Monday, January 16, 2023

Conference on Health, Equity, and Law after Dobbs

American University Washington College of Law's Health Law and Policy Program has opened registration for an inter-disciplinary conference on "Health, Equity, and Law after Dobbs" scheduled for February 24th and 25th in Washington, D.C. The event will take a distinctly inter-disciplinary approach bringing together scholars with legal, medical, public health, and sociological perspectives on the aftermath of the Dobbs decision. The conference also brings together four academic programs collaboratively planning the event: American University Washington College of Law, American University Department of Sociology, The George Washington Law School, and The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. The event is also hosted in partnership with the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics. The conference goals are described here:  

By assembling an interdisciplinary group of researchers, practitioners, and advocates, the conference will provide a fuller picture of both the impact of the law on the books and the realities of the law on the ground. The goal of the conference is to help scholars, practitioners, advocates, and students understand current policy and practice related to abortion, as well as the reverberating effects of the Dobbs decision on the delivery of health care and society more broadly. It also aims to develop a research agenda and a broader strategic focus for advancing more equitable access to reproductive health care in the long term.

Register for the free event here. Check out the agenda for the program here

January 16, 2023 in Abortion, Conferences, Healthcare, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

NALP Publishes its Annual Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms

The National Association of Law Placement has published its 2022 data on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms.

The introduction outlines the findings and conclusions of this important annual report: 

Overall, women and people of color continued to make measured progress in representation at major U.S. law firms in 2022 as compared with 2021, according to the latest demographic findings from the analyses of the 2022 NALP Directory of Legal Employers (NDLE) — the annual compendium of legal employer data published by NALP. At the associate level, women now make up almost half of all associates — and will soon likely become the majority based on the summer associate demographics — where women have surpassed the 50% threshold for the past 5 years.

 

By race/ethnicity, Black associates saw the biggest year-over-year increase in representation, up by more than half of a percentage point to 5.77% of all associates. Likewise, Black summer associates saw large gains this year, increasing by 0.7 percentage points to 11.85% of all summer associates. The share of summer associates who are women and/or people of color continues to exceed that of associates by 6-15 percentage points, suggesting that the associate ranks will persist in their diversification over the next few years.

 

Progress at the partnership level has moved at a more sluggish pace, particularly for women of color. Black and Latinx women each continued to account for less than 1% of all partners in 2022. The percentage of Black partners overall increased by just 0.1 percentage points, from 2.22% of all partners in 2021 to 2.32%. Latinx partners experienced a similar increase, growing from 2.86% of all partners in 2021 to 2.97% in 2022. 

January 16, 2023 in Law schools, Race, Women lawyers, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Interview with Author of New Shirley Chisholm Biography

The 19th features an interview of historian Anastasia Curwood on her new biography of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress.  The article explains why a "cradle to grave" biography about Chisholm is so important: 

Shirley Chisholm was a trailblazer: the first Black woman elected to Congress and the first Black candidate and the first woman candidate for a major-party nomination for president of the United States. Still, despite her tremendous influence on American politics, biographies of Chisholm have been immensely hard to come across. 

With her recently released book, “Shirley Chisholm: Champion of Black Feminist Power Politics,” Anastasia C. Curwood, a professor and interim chair of the Department of History at the University of Kentucky, hopes to alleviate this gap. A cradle-to-grave biography as Curwood calls it, the book gives insight into who Chisholm was as a person and how Chisolm’s many lived experiences and multiple identities shaped who she was. In the book, Curwood coins the term “Black Feminist Power Politics” to describe how Chisholm’s identity as a Black woman born to immigrant parents in a working-class family allowed her to empathize with the lived experiences of marginalized individuals and informed her politics. 

The 19th article features an interview with the author describing many themes of the book. The book was published on January 10, 2023. 

