Wednesday, October 13, 2021
As anger grew in Britain last week over the justice system’s approach to violence against women, the public discourse has turned to a new question: Should misogyny be considered a hate crime?
The debate comes amid a broader national outcry over gender-based crimes after the murder of Sarah Everard, whose abduction and killing by a London police officer shocked Britons and forced renewed scrutiny of how the police and the courts handle such cases.
Activists, criminal justice experts and opposition lawmakers have called for legislation to expand the definition of a hate crime to ensure greater punishments for such crimes as harassment, domestic abuse and stalking and signal the seriousness of these types of offenses. But the government has so far ruled that out.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that there is already “abundant” legislation to combat violence against women but that it is not being properly enforced. In an interview during the annual Conservative Party conference last week, he acknowledged that the way the justice system handles these crimes is “just not working,” but said he felt “widening the scope” would increase the burden on the police.***
The activists point to some bracing data. One in four women in Britain have experienced sexual assault, according to government statistics. Almost one in three women will face domestic abuse in their lifetime. And on average, a woman is killed by a man every three days in the country, with many cases involving domestic violence, according to data from Femicide Census.
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
The Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network of the Law and Society Association
Global Meeting on Law & Society, Lisbon, Portugal & Virtual, July 13-16, 2022
Call for Papers – Friday, October 29 Deadline
Dear friends and colleagues,
We write to invite you to participate in panels sponsored by the Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network (FLT CRN) at the LSA-sponsored Global Meeting on Law & Society, July 13-16, 2022. Information about the conference (including registration and planning your visit) is at: https://www.lawandsociety.org/lisbon-2022-homepage. Please note that the meeting is going to be held later than usual.
The theme for the Global Meeting is Rage, Reckoning, & Remedy. Feminist legal theory should and does have a lot to say about all three topics and the urgency with which we confront them now – globally but amidst vast and escalating inequality and a crisis of rising hate, fascism, and illiberal policies across the globe.
In this context, we are especially interested in papers that bring a critical feminist lens to their topics and that embrace the international character of the conference. Such papers will address the intersectional, gendered aspects of their subjects.
The following non-exhaustive list is intended to provide examples of topic areas, and not to limit scholarly and creative engagement of feminist legal theory with the conference themes:
● Present-day inequalities caused by unacknowledged and unaddressed (or inadequately addressed) legacies of slavery and colonialism.
● Consequences of neoliberal economic and social policies amidst (so-called) globalization.
● World health and environmental crises such as HIV/AIDS, Covid 19, climate change, and military, police, and other pervasive violence against marginalized people and communities around the globe.
● Critiques of international law and human rights approaches and institutions.
● Rule of law, access to justice, and legal empowerment issues and approaches.
● Inequalities related to reproduction and reproductive technologies.
● Perspectives on exploitation and resistance movements.
● Transnational/International/Comparative feminist critiques of any topic.
We especially welcome proposals that would permit us to collaborate with other CRNs and that are (give the multidisciplinary character of LSA) multidisciplinary in approach. We strongly encourage colleagues from the Global South and indigenous colleagues to submit proposals.
Our goal is to stimulate focused discussion of papers on which scholars are currently working. Thus, while proposals may reference work that is well on the way to publication, we are particularly eager to solicit proposals for works-in-progress that are at an earlier stage and will benefit from the discussion that the panels will provide.
Per the LSA guidelines, there are several types of submissions:
1. Individual papers
2. Paper Sessions: Panels that are formed around a single theme. These consist of 4-5 paper presenters, 1 Chair and 1 Discussant (who can be the same person), and last 1 hour and 45 minutes.
3. Roundtables: These may be formed around a topic and consist of 4-8 participants, 1 Chair, and last 1 hour and 45 minutes.
4. Author Meets Reader (AMR): These are for scholarly books published in 2021. For more information, please see https://www.lawandsociety.org/author-meets-reader-newbooks- in-the-field/
LSA also encourages submission of other “creative” formats for this conference. If you have an idea that you think would work well in one of these formats, please let us know.
