstrual products in settings like prisons, schools, and shelters. “Period poverty”—being unable to afford menstrual products—remains an obstacle to school, work and full participation in public life. 

 

The Symposium will be held at Columbia Law School on April 9, 2021. The conference will include a full day of panel discussions and will be open to the public. The program concludes with a reception celebrating the journal’s thirtieth anniversary.

 

Papers

To be considered for a paper presentation at the symposium, please submit an abstract of your proposed paper by 5:00 p.m. on August 15, 2020 to columbia.jgl.submissions@gmail.com. Abstracts should be no longer than 500 words and should relate to the conference theme.  Possible topics might include:

  • Affordability, availability, or safety of menstrual products.
  • Challenging the state sales tax on menstrual products.
  • Menstruation-related discrimination and harassment in employment, education, and/or other contexts.
  • Menstrual education in schools.
  • Menstruation-related challenges unique to prisoners, incarcerated people, and visitors and employees in carceral facilities.
  • Menstruation-related needs of homeless and low-income individuals and families.
  • Cultural stigmas and taboos related to menstruation.
  • Lawyering and social movements that are inclusive of all who menstruate, including trans boys and men, people with gender fluid identities, and people with non-binary gender identities.
  • Research related to health issues connected with menstruation and menstrual products.
  • Environmental issues related to menstruation, including access to water, disposal of menstrual products, and toxic chemicals used in menstrual products.
  • Alternatives to commercial menstrual products, including micro-lending for financing of menstruation-related small businesses.
  • Human rights concerns, including the right to dignity, the right to education, and/or the right to employment, and their connection to menstruation.
  • The relationship of popular culture, including Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, to the understanding of menstruation.
  • The use of female empowerment and feminist messaging in selling menstrual products and menstrual education.
  • Menstrual-related activism, including litigation and legislative reform.
  • Coalition-building between and among groups around issues related to menstruation.

Successful proposals will include a discussion of how the selected topic relates to the law. Interdisciplinary approaches and perspectives from outside the legal academy are very welcome.

Selected speakers will be notified by September 15, 2020.

 

Publication Opportunity

The selected speakers from this Call for Papers will have the opportunity to publish their papers in a special symposium issue of CJGL.  All such papers will be due by February 1, 2020.  They must be no more than 3,000 words and should be lightly-footnoted.  The abstracts will be posted to CJGL’s public website, and the complete versions may be made available prior to the symposium on a password-protected site to all symposium participants.

 

Registration and Transportation

There is no registration fee associated with the conference.  There are funds available to cover the reasonable transportation costs and accommodations for speakers coming from outside the New York metropolitan area. 

 

Short On-Line Essays

In connection with the symposium, CJGL invites expressions of interest in contributing short essays (100-500 words, including footnotes) on any aspect of law and menstruation, or reflections on the influence of Judy Blume’s book and its legacy for generations of readers. Essays will be hosted on the CJGL website beginning in early 2021 and are intended to be written for a general audience. We warmly welcome contributions from students, faculty, attorneys, activists, artists and others.  Contributions may take the form of personal reflections, cultural critiques or other menstruation-related topics of the author’s choice. Short essays do not have to be in a traditional academic format.

To be considered for contribution of a short essay, please submit a short (2-4) sentence proposal by 5:00 p.m. on August 15, 2020 to columbia.jgl.submissions@gmail.com. Selected contributors will be notified by September 15, 2020.

Final versions of short on-line essays will be due November 1, 2020.

 

Questions?

Questions about logistics of the program can be directed to CJGL Symposium Editor Jenna Rae Lauter: jrl2156@columbia.edu

Other questions can be directed to the Symposium’s faculty conveners: Professor Bridget Crawford (Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University) bcrawford@law.pace.edu; Professor Emily Gold Waldman (Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University) ewaldman@pace.edu; and Professor Margaret Johnson (University of Baltimore School of Law) majohnson@ubalt.edu.