January 16, 2023 in Legal History, Legislation, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Conference Jan. 27, The Age of Roe: The Past, Present, and Future of Abortion in America

Harvard Radcliffe Institute, The Age of Roe: The Past, Present, and Future of Abortion in America

Harvard Radcliffe Institute will hold a major public conference January 26–27, 2023, to probe the complex and unpredictable ways that Roe v. Wade and its aftermath shaped the United States and the world beyond it for nearly half a century. The existential issue of abortion—and the galvanizing impact of Roe in particular—transformed the nation’s politics and public policy and its social movement energies, as well as the operations of the courtroom and the clinic. 

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, eminent thinkers will gather as a diverse group, along many axes of difference, neither to praise Roe nor to bury it. Focusing on five major themes—voices from the front lines, international contexts, race and class, American public life, and visions of the future—a broad array of scholars, clinicians, and activists will engage in searching, interdisciplinary discussions to anatomize Roe’s impacts, including in the post-Dobbs landscape.

January 11, 2023 in Abortion, Conferences, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

SCOTUS Asks SG to Weigh in on Granting Cert for NC Charter School Case Mandating Girls Wear Skirts

Supreme Court Could Consider Charter School Dress Code

The Supreme Court is asking the Biden administration to weigh in on whether it should take up a case over a North Carolina charter school’s dress code requiring its girl students to wear skirts or dresses.

In a brief order Monday, the justices invited U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar to weigh in on whether the court should take up that case, Charter Day School v. Peltier, one of several major court cases in recent years that challenge school dress code policies as sexist and discriminatory.

Charter Day School, a K-8 public charter school operated by a private contractor in Leland, North Carolina, says it seeks to provide a “classical, traditional-values-based education,” enforced in part with a dress code designed to promote “mutual respect between boys and girls.” The case centers around the school’s policy, blocked by a federal court, requiring girls to wear a skirt, skort or jumper to school. ***

In 2019, District Judge Malcolm Howard ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, and prohibited the school from enforcing the skirt requirement. Both parties appealed the case to a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which ruled that dress codes treating boys and girls differently violated Title IX, but that the school was not an actor of the state and thus couldn’t be sued on constitutional grounds for its dress code policies. 

The full 4th Circuit reheard the case and largely ruled against the school in a 10-6 ruling in June 2022, finding that the school is a state actor and thus violated the Equal Protection Clause with its skirt requirement. The ruling remanded whether the policy violated Title IX back to the district court. 

Judge Barbara Milano Keenan wrote the court’s opinion and noted that “nothing in the Equal Protection Clause prevents public schools from teaching universal values of respect and kindness.”

“But,” she continued, “those values are never advanced by the discriminatory treatment of girls in a public school. Here, the skirts requirement blatantly perpetuates harmful gender stereotypes as part of the public education provided to North Carolina’s young residents.”  

In September 2022, Charter Day School asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case. 

January 11, 2023 in Constitutional, Education, Gender, SCOTUS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Impact of Gender Bias on Career Progression

Jasmijn C. Bol & Hila Fogel-Yaari, Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Impact of Gender Bias on Career Progression

Despite focused efforts, the pay gap persists, and women are under-represented in upperlevel management and high-level government positions (Korn, Weber, and Fuller 2022; Horowitz, Igielnik, and Parker 2018). It is often suggested that the “glass ceiling,” which describes top positions being inaccessible to women, is the root cause of women not being equally represented at the highest levels. To “shatter the glass ceiling,” social and regulatory pressure is put on companies to hire women for top executive positions and the board of directors (Jamali 2020; Srinidhi, Sun, Zhang, and Chen 2020; Orbach 2017). We posit, however, that “shattering the glass ceiling” is not enough because the challenges for women start early on and are present throughout women’s career progressions. They begin at the initial application for a job and continue through the hiring decision, task allocation, and subsequent evaluation and promotion. These persistent disadvantages throughout women’s careers are referred to as “sticky floors” (Ciminelli, Schwellnus, and Stadler 2021). Moreover, not only are these challenges ongoing, but they also manifest in numerous ways. Some of these manifestations of gender differentiation would not make a big difference by themselves, but in accumulation, can have a significant impact on women’s careers (Hardy, Tey, Cyrus-Lai, Martell, Olstad, and Uhlmann 2022). We describe this impact of the ongoing and multifaceted gender differentiations as a professional “death by a thousand cuts.” In this chapter, we examine the theoretical underpinning of gender bias and discuss
the empirical evidence that shows these ongoing challenges for women.