CRN PRIORITIES FOR THIS CONFERENCE
Individual paper submissions. The CRN gives preference this year to individual submissions. A committee of the CRN will assign individual papers to panels based on the subject. Our panels will use the conference format, which requires four papers, but we will continue our custom of assigning a chair for the panel and a commentator for each individual paper. As a condition of participating as a panelist, you must also agree to serve as a chair or commentator for another panel or participant. We will of course take into account your scheduling and topic preferences to the degree possible.
Pre-formed group submissions. Although we prefer individual paper submissions, we will consider pre-formed panels, roundtables, AMR sessions, and other group submissions that meet the following guidelines:
1. The presenters have not presented together at LSA before.
2. Junior colleagues are included.
3. A diversity of institutions are represented.
4. Interdisciplinary and international perspectives are included.
If you are already planning a conference session with at least four panelists and papers that you would like to see included in the Feminist Legal Theory CRN, please let the organizers know.
The duties of a chair are to organize the panel logistically, including registering it online with the LSA and moderating the panel. The chair will develop a 100–250-word description for the session and submit the session proposal to LSA before their upcoming deadline on November 10, 2021, so that each panelist can submit his or her proposal using the panel number assigned. Chairs will also be responsible for assigning commentators but may wait to do so until panels have been scheduled later this winter.
The duties of a commentator are to read a minimum of two papers and provide verbal comments as well as brief written (email is fine) comments.
SUBMISSION PROCESS AND GUIDELINES
Individual Papers: Please email your abstract, up to three key terms (e.g., International law, violence against women, criminal law), and whether you will be virtual to email@example.com with the Email Subject: Individual Paper Last Name.
Panels and Roundtables: Please email your abstract and up to three key terms (e.g., International law, violence against women, criminal law) and all proposal members, identifying chair and discussant and whether any member will be virtual to
firstname.lastname@example.org with the Email Subject: Panel Proposal or Roundtable Proposal Last Name.
Author Meets Reader Panels: Please email your book title and all panel members, identify chair and, whether any panelist will be virtual to email@example.com with the Email Subject: AMR Proposal Last Name.
Please remember that group proposals that are repeated from previous years, that are composed of scholars from a single institution, that contain no junior scholars and other forms of diversity may be rejected.
Be sure to first carefully read the LSA guidelines for submission formats here:
https://www.lawandsociety.org/types-of-submissions/. Please note that LSA rules limit you to participating only once as a paper panelist or roundtable participant.
Please submit all proposals by Friday, October 29. This will permit us to organize papers into panels (and potentially other formats) and submit them prior to the LSA’s deadline on November 10. If we are unable to accept your proposal for the CRN, we will notify you by early November so that you can submit an independent proposal to the conference.
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS
Please send any questions or comments to the CRN email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not send questions or submissions to individual committee members or in response to this email.
We look forward to the conference and hope you’ll join us in Lisbon or virtually to discuss our scholarship and connect with others doing work on feminist legal theory.
LSA Planning Committee
Cyra Akila Choudhury (co-chair)
Elizabeth MacDowell (co-chair)
Sheila Velez Martin
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
By: Nausica Palazzo
Published in: Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, Forthcoming
Same-sex marriage is now recognized in several jurisdictions in the West. This result is ascribable to the untiring work of LGBTQ groups, that have utilized much of their energies to attain it. Pervasive forms of discrimination because of one’s sexual orientation are still in place, such as legislation restricting access to foster and adoption services. But there is little doubt that marriage equality constituted a watershed moment for LGBTQ politics. As Justice Roberts’ immortal words in Obergefell attest to, “[n]o union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union two people become something greater than once they were.” After the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell, gay and lesbian couples could also finally create the most profound of all unions, and cease being second-class citizens. Since marriage was seen by many as “the final stop for ‘full equality’ for lesbians and gay men,” a question lurked behind these events: “what now?” The question has various ramifications. “What now?” within the LGBTQ movement? Since the final objective has now been reached, the structure, financing, and strategies of the LGBTQ movement are inevitably changing. It will thus be interesting to see which battles the movement will prioritize in the next decades. A second, more crucial “what now?” bears upon the future of family law and policy. It concerns the fate of nonmarital statuses, that have been erased at the stroke of a pen after marriage equality.
. . .
