Wednesday, January 19, 2022

How Judges Should Apply the Exceptions to the Hague Abduction Convention to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence

Merle Hope Weiner, You Can and You Should: How Judges Can Apply the Hague Abduction Convention to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence, 28 UCLA Women's L. J. 223 (forthcoming)

This Article is written for trial judges who adjudicate cases pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, although appellate judges, lawyers, and scholars may also find it of interest. Trial judges are my target audience because they are the best defense against the potential injustice that the Hague Convention creates for domestic violence victims who flee transnationally with their children for safety, then face their batterers’ petitions for the children’s return. The trial judge decides whether a child is returned to the place from which the domestic violence victim fled or whether a child is allowed to remain in the United States pursuant to an exception to the Hague Convention’s remedy of return. This Article canvases the arguments that attorneys make to defeat the application of article 13(b), and refutes them by drawing upon social science, the Guide to Good Practice, its sanctioned Australian Bench Book, case law, and common sense. The Article also argues that if a trial judge cannot grant the article 13(b) exception solely because of unwarranted legal obstacles, the judge should disregard the law. This part of the Article builds upon Jeffrey Brand-Ballard’s book, Limits of Legality: The Ethics of Lawless Judging

January 19, 2022 in Courts, Family, International, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Career, Gender and Political Bias in Pretrial Decisions on Gender Violence: Evidence from a natural experiment in Spain

Career, Gender and Political Bias in Pretrial Decisions on Gender Violence: Evidence from a natural experiment

Joan-Josep Vallbé and Carmen Ramírez-Folch

The aim of this paper is to provide an explanation of the variation in lower pretrial court judicial decisions over gender-violence cases, under a civil-law system. Despite the typical anonymity of lower-court judges in such legal systems, we are able to exploit a natural experiment in Spain that allows us to estimate the effect of judges’ gender, career incentives, and policy preferences on decisions on restraining orders for victims of gender violence. Although the literature has found ample evidence of gender and ideology effects on judicial behavior when women’s rights are at stake, we argue that due to career and promotion dynamics, career incentives moderate the effect of gender and policy preferences on such decisions. We find that the probability to grant a restraining order to a victim is higher among female judges than male judges, and that left-leaning judges also tend to grant restraining orders at higher rates. However, we also observe that these mechanisms are moderated by career incentives, to the point of blurring their effects when career pressures are high. These findings are a relevant contribution to the understanding of the mechanisms behind judicial inequality under civil-law systems, where judges’ attributes tend to be unobservable by institutional design.

January 11, 2022 in Courts, Gender, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 3, 2022

Banning the Full-Face Veil: Freedom of Religion and Non-Discrimination in the Human Rights Committee and the ECHR

Sarah H. Cleveland has published her article Banning the Full-Face Veil: Freedom of Religion and Non-Discrimination in the Human Rights Committee and the European Court of Human Rights in volume 34 of the Harvard Human Rights Journal. The excerpt summarizes that:  

The international human rights to freedom of religion and protection from discrimination on grounds of religion are two such closely related rights. In Yaker v. France and its companion case Hebbadj v. France, before the UN Human Rights Committee, and in S.A.S. v. France, before the European Court of Human Rights, the two bodies reached inconsistent conclusions regarding the compatibility of France’s ban on wearing the fullface veil (the niqab or burqa) in any public space with France’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the European Convention on Human Rights, respectively. The French law purported to be religiously neutral, in that it prohibited all apparel concealing the face. However, Article 2 of the French law exempted a large number of face coverings other than the full-face veil, and, in practice, the vast majority of the checks conducted under the Act involved Muslim women wearing the full veil. Sonia Yaker, who was twice subjected to criminal fines for wearing the niqab, and the claimant in S.A.S., who wished to wear the full veil without risk of sanction, separately challenged the Act as, inter alia, violating their right to manifest their religion and constituting indirect discrimination on grounds of religion.

 

Both the Court and the Committee recognized that by imposing criminal penalties on the Muslim women claimants who chose to wear the fullface veil in public, the Act interfered with their ability to manifest their religion under Article 9 of the European Convention and Article 18 of the ICCPR, respectively. The two bodies diverged, however, in their application of the limitations provisions of those articles, as well as the nondiscrimination provisions of the two treaties. This Essay explores the treatment of the claims of religious freedom and religious discrimination by the European Court and the Committee. This case study offers an opportunity to consider the relationship between these two fundamental human rights, as well as the respective doctrinal and institutional roles of the regional Court and the more universal Committee as human rights interpreters.