January 11, 2023 in Business, Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

DOJ Legal Opinion Clarifies that Post Office May Send Abortion Pills in Mail, Even in States that Ban Abortion

Carrie Baker, Ms. The Postal Service Can Deliver Abortion Pills by Mail--Even in States Banning Abortion

Last November, conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit asking a Texas court to ban abortion pills from the U.S. mail. The suit cited an archaic 19th-century anti-obscenity law: the 1873 Comstock Law. Promoted by anti-vice crusader Anthony Comstock and described as a “chastity” law, it banned sending obscene literature, contraceptives, abortifacients or any sexual information through U.S. mail.

After the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that women have a fundamental right to abortion, the Comstock Law remained on the books but was not enforced. Now that the Supreme Court has reversed Roe, the question was: Does that law now ban mailing abortion pills?

In response to a request for clarification from the U.S. Postal Service, the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel issued a legal opinion made public on Jan. 3 stating that the Comstock Law does not prohibit mailing abortion pills if the sender does not know that the medications will be used illegally.

The DOJ opinion, authored by Assistant Attorney General Christopher H. Schroeder, argues the law applies only to “unlawful” abortions. Those sending or delivering pills “typically will lack complete knowledge of how the recipients intend to use them and whether that use is unlawful under relevant law.”

Abortion is allowed by federal law, Schroeder wrote, and every state allows abortion in some circumstances, such as to preserve the life of a pregnant woman.

Individuals receiving abortion pills have “a constitutional right to travel to another state that has not prohibited that activity and to ingest the drugs there,” the opinion reads—so “someone sending a woman these drugs is unlikely to know where she will use them, which might be in a state in which such use is lawful.”

The opinion concludes, “therefore, even when a sender or deliverer of mifepristone or misoprostol, including USPS, knows that a package contains such drugs—or indeed that they will be used to facilitate an abortion—such knowledge alone is not a sufficient basis for concluding that [the law] has been violated.”

The decision applies to USPS and other carriers, such as United Parcel Service and FedEx.

January 10, 2023 in Abortion, Healthcare, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 9, 2023

Donley and Lens on "Abortion, Pregnancy Loss, & Subjective Fetal Personhood"

Greer Donley and Jill Wieber Lens have published their article Abortion, Pregnancy Loss, & Subjective Fetal Personhood in volume 75 of the Vanderbilt Law Review. The abstract provides as follows: 

Long-standing dogma dictates that recognizing pregnancy loss threatens abortion rights--acknowledging that miscarriage and stillbirth involve the loss of something valuable, the theory goes, creates a slippery slope to fetal personhood. For decades, antiabortion advocates have capitalized on this tension and weaponized the grief that can accompany pregnancy loss in their efforts to legislate fetal personhood and end abortion rights. In response, abortion rights advocates have at times fought legislative efforts to support those experiencing pregnancy loss and, more recently, remained silent, alienating those who suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth.

 

This Article argues that this perceived tension can be reconciled through the concept of subjective and relational fetal value. The Article derives this concept from pregnancy loss research, which demonstrates that a pregnant person’s attachment to their fetus is based on myriad individualized factors. Attachment in pregnancy is neither fixed nor biological and therefore does not support the antiabortion concept of personhood-at-conception. We suggest that tort law offers a way forward: a model of recognizing subjective, relational fetal value that does not collapse into personhood-at-conception. Thus, abortion rights advocates can recognize and support those experiencing pregnancy loss without ceding ground on abortion rights.