Nonmarital statuses can promote a more pluralistic model of relationship recognition, and, as I will argue, offer legal protection to families that eschew the paradigm of the traditional marital family. The case of jurisdictions that have adopted nonmarital statuses as an alternative to marriage compellingly demonstrates this point. A nonmarital status is considered as an alternative to marriage when both opposite and same-sex partners can sign up. The rationale of alternative statuses is not that of offering a separate-but-equal regime for same-sex couples but a distinct regime that any couple can choose in lieu of marriage. Examples of jurisdictions adopting these laws are Illinois, Hawaii, and Colorado and, outside of the U.S., France, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxemburg. Interestingly, in these countries, not only are nonmarital statuses being preserved but they are also becoming increasingly popular amongst heterosexual couples.
From Digital Platforms to Facial Recognition Technologies: Structural Challenges to Women’s Activism
By: Monika Zalnieriute
Submission to the Thematic Report on Girls’ and Young Women’s Activism for the 50th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
Girls and women face many challenges in engaging in activism across the globe. Both online and in public spaces in our cities, which are increasingly surveilled and monitored by government and law enforcement agencies, women face challenges. In this submission, I would like to draw attention to several issues in particular. First, many countries around the world do have discriminatory face-covering laws, which ban Muslim face coverings in public spaces and thus prevent young women and girl activists from Muslim cultural backgrounds from exercising their rights to freedom of assembly, expression and opinion, among other rights. Second, a lot of public places, including cities and airports, are increasingly equipped with facial recognition technology, which undermines women's activism in city streets and squares. Third, in the digital environment and on media platforms, women from marginalized groups, such as LGBTI communities, face new threats and challenges – their speech and expression are often suppressed and also weaponized against them. Furthermore, the rise of large-scale data collection and algorithm-driven analysis targeting sensitive information poses many threats for women activists, especially from LGBTI communities, who are especially vulnerable to privacy intrusion due to their often hostile social, political, and even legal environments. I invite the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls to:
1) Call on the UN bodies to enhance their understanding of theory intersectionality. I have recently proposed a way to enhance judicial interpretation of reconceptualizing by reference to a modified concept of “harmful cultural practices”, (paper is freely available on SSRN).
2) Call for a ban on the use of facial recognition technology by governments in public city spaces.
3) Call for the development of binding international human rights law for private actors to remedy the violations of freedom of expression of women activists, especially from LGBTI communities in the digital environment.
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
That is still the highest representation for women in Europe, at nearly 48 percent, ahead of Sweden and Finland with 47 percent and 46 percent, respectively.
“The female victory remains the big story of these elections,” politics professor Olafur Hardarson told the state broadcaster after the recount.
On average, just over a quarter of legislators globally are women, according to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Only three countries — Rwanda, Cuba and Nicaragua — have more women than men in parliament, while Mexico and the United Arab Emirates have a 50-50 split.
Iceland, a North Atlantic island of 371,000 people, has been ranked the most gender-equal country in the world for more than a decade by the World Economic Forum, based on measures such as economic opportunities, education, health and political leadership. It even bettered its overall score last year at a time when global progress stagnated during the coronavirus pandemic.
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Preface to: Accidental feminism: Gender parity and selective mobility among India's professional elite
By Swethaa Ballakrishnen
Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2021.
In India, elite law firms offer a surprising oasis for women within a hostile, predominantly male industry. Less than 10 percent of the country’s lawyers are female, but women in the most prestigious firms are significantly represented both at entry and partnership. Elite workspaces are notorious for being unfriendly to new actors, so what allows for aberration in certain workspaces?
Drawing from observations and interviews with more than 130 elite professionals, Accidental Feminism examines how a range of underlying mechanisms—gendered socialization and essentialism, family structures and dynamics, and firm and regulatory histories—afford certain professionals egalitarian outcomes that are not available to their local and global peers. Juxtaposing findings on the legal profession with those on elite consulting firms, Swethaa Ballakrishnen reveals that parity arises not from a commitment to create feminist organizations, but from structural factors that incidentally come together to do gender differently. Simultaneously, their research offers notes of caution: while conditional convergence may create equality in ways that more targeted endeavors fail to achieve, “accidental” developments are hard to replicate, and are, in this case, buttressed by embedded inequalities. Ballakrishnen examines whether gender parity produced without institutional sanction should still be considered feminist.