May 20, 2020 in Call for Papers, Conferences, Gender, Healthcare | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Causation Problem of "Because of Sex" in the Trio of Supreme Court Cases on Title VII, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation, and a Proposed Solution

Shirley Lin, Aimee Stephens and Preserving Our Broader Understandings of Sex, JURIST

Just last week, we were saddened by the loss of Aimee Stephens at age 59. Ms. Stephens was a Detroit funeral director who, in 2013, announced a gender transition that exposed her employer’s deep intolerance toward transgender people. For seven years, she challenged the harsh dismissal and loss of livelihood that followed the announcement. Although she will not hear the Supreme Court’s decision in her case, Ms. Stephens’ unwavering commitment to workplace dignity made history in 2018 in her landmark victory before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, in one of the most nuanced examinations of sex discrimination ever issued.

 

The decision in EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. is best understood as a doctrinal correction to the current ideological drift in causation theory in discrimination law. Since 1989, a segment of the Court has pursued approaches that needlessly narrow the effectiveness of Title VII through causation analysis and anti-classification.

 

The law’s plain language prohibits discrimination against any individual “because of such individual’s…sex.” An employer generally cannot use an employee’s protected trait — here, her sex — to harm or otherwise disadvantage her. Under a different provision, the causation element of proving discrimination against an employee is a factual question due to other reasons employers may point to as the genuine, non-discriminatory reason for its action against the employee. In other words, it is a separate element from the trait element. Thus, “because of…sex” has been interpreted to encompass not only claims regarding women being passed over for men because they are women, but also contextual subordination that relies upon our sex trait, including gender stereotyping, sexual assault, quid pro quo sexual harassment, and hostile work environment. No less than race or religion, sex is a protected trait from which we infer meaning, and experience harm, based upon variable circumstances of time and place.

 

Thus, the Sixth Circuit unanimously held that “it is analytically impossible to fire an employee based upon that employee’s status” as a transgender person or lesbian employee “without being motivated, at least in part, by the employee’s sex.” But the panel took the farther step of affirming the non-binary sex spectrum. ***

 

However, buried in the Second Circuit’s en banc opinion in Zarda v. Altitude Express (also pending within the Title VII trio of cases the Court heard with Ms. Stephens’s case) was an outlier within the groundswell of courts seeking to course-correct causation analysis. There, a plurality ventured that a gay man’s status was the “but-for cause” of his dismissal, because if he had been a heterosexual woman married to a man, rather than a gay man, his status was determinative of the outcome. This theory, raised on appeal among other theories, conflates the social trait and causation elements of disparate treatment claims and thus competes with the approach of examining the social context of the sex trait. If misapplied to future sex and other trait discrimination cases, but-for causation could flatten existing sex discrimination analysis at a time when society has made significant strides toward recognizing intersexnon-binary, and gender-fluid people.

Shirley Lin, Dehumanization "Because of Sex": The Multiaxial Approach to the Title VII of Sexual Minorities, Lewis & Clark L. Rev. (forthcoming)

Although Title VII prohibits discrimination against any individual “because of such individual’s . . . sex,” legal commentators have not yet accurately appraised Title VII’s trait and causation requirements embodied in that phrase. Since 2015, however, many courts have read “sex” in Title VII as a socially defined trait and evaluate social construction of a protected trait before identifying causation when a court detects subordination. This Article builds on this judicial consensus by introducing “multiaxial analysis,” a framework with which judges and stakeholders identify the role of Title VII’s protected traits as socially constructed along four axes: the aggrieved individual’s self-identification, the defendant-employer, society, and the state. This context-sensitive approach to subordination gives fuller effect to Title VII’s provisions and purposes as compared to sex stereotyping theory or the “but-for causation” method recently raised with the Supreme Court in the Title VII suits brought by gay and transgender plaintiffs. Uncoupling causation from the sex trait analysis will realize the statute’s civil rights protections as localities increasingly recognize the scope of sex beyond a fixed binary.

May 20, 2020 in Equal Employment, Gender, LGBT, SCOTUS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Women Submitting Less to Academic Journals Should Scare You

Ms., Women Submitting Less to Academic Journals Should Scare You

The New York Times recently published a report on the impacts of COVID-19 on working moms.