 

Most importantly, this Article proposes that recognition of pregnancy loss within abortion narratives will better position the abortion rights movement for a post-Roe America in which abortion and pregnancy loss are inexorably intertwined. Without legal abortion access, women will turn to self-managed abortion. But because complications from self-managed abortion are indistinguishable from miscarriage, investigation and criminalization of pregnancy loss will increase as a mechanism to enforce abortion laws. Further, restrictions on abortion will limit medical treatments for pregnancy loss. Looking forward, we argue that an abortion rights narrative that can join forces with the pregnancy loss community by acknowledging subjective fetal value will be less alienating to many Americans and reflect nuanced views on the meaning of pregnancy. Last, appreciating the blurriness between abortion and pregnancy loss will help normalize and destigmatize all pregnancy endings that do not result in a live birth--abortion, stillbirth, and miscarriage-- benefitting all pregnant people.

January 9, 2023 in Abortion, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Right to Build Families Act of 2022 Introduced to Congress

The Right to Building Families Act was introduced into Congress by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Congresswoman Susan Wild (D-PA-07) in December 2022. This bill would prohibit states from limiting the rights of individuals to access assisted reproductive technologies. It would prohibit states from regulating reproductive genetic material. It would protect providers who deliver counseling related to assisted reproductive technologies. It authorizes the Department of Justice to pursue civil actions for violations.

The background summary of the bill provides: 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four women married to men have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term. This does not include the many LGBTQ+ couples and those that choose to parent without a partner who may need assisted reproductive technologies (ART), such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), to start and grow families. Since 1981, those hoping to become parents from across the country have used ART, and to date, over one million infants have been born because of the availability of this medical procedure. About two percent of all infants born in the United States each year are conceived via ART, and the CDC has noted that the use of IVF specifically has more than doubled over the past decade.

Check out the full text of the bill here

January 9, 2023 in Legislation, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 6, 2023

Webinar, Advice from Gender and Law Journal Editors, Tips for Prospective Authors

Advice from Gender & Law Journal Editors: Tips for Prospective Authors

Live Zoom Webinar

January 20, 2023 2 pm Eastern/11am Pacific

Advance (free) registration required:  https://pace.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_iUMHoSY7TNiUby920O9cSA

Specialty law journals are important outlets for legal scholars working on gender-related issues. What are gender journal editors looking for when they review articles? How can authors improve their chances of receiving an offer of publication? What is the best time to submit an article to a gender journal? What role do the author’s cover letter and CV play in the selection process? Hear from current student editors at three journals—the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, the Michigan Journal of Gender & Law, and the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism—with answers to these questions along with advice and tips for navigating the submission process. 

Moderators: Bridget J. Crawford (Pace) and Kathryn M. Stanchi (UNLV)

Participating Editors: Renée Mihail, Yale Law ’24; Hannah Mezzacapa, Michigan Law ’23; Addie Davies, Harvard Law ‘23

This webinar is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the US Feminist Judgments Project and co-sponsored by the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, together with The Feminism and Legal Theory Project, The Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative, the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies at Osgoode, and the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education.

January 6, 2023 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

FDA Says Retail Pharmacies Can Now Offer Abortion Pills

FDA Says Retail Pharmacies Can Now Offer Abortion Pills

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalized a regulatory change on Tuesday that allows retail pharmacies to offer abortion pills.

Before now, patients could only get this two-drug medication through clinics, doctors and a handful of mail-order pharmacies.

Two companies that make the medication, Danco Laboratories and GenBioPro, announced the news after they were notified by the FDA of the change.

"At a time when people across the country are struggling to obtain abortion care services, this modification is critically important to expanding access to medication abortion services and will provide healthcare providers with an additional method for providing their patients with a safe and effective option for ending early pregnancy," Danco said in a statement.***

Patients will still need a doctor’s prescription to access the drugs, and pharmacies must follow certain rules to dispense the medication.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists applauded the move.