In offering new ways to think about equality movements and outcomes, Accidental Feminism forces readers to critically consider the work of intention in progress narratives.
Monday, September 13, 2021
ABA Webinar Today on Women's Rights, Cultural Heritage Preservation, and Economic Relief in Afghanistan
This panel of experts considers the urgency for women’s rights, cultural heritage preservation, and economic relief in Afghanistan. As of 2020, approximately 90% of Afghans lived below the poverty level of $2 per day, according to the US Congressional Research Service. At the same time, minerals generate just $1 billion in Afghanistan per year. Analysts estimate that 30% to 40% of returns are siphoned off by corruption as well as by warlords and the Taliban, which has presided over small mining projects. The World Bank warned that the economy remains "shaped by fragility and aid dependence.” Additionally, this panel explores how climate change has served as a threat multiplier for conflict and regional instability. Despite these obstacles, experts share insights on how to move beyond the current situation to harness potential for female education, women’s economic empowerment, and cultural heritage preservation. Information will be shared on how to assist those impacted directly through ABA and ABA partner institutions.
Monday, August 23, 2021
The International Center for Research on Women (IRCW) has been conducting pioneering research on gender inequity to inform policy worldwide for 45 years. On August 24 it is hosting a program titled "Adolescent Girls: Breaking Barriers, Shifting Norms."
Social norms define gender roles, responsibilities, and power dynamics. These deeply rooted, unwritten "rules" can result in harmful outcomes for adolescent girls—preventing them from accessing opportunities and realizing their rights. Fortunately, social norms can shift over time. But changing them requires deep commitment from a range of stakeholders: family members, male allies, communities, schools, policymakers, organizations, and other champions of girls' development.
During this event, the first in ICRW’s 45th anniversary series, speakers from across our global platform will discuss how ICRW helps mobilize diverse stakeholders into networks that together create an "ecosystem" to support the equitable development of both girls and boys. We will also delve into a case study from India with government representatives and youth leaders discussing illustrative examples of how to disrupt barriers and support systemic change.
You can register here for this free webinar program. It is at 8 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, August 24th.
Thursday, August 19, 2021
Mary Keyes, Women in Private International Law
There has been almost no consideration of the position of women in private international law. There is very little published research applying a feminist analysis to, or even considering the position of women in, private international law. This field gives almost no attention to the particular interests, positions and experiences of women as subjects of the law, or the contribution of women as makers of the law. In the common law, private international law was largely developed in the 19th century, by male judges who were strongly influenced by commentary written exclusively by men. This chapter establishes that the apparently gender-neutral nature of private international law conceals profoundly ingrained assumptions about gender, in which the masculine is represented as a rational and sophisticated businessman, and the feminine is represented as a legally incapable wife. It then considers the gendered dimension of private international law in international family law, referring in particular to the regulation of international child abduction, international family property agreements, and international commercial surrogacy. Each of these examples demonstrates the differential impact of the law on women, indicating the need for greater awareness of and attention to gender. It concludes that while there have been some advances recently, particularly in terms of increased representation of women in making and commenting on private international law, there remains a great need for further research into the position of women as legal subjects and law-makers in this field.
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Karen Engle, Vasuki Nesiah & Dianne Otto, Feminist Approaches to International Law
This chapter offers accounts of three feminist “success stories,” each of which has invoked a sense of crisis to call for carceral and militarized international legal responses. We argue that these projects have reinforced many dangerous aspects of both feminism and international law, as they have used a focus on harm to women – particularly sexual harm – to aid in the legitimization and extension of legal, military and economic institutional arrangements that exacerbate the precarity of marginalized individuals, communities, and states. Their use of crisis has participated in the crowding out of a variety of alternative feminist (and other) perspectives, particularly those that take aim at the often quotidian forms of violence based in the overlapping structures of colonialism, racism, gender normativity, and gross economic inequality. We contend that anti-imperial and sex-positive feminisms as well as queer theory offer important vehicles for challenging the dominant approaches. We gesture toward how they might even consider invoking crisis (such as the often everyday and unnoticeable crises of neocolonial, neoliberal, carceral, and militarized dimensions of global governance) to foster transformative feminist, queer, and redistributive ends.