 

“I feel like I have five jobs: mom, teacher, C.C.O., house cleaner, chef,” Sarah Joyce Wiley—chief client officer at a Massachusetts health services company—told the New York Times. “My kids also call me ‘Principal mommy’ and the ‘lunch lady.’ It’s exhausting.”

 

It’s not that men aren’t feeling stressed—but in heterosexual relationships, domestic responsibilities, more often than not, tend to fall on the mother.  As Andrea Flynn, director of health equity at the Roosevelt Institute, wrote in a viral op-ed for Ms.:

Three weeks ago, most of us—proud feminists and progressives—would have said we shared the burden of parenting relatively evenly. (I say relatively because research shows that, despite couples feeling they have egalitarian relationships, women still do the lion’s share of domestic labor.)

 

Why then, at times of crisis, do these imbalances emerge? 

 

Because structural sexism is always lurking just below the surface, ready to rear its ugly head and quickly upset any semblance of intra-household gender equity. 

 

The scary thing? The pressure of women to balance everything at home isn’t just going to go away once COVID-19 ends. Women’s careers are at sake. 

 

Recently, the Lily published a report on the impacts of COVID-19 on academia—specifically how it can impact tenure and future opportunities for women and men. 

 

[COVID-19] threatens to derail the careers of women in academia, says Leslie Gonzales, a professor of education administration at Michigan State University, who focuses on strategies for diversifying the academic field: When institutions are deciding who to grant tenure to, how will they evaluate a candidate’s accomplishments during coronavirus? 

 

Prior to the pandemic, some studies showed that in recent years, the gender gap in academia—specifically related to tenure and doctorate degrees—was beginning to level out.

 

However, since the onset of coronavirus, editors have noticed a trend: Women academics are submitting fewer papers during coronavirus—with some fields like astrophysics reporting a 50 percent productivity loss among women. This could mean the gender gap in higher education is rearing its ugly head again. 

 

“We don’t want a committee to look at the outlier productivity of, say, a white hetero man with a spouse at home and say, ‘Well, this person managed it,’” Gonzales told the Lily. “We don’t want to make that our benchmark [of deciding tenure or not].”

See also No Room of One's Own: Data Suggests COVID Negatively Affecting Women's, but Not Men's, Research Productivity

May 6, 2020 in Equal Employment, Family, Gender, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 27, 2020

No Room of One's Own: Data Suggest Covid-19 is Negatively Impacting Women's, but not Men's, Research Productivity

Early Journal Submission Data Suggest COVID-19 is Tanking Women's Research Productivity

It was easy to foresee: within academe, female professors would bear the professional brunt of social distancing during COVID-19, in the form of decreased research productivity.

 

Now the evidence is starting to emerge. Editors of two journals say that they’re observing unusual, gendered patterns in submissions. In each case, women are losing out.

 

Editors of a third journal have said that overall submissions by women are up right now, but that solo-authored articles by women are down substantially.

 

In the most obvious example of the effects of social distancing carving into women's research time, Elizabeth Hannon, deputy editor of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Sciencewrote on Twitter that she’d received “negligible” submissions from women within the last month. “Never seen anything like it,” she added***

 

This doesn’t mean that COVID-19 "hasn’t taken a toll on female authors, though," Dolan and Lawless wrote, as women submitted just eight of the 46 solo-authored papers during this time. That’s 17 percent, compared to 22 percent of solo-authored papers in the larger data set.

 

"As a percentage change, that’s substantial," the editors said. "Even if women’s overall submission rates are up, they seem to have less time to submit their own work than men do amid the crisis.”

 

The revelations generated much chatter, including from gender studies scholars and women in all fields who are desperately trying to balance teaching and otherwise working from home with increased caregiving responsibilities. Those responsibilities include all-day minding of children due to school and daycare closures, homeschooling, and the cooking and cleaning associated with having one’s family at home all day, every day. Women are also spending time checking in with friends, relatives and neighbors.***

 

 It’s not that men don’t help with all this, or that they’re not also individually overwhelmed by work and family life. But women already juggled more domestic and affective, or emotional, labor with their actual work prior to the pandemic.

 

Female academics, as a group, also struggled more with work-work balance, as well: numerous studies show they take on more service work than men and are less protective of their research time, to their detriment.