January 6, 2023 in Abortion, Healthcare, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Members of the Military will Now Get 12 Weeks of Parental Leave

Military Members Will Now Get 12 Weeks of Parental Leave

Members of the military will now get 12 weeks of parental leave, doubling the previous amount, after a memorandum from the Department of Defense went into effect Wednesday.

The 12 weeks are for both birthing and non-birthing parents, which includes parents of recently adopted children and members who use surrogates, and applies to parents of children born or adopted after Dec. 27, 2022.

Eligible members must be in active or reserve duty for at least 12 months.

Parents giving birth will also receive a period of convalescence to recover from labor "if such leave is specifically recommended, in writing, by the health care provider of the birth parent to address a diagnosed medical condition and is approved by the unit commander," the memo states.

January 6, 2023 in Family, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

SC Strikes Down Six Week Abortion Ban, While Idaho Upholds Abortion Ban and Civil Enforcement Law

The State, SC's 6-Week Abortion Ban is Unconstitutional, State Supreme Court Rules

The South Carolina Supreme Court on Thursday struck down the state’s six-week abortion ban, ruling 3-2 that it violated the state’s constitutional right to privacy.

In its 147-page opinion, the state’s high court wrote, in part, “We hold that our state constitutional right to privacy extends to a woman’s decision to have an abortion.”

In the majority were state Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty, Justice John Few and Justice Kaye Hearn, the lone woman on the Supreme Court, who will retire this year. Justices John Kittredge and George James dissented. ***

Because South Carolina is one of 10 states to include a specific citizen’s right to privacy in its Constitution, the court’s decision came down to whether the six-week abortion ban constituted an “unreasonable invasion of privacy.”

The state had argued the right to privacy applied only to criminal defendants in the context of search and seizure and did not extend to an individual’s decisions about their own medical care, arguing the Constitution never mentioned abortion or a woman’s right to bodily autonomy.

The Supreme Court majority rejected the state’s argument that citizen’s privacy rights should be limited in this way and found the state’s definition actually ran contrary to prior state Supreme Court rulings.

AP, South Carolina Supreme Court Strikes Down Abortion Ban

The South Carolina Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a ban on abortion after six weeks, ruling the restriction enacted by the Deep South state violates a state constitutional right to privacy.

The decision marked a significant victory for abortion rights’ advocates suddenly forced to find safeguards at the state level after the U.S. Supreme Court overtured Roe v. Wade in June.

With federal abortion protections gone, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic sued in July under the South Carolina constitution’s right to privacy. Restrictions in other states are also facing challenges, some as a matter of religious freedom.

But since the high court’s momentous decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, no state court until Thursday in South Carolina had ruled definitively whether a constitutional right to privacy — a right not explicitly enumerated in the U.S. Constitution — extends to abortion.

Idaho SCT Upholds Abortion Ban, Civil Enforcement Law

In a 3-2 decision, the Idaho Supreme Court upheld Idaho’s abortion ban and the civil enforcement law allowing providers to be sued for performing abortions in an opinion released Thursday. 

Planned Parenthood and one of its abortion providers, Dr. Caitlin Gustafson, filed three separate challenges with the Idaho Supreme Court, beginning with the civil enforcement bill — also known as the heartbeat bill — in April. Two other challenges were filed in June and July, after the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and return the ability to regulate abortion to the states.

Since August, Idaho has had a near-total abortion ban in effect that only permits defenses in court for abortions performed to save a pregnant person’s life or in documented cases of rape and incest. The civil enforcement law allows immediate and extended family members to sue medical providers who perform abortions for no less than $20,000. The law went into effect at the same time as the ban.

 

January 6, 2023 in Abortion, Constitutional, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Second Circuit Upholds Transgender Sports Policy Allowing Male Students who Identify as Female to Compete in Girls' Athletics

Female Track Athletes Lose Appeal Against Connecticut's Transgender Sports Policy

A federal appeals court has rejected a challenge to Connecticut’s policy allowing male students who identify as female to compete in girls’ athletics, a case with national implications for the debate over fairness and inclusion in competitive sports.
 