Thursday, July 29, 2021
Jenna Sapiano, The Boundaries of Peace: A Feminist Analysis of International Mediation Processes
Griffith Law Review, Forthcoming
The assumption that peace mediation is gender-neutral reproduces and reinforces the already gendered aftermath(s) of war. Peace mediation is a multilayered conflict resolution mechanism that ranges from grassroots peacebuilding to high-level diplomacy. As a ‘language of peace’, international law has become foundational in high-level peace mediation processes and institutions. International legal feminist and queer theory are critical of international law for its gendered and heteronormative frameworks that reinforce the binaries of war/peace, masculine/feminine or heterosexual/homosexual. Global governance gender law reforms, such as the Women, Peace and Security agenda, are part of the institutional frameworks that guide peace mediation processes. High-level peace mediators are also members of an ‘epistemic community’ regulated by international and regional organizations. The article analyses how masculine and heteronormative international legal institutions and experts shape peace mediation’s already gendered processes and outcomes. The article concludes that contemporary peace mediation approaches must be rethought and that alternatives to the traditional peace table must be imagined.
Kimberly Houser & Jamillah Bowman Williams, Board Gender Diversity: A Path to Achieving Substantive Equality in the U.S., 63 William & Mary L. Rev. (forthcoming)
While the United States made history this year with Kamala Harris becoming the first woman, Black, and Asian Vice President, the country overall has been rapidly losing its status as a global power founded on democratic principles. This is in part due to the leadership’s active involvement in reducing the rights of women, Black people, and other marginalized groups. We use gender diversity on corporate boards as a comparative example, to examine the legal frameworks designed to promote equality in the EU and U.S.
While the European Union (EU) was founded on the concept of equality as a fundamental value in 1993, the United States (U.S.) was created at a time when women were considered legally inferior to men. This has had the lasting effect of preventing women in the U.S. from making inroads into positions of power. While legislated board gender diversity mandates have been instituted in some EU countries, the United States has been loath to take that route, relying instead on the goodwill of corporate boards with little progress. On September 30, 2018, however, California enacted a law that has stirred much controversy for requiring at least one woman to be on the boards of corporations headquartered in the state by 2020. Based on our analysis, the CA bill and other similar legislative efforts will fail without parallel constitutional action and cultural change in the United States.
We begin by examining the individual, institutional, and cultural reasons why the U.S. lags so far behind the rest of the industrialized world. We then discuss recent activism by powerful institutions such as NASDAQ and Goldman Sachs that may be signs of broader cultural change and receptiveness to positive action. Next, we conduct an analysis of the legislative, cultural, and constitutional factors that have helped the EU succeed in increasing board diversity. We conclude by offering a normative solution that can pave the way to achieving gender equality in the United States. Learning from the EU model, the U.S. must let go of the Equal Rights Amendment and adopt a Substantive Equality Amendment to the Constitution requiring positive action to facilitate laws enabling gender equality. This solution will have broad cultural impact outside of the board context and will help change the lived experiences and outcomes for women in the United Stated for generations to come. It will change the course of history.
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
On June 6, 2021, Mexico implemented its constitutional mandate for “gender parity in everything” for the first time. All eyes were on the 15 governors’ seats up for grabs, with Mexico becoming the first country in the world to require that parties nominate women for governors’ races.
Women ultimately won five states: Baja California, Chihuahua, Colima, Guerrero and Tlaxcala. Votes are still being counted in Campeche, but the woman candidate has the edge, and her victory would mean Mexico elected six women governors—over one-third of the races in contention and more than ever elected at once in the United States.
True, women’s victories are concentrated in the states outside Mexico’s power centers, because that’s where parties mostly sent women candidates. Nonetheless, women will play leading roles in Mexico’s future.***
The idea of gender quotas for women candidates goes back nearly 50 years, to the United Nations’ First World Conference on Women, coincidentally held in Mexico City in 1975. At the time, the U.N. recommendations merely emphasized the importance of women’s political inclusion, but women activists and elected officials knew party leaders would need requirements, not pretty words. So in Latin America and elsewhere, women began pushing party leaders to set targets for nominating women.