January 3, 2022 in International, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 27, 2021

Vulnerable Bodies and Invisible Work

Ellen Gordon-Bouvier has published an article titled Vulnerable bodies and invisible work: The Covid-19 pandemic and social reproduction in volume 21 of the International Journal of Discrimination and the Law. The introduction situates the project within Martha Fineman's influential Vulnerability Theory and reveals the urgency of new approaches involving the Responsive State (internal citations omitted): 

Seldom has an event so clearly illustrated the core tenets of Martha Fineman’s vulnerability theory as the global Covid-19 pandemic has – that, as embodied beings, we share a constant and inescapable vulnerability, our fragile bodies living with ‘the ever-present possibility of harm and injury’ . * * *  

In this paper, I critically analyse the UK’s response to the pandemic through a vulnerability lens. In particular, I examine how the pandemic has affected the visibility and status of socially reproductive work, as well as the impact on those who perform it. Social reproduction, defined as ‘the maintenance of life on a daily basis and intergenerationally’ , includes a wide range of labour, including supporting and nurturing those who undertake paid work, caring for infant, elderly, sick, and disabled populations (either paid or unpaid), food preparation, and domestic work in the home. * * * Yet, the state consistently devalues social reproduction, denying its essential nature and society’s reliance upon it. * * * Instead, the state organises its institutions, including law, around an artificial image of autonomous liberal personhood, whereby the individual is imagined as rational, self-interested, and economically self-sufficient.

 

I argue in this paper that the pandemic has shattered the illusion of autonomous individualism that underlies the liberal state’s actions. Socially reproductive labour and society’s undeniable reliance on it have come into public view after being concealed for so long. In this sense, an image of an embodied ‘vulnerable subject’  has been forced to the forefront of the public imagination, also revealing the state’s ultimate control (and the individual’s corresponding lack of control) over the production of resilience against vulnerability. * * *

 

* * *  Unfortunately, as I argue, the UK’s response has retained a commitment to the autonomous liberal ideal and has been inadequate and ineffective as a consequence. Despite this, I suggest that the atmosphere of exceptionality and crisis generated by the pandemic has provided a glimmer of hope that a different way forward is possible. In particular, the state’s new willingness to consider non-means tested basic income schemes could be used to improve the conditions of those who perform socially reproductive labour. However, such measures must take care to avoid further perpetuating gender inequalities.

December 27, 2021 in Family, Gender, International, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Improving State Data Collection About Sex and Gender

Ben Collier and Sharon Cowan of the University of Edinburgh have posted a recent article on SSRN titled Queer Conflicts, Concept Capture and Category Co-Option: The Importance of Context in the State Collection and Recording of Sex/Gender DataThe abstract summarizes: 

Queer, trans and non-binary lives, bodies, relationships, and communities often complicate the taken-for-granted processes through which the state manages those under its power. In this article, we explore the forms of power and harm at play in attempts to quantify people through administrative processes of state data collection about sex and gender, and, in the current UK and Scottish context, examine some of the sites for wider conflicts over constructions of sex and gender in public life. We emphasise the need to collect sex / gender data in way that reflects the intersectional lives of data ‘subjects’. We also suggest that governments and public bodies should not adopt a unitary definition of sex or gender in data collection exercises such as the census, or other administrative categories such as criminal justice records, and argue that those who lobby to record ‘sex not gender’ in data collection are engaging in a strategy of concept capture, i.e. replicating a binary, biological model of sex, that excludes trans and non-binary people, through the co-option of number of administrative and legal categories across a wide range of social and political life. We conclude by recommending that public bodies asking about sex and gender should: co-produce questions with the community that is being surveyed; ensure that the wording of each question, and its rubric, is sensitive to the context in which it is asked and the purpose for which it is intended; and avoid attempting to offer any overarching standard definition of sex or gender that would be applicable in all circumstances. To engage in meaningful sex / gender data collection and recording that does not cause harm, governments and public bodies should avoid relying on reductive, over-simplistic and generalistic categories that are designed to fit the standardised norm. In being attentive to individual contexts needs and interests when formulating categories and records, they can make space for more intersectional experiences rather than generalised category-type data to be made visible.