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York affirmed on Tuesday the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by four female high school athletes against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s transgender-participation policy after losing races to biological males.
 
The 29-page decision, written by senior U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin, an Obama appointee, found that the girls lacked standing because they were still afforded the opportunity to compete in state track meets. The ruling affirmed a federal district court’s decision to dismiss the case in April 2021.

January 4, 2023 in Gender, LGBT, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Senate Passes Protections for Pregnant Workers and New Mothers

Senate Passes Protections for Pregnant Workers and New Mothers

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act passed the Senate with bipartisan support on Thursday as amendments to the omnibus spending package.

Why it matters: It's a major milestone for women's workplace civil rights. Advocates have pushed for protections for pregnant workers for over a decade, arguing that thousands of women lose their jobs each year — either fired or placed on unpaid leave — because employers are under no obligation to offer pregnant workers reasonable accommodations.

  • Those would include things like extra bathroom breaks, the ability to sit while working a cash register or restrictions on how much weight they can lift.

January 4, 2023 in Equal Employment, Family, Legislation, Pregnancy, Work/life | Permalink | Comments (0)

Book Author Interview, Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality

Strict Scrutiny, Author Interview, Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality

Tomiko Brown-Nagin joins Melissa and Kate to discuss her book Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality. You may recognize the name Constance Baker Motley from Ketanji Brown Jackson’s speech upon receiving her nomination to SCOTUS. Motley was the first black woman to be appointed to the federal bench– and she and Justice Jackson share a birthday. Judge Motley’s story illustrates the fights for equality, across race and gender lines, in the mid-20th century.

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

January 4, 2023 in Books, Judges, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Ohio Six Week Abortion Ban Remains Block After Appellate Declines Review of Preliminary Injunction Invalidating the Law

Been getting lots of questions about this status in Ohio:

Ohio's Abortion Law Will Remain Blocked for Now After Appeals Court Decision

The First District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati has denied the state's request on taking up its appeal of a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of a state law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

A Hamilton County Court Judge issued the preliminary injunction Oct. 7.

The court says it can only rule on the issue if the Hamilton County judge issues a final ruling on whether the state law on abortion is constitutional.

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Ohio, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the law firm WilmerHale will now proceed with litigation to get a permanent injunction on behalf of Ohio abortion providers.

With the preliminary injunction still in place for now, abortions that happen at up to 22 weeks of pregnancy will remain legal in Ohio

January 3, 2023 in Abortion, Constitutional, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Gender Bias Worsened the Academic Peer Review Crisis

Chronicle of Higher Ed, How Gender Bias Worsened the Peer Review Crisis

Mounting evidence suggests the peer-review crisis in academic publishing was worsened, in part, by a system that favors male scholars and discourages women.

A new study of nearly 50 journals in the British Medical Journals Publishing Group found that women accounted for less than one in three peer reviewers — scholars who are experts in their field and are critical to vetting new research before it’s published in academic journals. The proportion of female peer reviewers grew by only 2.9 percentage points between 2009 and 2020. ***

At a time when journal editors across fields and publishing houses say finding peer reviewers is harder than ever, why aren’t more tapping into the pool of female professors and researchers?

Ana-Catarina Pinho-Gomes, an academic clinical lecturer at the University College London who researches biases against women in medical research, said the gap can be traced back to how editors select reviewers.

In the early days of peer review, journal editors, who were predominantly white men, would mine their own professional networks — also comprised of mostly white men — to find reviewers. Today, most journals use search engines, like PubMed or Google Scholar, and internal databases to identify, track, and make requests of reviewers. In theory, this system would cut down on individual editor bias. But in practice, Pinho-Gomes said, it carries forward biases from earlier in the pipeline of academic research.