In 1991, Argentina became the first country in Latin America and the world to adopt a 30 percent gender quota law for women candidates. Mexico followed, with a 1996 law recommending that parties nominate 30 percent women for the federal Congress, and a 2002 law requiring them to do so. Key to this shift was Mexico’s democratization.
Friday, June 4, 2021
Susanna Mancini & Nausica Palazzo, The Body of the Nation: Illiberalism and Gender, Routledge Handbook of Illiberalism (S. Holmes, A.Sajo, R. Uitz eds., forthcoming, 2021)
Gender has become a central feature of illiberal rhetoric and action. While socio-legal scholarship has established a clear relationship between anti-genderism and populist parties and/or the global right, the link between anti-genderism and illiberalism has not yet been clearly established. The aim of this chapter is to fill this gap.
The chapter first explicates the link between anti-genderism and global right/right-wing populism (two phenomena strictly related to contemporary illiberalism). It then establishes a more specific link between anti-genderism and illiberalism, by focusing on illiberal actors’ war on “gender ideology”, and their efforts to reshape human rights epistemology. The analysis corroborates these links by looking at three domains: immigration, religious attire, and sexual and reproductive rights.
Monday, April 12, 2021
Ninth Circuit Rules Woman Eligible for Asylum Because Domestic Abusers Persecuted her for Feminist Opinions
woman who was persecuted by domestic abusers because of a feminist political opinion is eligible for asylum in the United States, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.
Asylum applicant Maria Luisa Rodriguez Tornes didn’t have to show that her feminist opinions played the sole or predominant role in her domestic abuse, according to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at San Francisco. Rather, she only had to show that her political opinion was “one central reason” in the abuse.
Judge Susan Graber, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, wrote the April 5 panel opinion.
The Department of Justice’s Board of Immigration Appeals had found that Rodriguez Tornes was protected under the Convention Against Torture. But the immigration appeals board ruled against her on the feminism claim, holding that there were no findings that Rodriguez Tornes was abused for reasons unrelated to the relationship.
The 9th Circuit disagreed on the feminism claim, finding that Rodriguez Tornes had presented evidence to show that she was persecuted because of her political opinion.
“The record contains episode after episode of men stating, quite plainly, that they were beating, burning, raping and strangling her because she sought an equal perch in the social hierarchy,” Graber wrote.
An immigration judge had found that the Mexican government would acquiesce in Rodriguez Tornes’ torture, which means that the government would also be unwilling to stop future persecution by domestic abusers, the appeals court said.
Rodriguez Tornes had alleged that she was first beaten by her mother, partly to prepare her for future beatings by her husband. Her husband also beat her, according to the appeals court. On one occasion, he stuck a lit cigarette into her arm at 1 a.m. and ordered her to cook. When she refused, he dragged her by her hair into the kitchen. On another occasion, he burned her face with a cigarette because she refused to leave her teaching job.
[See rest of article]
Friday, March 5, 2021
Cornell Law School & London South Bank University are hosting an exciting global online conference on Friday, March 26, 2021, entitled "Beyond Western Hegemonies of International Law and Feminist Theory." The central theme of this conference will focus on the legacies and repercussions of the hegemony of Western thought within both feminist research and practice in the sphere of international law and attempts and proposals for overcoming these. Professor Chandra Mohanty, a pioneer and expert in women's and gender studies will be delivering the keynote entitled “Transnational Feminism as Insurgent Praxis.”
The full conference schedule and registration details are available here: https://support.law.cornell.edu/conferences/TLF/
Adam Chilton & Mila Versteeg, The Effect of Constitutional Gender Equality Provisions,
During the second-half of the twentieth century, provisions guaranteeing gender equality became a common feature of national constitutions. In that same period, de facto gender equality noticeably improved around the world. It is not clear, however, whether these trends are related. We explore the relationship between constitutional gender equality provisions and de facto gender equality using three different research methods: (1) cross-country regressions using data on national constitutions and gender equality; (2) a natural experiment made possible by the forced inclusion of a gender equality provision in Japan’s constitution; and (3) a survey experiment conducted in Japan on the effect of information on Japan’s legal obligations and support for reforms that would improve gender equality. Across all three methods, we find no evidence that constitutionalizing the right to gender equality translates into improved de facto gender equality. We conclude by offering some suggestive evidence that provisions guaranteeing maternity leave and protecting motherhood may be associated with improved gender equality, but these findings need further investigation.