December 27, 2021 in Gender, International, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Third Circuit Denies Asylum Claim on Grounds that Women are Not a Particular Social Group

Chavez-Chilel v. US (3d Cir. Dec. 6, 2021)

Finding substantial evidence supported the BIA’s conclusion that “Guatemalan women” is not a particular social group (“PSG”) for asylum or withholding purposes, we will deny the petition.***

 

At her merits hearing, Chavez-Chilel testified that she was raped as a teenager in Guatemala, the police did not take any action when she reported this crime, and the same man later threatened to rape her again. She explained that she feared she would be sexually assaulted or killed if she was removed to Guatemala. The IJ denied Chavez-Chilel’s applications for asylum and withholding of removal, finding that, while she was credible and that her rape qualified as past persecution, her proposed PSG, “Guatemalan women,” did not constitute a PSG for asylum or withholding of removal purposes. The IJ concluded that this PSG was not “sufficiently particular” because there was no evidence that Guatemalan women share a “unifying characteristic” or present a “unified target” for persecution. ***

 

Substantial evidence supports the BIA’s and IJ’s finding that “Guatemalan women” is not a cognizable PSG. A PSG must be: “(1) composed of members who share a common immutable characteristic, (2) defined with particularity, and (3) socially distinct within the society in question.” S.E.R.L., 894 F.3d at 540 (quotation marks and citation omitted). Particularity “addresses the outer limits of a group’s boundaries and is definitional in nature, whereas social distinction focuses on whether the people of a given society would perceive a proposed group as sufficiently separate or distinct.” Id. (quotation marks omitted). To satisfy the particularity requirement, “an alleged social group [must] have discrete and . . . definable boundaries that are not amorphous, overbroad, diffuse, or subjective, so as to provide a clear standard for determining who is a member.” Id. at 553 (quotation marks and citation omitted).

 

Chavez-Chilel’s proposed PSG lacks particularity. “[N]ot every immutable characteristic is sufficiently precise to define a [PSG],” id. at 552, and courts have concluded that a proposed PSG of all women in a particular country “is overbroad[] because no factfinder could reasonably conclude that all [of a country’s] women had a well-founded fear of persecution based solely on their gender,” Safaie v. INS, 25 F.3d 636, 640 (8th Cir. 1994) (addressing Iranian women). Reasons to depart from this general rule are not present here. For example, in Hassan v. Gonzales, 484 F.3d 513 (8th Cir. 2007), the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recognized the PSG of all Somali women because “all Somali females have a well-founded fear of persecution based solely on gender given the prevalence of” female genital mutilation. Id. at 518; see also Mohammed v. Gonzales, 400 F.3d 785, 797–98 (9th Cir. 2005) (same); In re Kasinga, 21 I. & N. Dec. 357, 365–66 (B.I.A. 1996) (recognizing PSG of “young women” in a particular tribe in Togo due to pervasive practice of female genital mutilation). Here, by contrast, there is no record evidence that all Guatemalan women share a unifying characteristic that results in them being targeted for any form of persecution based solely on their gender. Cf. A.R. 170–73, 182 (Chavez-Chilel’s testimony that she knew of no other women who suffered sexual or domestic violence); A.R. 232 (report explaining that one-third more Guatemalan women experience sexual or domestic violence against them than women in Paraguay). Accordingly, while the size of the group standing alone would not disqualify a group from being a PSG, Cece v. Holder, 733 F.3d 662, 674–75 (7th Cir. 2013), ChavezChilel has failed to demonstrate that her proposed PSG is sufficiently particularized. Thus, her alleged fear of persecution based upon membership in such a group does not provide a basis for asylum. 

 H/t Brian Soucek

 

December 15, 2021 in Courts, Gender, International, Theory, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 13, 2021

Benin's New Abortion Law

Benin's parliament has voted to expand abortion access

Before this amendment, a woman could get her pregnancy terminated if the pregnancy would threaten her health or life, in case of foetal malformation, or when the pregnancy was a result of incest or rape. The new law expands this to protect a woman’s education or career.

The new law allows abortion "upon the request of the pregnant woman, voluntary termination of pregnancy can be allowed when the pregnancy is likely to aggravate or cause a situation of material, educational, professional or moral distress incompatible with the interest of the woman and/or the unborn child."

This is notable for several reasons. First, it allows abortion on the basis of socioeconomic status. Second, it is "somewhat groundbreaking"  in the geographic region: 

Benin goes beyond the Maputo Protocol, which has been the policy goal in the region for all the states, to "protect the reproductive rights of women by authorising medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest, and where the continued pregnancy endangers the mental and physical health of the mother or the life of the mother or the foetus."

December 13, 2021 in Abortion, International, Poverty, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 6, 2021

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

On December 8th at 8 a.m. EST the International Center for Research on Women kicks off its 16 days of activism against Gender-Based Violence. The launch program is focused on how technology-facilitated gender-based violence manifests in Asia. Here is a summary of the event. 
 