Scholars with more published work are more likely to come up in databases and search engines as potential reviewers, Pinho-Gomes said. For decades, research has shown that women have published less frequently than men in part because women still take on the lion’s share of child and elder care for their families, leaving less time for career advancement and research pursuits. Thus, more-published scholars tend to be men

January 3, 2023 in Books, Gender, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Book Review, Roe: The History of a National Obsession

Book Review, Mary Ziegler, Roe: The History of a National Obsession

UC Davis law professor Ziegler (Dollars for Life) analyzes in this expert study how the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion captured the nation’s imagination as “a meta-symbol of our many political and cultural disagreements and a shorthand for their inherent contradictions.” In the 1960s, a series of legal cases carved out exceptions to abortion bans for rape, incest, and fetal defects; Ziegler notes opposition from both anti-abortion activists (who believed in fetal personhood) and the women’s liberation movement (which believed abortion should be a constitutional right). In the 1970s, the Hyde Amendment, which blocked Medicaid funding for abortion, led abortion rights activists to elevate the message that Roe was about women’s freedom of choice, while right-to-lifers increasingly sought to upend the Republican establishment. Among other themes, the decades after Roe saw the intertwining of anti-abortion groups and evangelical Christianity; the politicization of science and expertise, especially around the concept of “partial birth abortion”; and the foregrounding of racial issues, with anti-abortion activists highlighting Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s belief in eugenics and abortion rights organizations shifting from a white-centered choice message to a reproductive justice framework. Ziegler sets a brisk pace but delivers substantial depth as she reveals just how much the terms of this debate have shifted in the 50 years between Roe and its recent overturning. It’s a must-read for those seeking to understand what comes next. (Jan.)

January 3, 2023 in Abortion, Books, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 19, 2022

Patrice Ruane Publishes Article on Women's Employment from the Great Depression to the Great Recesssion

Patrice Ruane has published From Pin Workers to Essential Workers: Lessons About Women's Employment and the Covid-19 Pandemic from the Great Depression and the Great Recession in volume 29 of the UCLA Journal of Gender and the Law. The abstract is here: 

This Article argues that inaccurate ideas about women and work during economic downturns, including misconceptions about which women work and how they work, lead to inadequate policy responses and ultimately hurt working women. New Deal-era federal women’s aid programs, designed around an artificial picture of the average working woman, did not provide the same robust level of jobs support that men’s programs provided. Similarly, the major federal stimulus package during the Great Recession invested in male-majority industries but failed to invest in industries dependent upon women’s labor, in part because of the misconception that working women were already “winning” the jobs race. Framing the average working woman during the pandemic recession as a remote worker in a two-income household has the potential to steer federal policy away from avenues that would help the majority of women workers who are not remote workers in two-income households. Recovery efforts during the Great Depression and the Great Recession were gender-informed and effective, but biased toward men. These recovery efforts were concentrated in male-majority industries and consequently led to men’s employment recovering long before women’s employment did. Because pandemic-related job losses have been so unevenly borne by women, gender-informed recovery policies are not only justifiable, but necessary to achieve equitable recovery.

 

This Article also questions the speculation, articulated in an influential paper by a group of economists, that the COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate changing social norms and lead to greater gender parity by increasing the number of people who are accustomed to working remotely and driving men to take on additional childcare responsibilities. The conditions following the Great Depression and the Great Recession were more conducive to changing gender norms and expectations because both events disrupted traditional male-breadwinner models of the family and resulted in large numbers of families in which the woman was employed and the man unemployed. But neither resulted in lasting improvements in gender equity in the home or at work. Both events were followed by a reactionary impulse to return to a traditionally gendered view of the organization of labor. The pandemic recession does not present the opportunity to disrupt gender norms by creating more households headed by women breadwinners, yet the risk of a conservative reversion to more traditionally gendered norms is still present.

 

December 19, 2022 in Equal Employment, Family, Gender, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)