 

The coronavirus has simply exacerbated these inequities by stripping away what supports women had in place to walk this tightrope, including childcare.*** “My husband is working full-time at home, as am I, and what I’m finding is for men, there is more of an expectation that he can be working all the time than there is for me.”***

 

“Silence and concentration are pivotal for my thinking and teaching,” she wrote. “This means I have less time for writing scientific articles.”

 

While she and her colleagues know they’re lucky to be employed and healthy at this time, it still feels “as if I am my own subject” in some work-life balance study.

 

Minello also expressed concern about when the crisis is over, both parents and nonparents “will participate together in open competition for promotion and positions, parents and nonparents alike.”

 

Just like academic fathers, nonparents don’t have it easy right now -- no one does. But, again, there are well-documented challenges that academic mothers, in particular, face. Those challenges, together, have been dubbed the motherhood penalty. And they’re laid bare right now.

Women Academics Submitting Fewer Papers to Journals During Coronavirus

Six weeks into widespread self-quarantine, editors of academic journals have started noticing a trend: Women — who inevitably shoulder a greater share of family responsibilities — seem to be submitting fewer papers. This threatens to derail the careers of women in academia, says Leslie Gonzales, a professor of education administration at Michigan State University, who focuses on strategies for diversifying the academic field: When institutions are deciding who to grant tenure to, how will they evaluate a candidate’s accomplishments during coronavirus?

“We don’t want a committee to look at the outlier productivity of, say, a white hetero man with a spouse at home and say, ‘Well, this person managed it,’” says Gonzales. “We don’t want to make that our benchmark.”

April 27, 2020 in Family, Gender, Pop Culture, Scholarship, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 17, 2020

Institutional Perpetuation of Systemic Gender and Racial Discrimination by the Continued Use of Student Evaluations Despite Research Consensus on their Bias

Debra Austin, Leadership Lapse: Laundering Systemic Bias through Student Evaluations, Villanova L. Rev. (forthcoming)   

The use of the student evaluation of teaching (SET) for high stakes faculty employment decisions amounts to a lapse in leadership. A scholarly consensus has emerged that using SETs as the primary measure of teaching effectiveness in faculty review processes can systematically disadvantage faculty from marginalized groups. The growing body of evidence shows that women and minorities get lower ratings of their teaching than white men. Using biased evaluations allows colleges and universities to discriminate against faculty whose identities deviate from white male heteronormativity.

Despite the knowledge that empirical research demonstrates these instruments are biased, the academy has accepted them as credible. Bias in student evaluations can lead an institution to determine that a faculty member who differs from the straight white male stereotype is an inadequate teacher. Faculty with lower student ratings are penalized in the hiring, retention, compensation, and promotion processes.

This article summarizes empirical research demonstrating that student evaluations are biased against female faculty and faculty of color; describes the impact on student learning; details the influence on institutional culture of using student evaluations for assessing teaching quality for performance evaluations, compensation, promotion, and retention; and suggests recommendations for evaluating teaching effectiveness in fair and responsible ways. Law schools should lead the change in this discriminatory higher education practice because they are institutions dedicated to social justice and to training leaders who will drive social change in the legal system, government, business, media, and philanthropy.

April 17, 2020 in Education, Gender, Manliness, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 13, 2020

Court Dismisses on Standing Grounds, Lawsuit Against NYU Law Review for Gender and Racial Preferences for Staff and Articles

NYU Law Review Wins Dismissal of Suit Challenging its Racial and Gender Preferences

The New York University Law Review has won dismissal of a suit challenging preferences given to women and minorities in selection of members and choice of articles.

U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos tossed the suit Tuesday by Faculty, Alumni and Students Opposed to Racial Preferences but allowed the group to file an amended complaint. Ramos said the FASORP had not demonstrated standing to sue and had not stated a viable claim for relief.

Law360 has coverage.

The FASORP had alleged that its members were being subjected to race and sex discrimination when they submitted articles for publication, and when their work was judged and edited by “less capable students” who won spots on the law review through preferences.

The New York University Law Review has 50 spots available each year. Fifteen students are selected based on a writing competition, 15 are selected based on their first-year grades, and eight are based on a combination of both, Ramos said in his March 31 opinion. The remaining 12 slots are filled by the law review’s diversity committee.