Technology-facilitated GBV is a growing phenomenon that includes stalking, bullying, and sexual harassment based on sexual and gender identity, carried out online. NORC at the University of Chicago and the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) will share the results of their research related to the trends in technology-facilitated GBV, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with a closer look at the state of tech-facilitated GBV in India, Bangladesh, Thailand and Indonesia. We will also present recommendations for future programming and research priorities in the region, and open a dialogue with attendees on how to prevent, mitigate, and respond to technology-facilitated GBV in the region.

This work was funded by USAID under the Democracy, Human Rights and Governance Learning, Evaluation and Research (DRG-LER) II Activity.

Speakers will include:
- Karen Freeman, USAID Assistant Administrator for Asia (opening remarks)
- Dr. Laura Hinson, ICRW's Senior Social & Behavioral Scientist (panel moderator)
- Mithila Iyer, NORC at the University of Chicago Research Assistant
- Poulomi Pal – ICRW consultant
Here is the link to register.  This is an important opportunity for legal scholars to engage globally and to respond to changing conditions.

December 6, 2021 in Conferences, International, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 12, 2021

Dusting Off the Law Books: Recognizing Gender Persecution in Conflicts and Atrocities

Lisa Davis, Dusting Off the Law Books: Recognizing Gender Persecution in Conflicts and Atrocities, 20 Nw. J. Hum. Rts. 1 (2021).

In this article Professor Davis illuminates the prevalence of, and lack of recognition and response to, gender-based crimes designed to reinforce oppressive and discriminatory gender narratives in times of armed conflict. The abstract for this article is below.

War-time abuses against women, girls, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer (LGBTIQ), non-binary and gender non-conforming persons are not new. They are as old as human history, appearing in modern international criminal law records as far back as World War II (WWII). In conflicts across the globe, from Iraq to Colombia, armed actors have perpetrated gender-based crimes amounting to persecution in an effort to reinforce oppressive, discriminatory gender narratives. Rarely documented when they happen, perpetrators are hardly ever held accountable for these crimes. As a result, the crimes are often excluded from consideration by international and domestic tribunals, and in effect, are left out of history. International criminal jurisprudence is silent on gender persecution, despite international law’s decades-long recognition of it as a crime. This silence derives from a lack of recognition and understanding of the intent to discriminate against a group based on their gender. The inclusion of gender persecution as a crime against humanity in the Rome Statute, which governs the International Criminal Court (ICC), provides a pathway forward for the international community to meaningfully challenge this type of harm. Such recognition would demonstrate to the world that targeting women, girls, LGBTIQ, non-binary and gender non-conforming persons because of their gender is a crime against humanity. This article contains three sections: (1) Understanding Gender Persecution; (2) Applying a Gender Persecution Lens, and (3) Recognizing Gender Persecution Survivors’ Rights to Participation. The article concludes with practical recommendations for the international community and local communities to increase recognition, prevention and redress for gender persecution and promote a survivor-centered approach for peace and transitional justice processes.

November 12, 2021 in Gender, International, LGBT, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 8, 2021

Justice for Victims of the Guatemalan Sexually Transmitted Disease Experiments

Susan S. Lee & Aurora J. Grutman have published a new article Seeking Justice for Victims of the Guatemalan Sexually Transmitted Disease Experiments 1946-1948 in Volume 39 of the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law. The abstract states that: 

Between 1946 and 1948, researchers sponsored by the United States government intentionally exposed more than 1,300 Guatemalan men and women to sexually transmitted diseases without their informed consent. Many of the surviving victims and their descendants suffer from the effects of untreated syphilis, gonorrhea, and similar illnesses. But the general public did not become aware of these non-consensual human experiments for more than sixty years. After a researcher uncovered the experiments, the United States government apologized to the Guatemalan victims, but the victims received no compensation for their injuries. So far, the efforts of the victims to receive legal redress for their injuries have been unsuccessful.
 
This Article has two aims—one descriptive and the other conceptual. First, it seeks to bring awareness to the history and legacy of the Guatemalan sexually transmitted disease experiments. Second, it argues that litigation—even if unsuccessful—can play a role in amplifying the victims’ voices in a way that acknowledges their pain and helps to repair harm that was done. Even if the United States government is immune from formal legal liability, the government and the corporate interests that benefitted from the Guatemalan experiments, have a moral obligation to compensate the victims. The lens of reproductive justice makes clear this obligation. By critically investigating the Guatemalan sexually transmitted disease experiments and their legacy, one can better understand how gender, race, socioeconomic class, geopolitical power, and even geography informed the initial decision to conduct non-consensual human experimentation in that country and why the victims have been unable to obtain formal legal recognition for their suffering. 
 