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Beverley Baines, Federalism and Women's Equality Campaigns in Canada, final version available in Jill Vickers, Joan Grace and Cheryl Collier (eds) Handbook on Gender, Diversity and Federalism, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 2020 http://dx.doi.org/10.4337/9781788119306.00022)
The three recent campaigns to constitutionalize women’s equality rights resulted in section 28 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 35(4) of the Constitution Act, 1982, and section 50.1 of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedom. The virtually identical wording of these laws belies significant differences among these campaigns. This chapter identifies these differences by applying Judith Resnik’s concept of federalism, Jill Vickers’ concept of gender, and Davina Cooper’s concept of diversity (GDiv) to the campaigns. The concepts reveal campaign narratives that submerged multicultural, indigenous, and intercultural identities. I borrow Vrinda Narain’s concept of intersectionality to argue that dialogues about the differences between women whose identities are submerged and mainstream women should inform feminist scholarship about the interpretation(s) of sections 28, 35(4) and 50.1.
Monday, February 22, 2021
Caroline Henckels, Ronli Sifris & Tania Penovic, Dignity as a Constitutional Value: Abortion, Political Communication and Proportionality, Federal Law Review (2021)
This article examines the High Court of Australia’s treatment of the concept of dignity as both a value animating the implied freedom of political communication and as a legitimate reason to limit the exercise of that freedom. It does so through the lens of Clubb v Edwards, Preston v Avery, the where the Court found that laws establishing safe access zones around abortion clinics were compatible with the implied freedom. The use of dignity as a prism through which to view the interests at stake in both abortion and speech cases is a familiar feature of developments abroad, and the Court has laid the foundations for recognition of dignity as one of the axiological bases of the implied freedom in a manner that generally emphasises individual autonomy over other conceptions of dignity that might be described as operating as a constraint on behaviour to protect other interests. Yet while the Court has used dignity as the common measure with which to commensurate competing claims, it has yet to convincingly address concerns regarding incommensurability that attend the balancing stage of proportionality review, not to mention the potential objection that its reliance on dignity is not properly grounded in the text and structure of the Constitution. In light of these issues, the role of dignity ought to be tethered to its central role in facilitating political participation so as to more clearly link the concept to the text and structure of the Constitution, and to identify what is at stake when women’s ability to access reproductive health care is impaired or denied.
Friday, December 4, 2020
Judith Resnik, Susanne Baer & Marta Cartabia, Women, Gendered Violence, and the Construction of the "Domestic" in Seeking Safety, Knowledge, and Security in a Troubling Environment: Global Constitutionalism 2020
This Chapter provides background material for conversations held at the 2020 Global Constitutionalism Seminar (a Part of the Gruber Program on Global Justice and Women’s Rights) at Yale Law School.
This Chapter begins with an examination of the centuries-long assumption that gender-based violence was a “private” issue meant that legislatures, law enforcement agencies, and courts were unresponsive. It then maps how social movements and critical lawyering reframed gendered violence as one form of subordination that is in fact a marker of inequality and provides examples of national and transnational law that debate the bases, contours, and implications of rights to be free from such oppression. Having explored what affirmative obligations governments have toward their own populations to protect against gendered violence, this Chapter considers whether international refugee law, humanitarian law, and jurisdictions’ own constitutional law require offering a haven for people escaping gendered violence. Across the world, many courts have read constitutions to require that law aim to provide protection against and safety from gendered violence. Such mandates for an active state presence (often through criminalization) contrast with traditional approaches in which courts have insisted that law not interfere when acts are marked as private, intimate, or domestic. This Chapter explores the demands on the state and the repertoire of remedies deployed when governments work towards achieving substantive equality.