Authors of articles submitted for publication in the law review are invited to include demographic information that includes their race, sexual orientation and gender identity. The law review says it is committed to publishing scholarship by “authors from underrepresented backgrounds.”

The FASORP had sued for alleged violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title VI bars racial and national origin discrimination in programs receiving federal financial assistance, while Title IX bars discrimination in education programs receiving federal assistance.

Ramos found several problems with standing.

The FASORP had failed to identify even one injured member with specific allegations of harm, Ramos said. The FASORP also failed to plead a concrete and particularized injury or a real or immediate threat of repetition of that injury, he said.

April 13, 2020 in Courts, Gender, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Study Shows Sexism had a Politically Consequential Effect in the 2016 Presidential Election

Ann Owen & Andrew Wei, Hostile Sexism and the 2016 Presidential Election 

We use Google Trends data over the 2004-2015 period to identify hostile sexism and examine its effect on support for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election. An area’s sexist search volume is a significant negative predictor of Clinton’s two-party vote share. Although we find no evidence that hostile sexism was more prevalent among conservative and less educated whites prior to the election, we do find evidence that it had a larger impact in areas with this demographic. We argue that demographic groups targeted by Trump may have been more receptive to his rhetoric. Our main contribution to the literature is showing that sexism had a politically consequential effect. We calculate that sexism cost Clinton 2.6 percentage points of her two-party vote share. In state-level simulations that are made possible by our use of Google Trends data, we show that Clinton would have won an additional 190 electoral college votes if every state had the same level of sexism as the least sexist state.

April 13, 2020 in Gender, Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

What Taylor Swift and Beyonce Teach Us About But-For Causation in Sex Discrimination Cases

Robin Dembroff, Issa Kohler-Hausmann & Elise Sugarman, What Taylor Swift and Beyoncé Teach Us About Sex and Causes, U. Penn. L. Rev. (forthcoming)

In the consolidated cases Altitude Express v. Zarda, Bostock v. Clayton County, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, the Supreme Court will decide whether or not Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Although the parties disagree as to the appropriate formulation of a but-for test to determine whether or not there was a discriminatory outcome, all parties do agree to the use of such a test, which asks “whether the evidence shows ‘treatment of a person in a manner which but for that person’s sex would be different.’” City of Los Angeles, Dep’t. of Water and Power v. Manhart, 435 U.S. 702, 711 (1978). However, but-for tests confuse more than they clarify the inquiry; a discriminatory outcome cannot be explained by appeal to just a discrete characteristic of a particular person. Individuals are not discriminated against because of these characteristics per se. Rather, they are discriminated against because of the social meanings and expectations that attach to these characteristics. Beyoncé and Taylor Swift illustrate the difference between individual-level causation and social explanation in two separate songs, “If I Were a Boy” and “The Man.” The explanation for why the counterfactual ‘male’ Beyoncé and Swift are evaluated differently than their current ‘female’ versions does not lie in individual-level features considered apart from the social world, but in social-level roles and expectations associated with those features. For this reason, a social explanation test—one that asks whether the social meanings of sex characteristics, rather than the characteristics per se, explain the outcome in question—is more suitable for determining whether or not Title VII has been violated. 

April 7, 2020 in Equal Employment, Gender, LGBT, SCOTUS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 3, 2020

Misunderstanding Transgenderism as a Question of Gender Rather than Sex

Naomi Schoenbaum, The New Law of Gender Nonconformity, 105 Minnesota L. Rev. (forthcoming)  

A central tenet of sex discrimination law is the protection of gender nonconformity: unless a feature of biological sex requires it, regulated entities may not expect that individuals will conform their gender performance to the stereotypes of their sex. This doctrine is critical to promoting the antistereotyping aims of sex discrimination law by allowing gender nonconformers from aggressive women to caregiving fathers to challenge expectations that would limit them to the gender performance that accords with their sex. More recently, courts have extended gender nonconformity protection to transgender persons in cases where discrimination is due to the transgender person’s gender performance. The Supreme Court will consider this new law of gender nonconformity this term in EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, which asks whether sex discrimination law of the workplace covers transgender discrimination.