November 8, 2021 in Gender, Healthcare, International, Legal History, Race, Reproductive Rights, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Forced Marriage: Law and Practice in Pakistan

Forced Marriage: Law and Practice in Pakistan

By: Sania Islam

This research examines the reasons why and the circumstances in which Pakistani women began a common-law relationship against their will, and the role played by their families. A recent national survey shows that 4.1 percent of indigenous women were obliged to marry and 4.8 percent were sold. This practice is conceptualized as an expression of both family and partner violence against women, but it is not often labelled and recognized as such. Forced marriage is associated with women’s transgression of traditional gender roles and rape, as well as traditions and practices that consider women’s opinions and consent as unnecessary. Forced marriages are less common now than they were in the past because of the greater awareness of women’s rights. But the practice persists. The link between non-consensual marriages and intimate partner violence is discussed, and public policy implications are presented. Forced marriage is frequently portrayed as an issue which only affects South Asian women and girls, however, this is not correct. Forced marriage affects a wide range of communities, including Irish Traveller, Turkish, Roma, Afghan, South Asian, Kurdish, Iranian, Arab and African communities. There are no religions which support or advocate the practice of forced marriage. Forced marriage can happen to anyone from any background, regardless of social class, financial status and sexuality, which include people who identify as lesbian, bi-sexual, gay and transgender, or are perceived as such. In a UK context, the needs and experiences of some affected groups are often less visible, and only specific groups are highlighted. It is important to be aware that forced marriage disproportionately impacts women and girls and is therefore recognized as a form of violence against women and girls. When a forced marriage occurs, several human rights are breached. Women’s experience of abuse often does not end with the pressure to marry. Many women are also subjected to different forms of abuse within the context of their marriage. This can range from emotional, psychological and financial abuse to sexual and physical violence.

October 19, 2021 in Family, Gender, International, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

UK Asks Whether Misogyny Should be a Hate Crime

NYT, After Killings, UK Asks, Should Misogyny Be a Hate Crime?

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.

October 13, 2021 in International, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

CFP Feminist Legal Theory Network at Law and Society Annual Meeting

SUBMISSION LINK UPDATED (10/27): 1feministlegaltheory@gmail.com 

 

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.

SUBMISSION TYPES
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 1femnistlegaltheory@gmail.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
1femnistlegaltheory@gmail.com 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 1femnistlegaltheory@gmail.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: 1femnistlegaltheory@gmail.com. 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.


Best,
LSA Planning Committee
Cyra Akila Choudhury (co-chair)
Elizabeth MacDowell (co-chair)
April Cherry
Laura Kessler
Anibal Rosario-Lebron
Sheila Velez Martin
Ezgi Şerif

October 6, 2021 in Call for Papers, Conferences, International, Scholarship, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Marriage Apostates: Why Heterosexuals Seek Same-Sex Registered Partnerships

Marriage Apostates: Why Heterosexuals Seek Same-Sex Registered Partnerships

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. 

October 5, 2021 in Constitutional, Courts, Family, Gender, International, LGBT, Same-sex marriage | Permalink | Comments (0)

From Digital Platforms to Facial Recognition Technologies: Structural Challenges to Women’s Activism

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.

October 5, 2021 in Constitutional, Gender, International, LGBT, Religion, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Iceland Parliament (Almost) Reaches Gender Parity and Europe's First Female-Majority Legislature

Iceland Elected the First Female-Majority Parliament in Europe. A Recount Reversed It.

Iceland heralded a weekend election result that would have made it the first country in Europe to have more women than men in parliament. But the celebrations were brief: A late recount put it just below gender parity.

 

Early results showed women won 33 seats in Iceland’s 63-seat Parliament, known as the Althing, up from 24 in the previous vote. Hours later, a surprise recount in the west of the country changed the outcome, leaving female candidates with 30 seats, according to state broadcaster RUV.

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.

September 29, 2021 in International, Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

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

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

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

By Swethaa Ballakrishnen

Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2021.

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 13, 2021

ABA Webinar Today on Women's Rights, Cultural Heritage Preservation, and Economic Relief in Afghanistan

Today from 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. EST the ABA is hosting a free webinar titled Afghanistan on the Brink: Risk Assessments for Women’s Rights, Cultural Heritage Preservation and Economic Relief. The program description looks timely and relevant to blog readers. 
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. 

September 13, 2021 in Conferences, International, Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 23, 2021

Program on Adolescent Girls: Breaking Barriers, Shifting Norms (Aug. 24)

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.  

August 23, 2021 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Women in Private International Law, as Legal Subjects and as Lawmakers

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.

August 19, 2021 in International, Judges, Legal History, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)