Notwithstanding its partial success, the gender nonconformity doctrine is the wrong path for pursuing transgender rights. The doctrine has led to losses when transgender persons are discriminated against not for their gender performance, but for seeking recognition as their identified sex rather than the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgender plaintiffs are likely to continue to lose under the doctrine when seeking such recognition in the long list of contexts—like bathrooms, dress codes, sports, schools, and beyond—that are still lawfully sex segregated. Even transgender plaintiffs’ successes under the doctrine are Pyrrhic victories. Under the gender nonconformity doctrine, a plaintiff who was designated male at birth but who identifies as female is an effeminate man rather than a woman. The doctrine thus reinforces the notion that transgender persons are their birth-designated sex, contrary to substantial medical and legal authority, and to the claims of transgender persons seeking recognition as their identified sex. And treating transgender plaintiffs as gender nonconformers risks harm not only to transgender rights, but to protection for gender nonconformity, by raising the bar to prove such claims, even in paradigm cases. Regardless of the outcome in Harris, this Article has implications for transgender rights throughout sex discrimination law.

These losses and harms are not inevitable. They all stem from one error—misunderstanding transgenderism as a matter of gender rather than sex—that can be corrected. As a few courts have suggested, discrimination on the basis of seeking recognition for one’s identified sex is discrimination on the basis of sex. Contrary to the concerns of some courts and scholars, extending protection to transgender discrimination would advance rather than undermine the antistereotyping aims of sex discrimination law. Doing so under the right theory can protect transgender persons while promoting sex discrimination law’s historic role in fighting sex stereotypes.

April 3, 2020 in Gender, LGBT, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gender Bias in Marital Division at Divorce Independent of Caretaking Roles

Jennifer Bennett Shinalll, Settling in the Shadow of Sex: Gender Bias in Marital Asset Division, 40 Cardozo L. Rev. (2019)  

Divorce has a long history of economically disempowering women. From the time of coverture to the era of modern divorce reform, women have been persistently disadvantaged by divorce relative to men. Family law scholars have long attributed this disadvantage to the continued prevalence of traditional gender roles and the failure of current marital asset division laws to account adequately for this prevalence. In spite of the progress made by the women’s movement over the past half-century, married, heterosexual women endure as the primary caretaker in the majority of households, and married, heterosexual men endure as the primary breadwinners. Undoubtedly, women who have made career sacrifices during a marriage face a harsh economic reality when the marriage breaks down. But this Article is the first to question whether the persistence of traditional gender roles is solely responsible for the gender imbalances in economic security following a divorce.

Instead, this Article posits that gender bias against women — bias that is completely separate from women’s caretaking or breadwinning status — also harms women in divorce proceedings. This gender bias may be harbored by judges, mediators, lawyers, and even litigants themselves. To test this theory, the Article utilizes an experimental vignette study, fielded on 3,022 subjects. Subjects were randomly assigned to view one of several highly similar scenarios where a couple is divorcing after a long-term marriage, and asked to divide marital assets between them. In half of the scenarios, the male spouse was the sole breadwinner and the female spouse was the principal caretaker, consistent with traditional gender roles. But in the other half of the scenarios, the situation was reversed, with the female as the sole breadwinner and the male as the primary caretaker. Comparing results across subjects reveals that subjects consistently favored the male spouse over the similarly situated female spouse. On average, both male and female subjects assigned a greater share of the marital assets to the male breadwinner than to the female breadwinner. Male and female subjects also assigned a greater share of the marital assets to the male caretaker than to the female caretaker. The results are consistent with gender bias, as subjects penalize the female spouse in both the stereotypic (male-breadwinner/female-caretaker) and the nonstereotypic (female-breadwinner/male-caretaker) scenarios. Given these sustained preferences for the male spouse in the divorce setting, the Article concludes by considering empathy induction, auditing, and legal presumption reforms to counter the effects of bias in divorce settlements and to assist women, at last, in gaining equivalent economic standing with men after a divorce.

April 3, 2020 in Family, Gender | Permalink | Comments (0)