Posted by The Situationist Staff on September 9, 2011
Justin Levinson and Danielle Young posted their excellent article, “Implicit Gender Bias in the Legal Profession: An Empirical Study” (Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2010) on SSRN. Here’s the abstract.
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In order to test the hypothesis that implicit gender bias drives the continued subordination of women in the legal profession, we designed and conducted an empirical study. The study tested whether law students hold implicit gender biases related to women in the legal profession, and further tested whether these implicit biases predict discriminatory decision-making. The results of the study were both concerning and hopeful. As predicted, we found that implicit biases were pervasive; a diverse group of both male and female law students implicitly associated judges with men, not women, and also associated women with the home and family. Yet the results of the remaining portions of the study offered hope. Participants were frequently able to resist their implicit biases and make decisions in gender neutral ways. Taken together, the results of the study highlight two conflicting sides of the ongoing gender debate: first, that the power of implicit gender biases persists, even in the next generation of lawyers; and second, that the emergence of a new generation of egalitarian law students may offer some hope for the future.
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Download article for free.
Related Situationist posts:
- Unequal Juries
- What Are the Legal Implications of Implicit Biases?
- The Gendered Situation of Math, Humanities, and Romance
- Not Just Whistling Vivaldi
- “Women’s Situational Bind,”
- “The Nerdy, Gendered Situation of Computer Science.”
- “Social Psychologists Discuss Stereotype Threat,”
- “The Gendered Situation of Chess,”
- “The Situation of Gender-Science Stereotypes,”
- “The Situation of Gender and Science,”
- “Stereotype Threat and Performance,”
- “The Gendered Situation of Science & Math,”
- “Gender-Imbalanced Situation of Math, Science, and Engineering,”
- “Sex Differences in Math and Science,”
- “You Shouldn’t Stereotype Stereotypes,”
- “Women’s Situation in Economics,”
- “Your Group is Bad at Math,” and
Posted in Abstracts, Implicit Associations, Law | Tagged: bias, gender, IAT, Implicit Associations, legal profession | Leave a Comment »
Posted by The Situationist Staff on October 27, 2008
Pat K. Chew and Lauren Kelley-Chew recently posted their interesting article, Subtly Sexist Language (16 Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 643 (2007) on SSRN. Here’s the abstract.
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Sometimes, sexist language is blatant and universally shunned. Other times, it is more subtle and even socially acceptable. For instance, as summarized in this article, substantial social science research has considered the use of male-gendered generics (the use of such words as he, man, chairman, or mankind to represent both women and men) rather than gender-neutral alternatives (such as she or he, human, chairperson, or humankind). This research concludes that male-gendered generics are exclusionary of women and tend to reinforce gender stereotypes. Yet, these words may not be recognized as discriminatory because their use is perceived as normative and therefore not unusual. In addition, those who use these words may not be intentionally harmful. Complaining about their use may even be criticized as a trivial activity or an overly sensitive reaction.
Given this social science research, there is a surprising absence of awareness on the use and effect of these words among lawyers, law faculty, law student, and judges. Based on our original empirical analysis of hundreds of legal documents (judicial opinions, legal briefs, and law review articles), we find that the legal community continues to use male-gendered words even though gender-neutral alternatives exist. Thus, while some judges, lawyers, and legal scholars may not intend to be sexist, they are being subtly sexist. The research reveals a strong general pattern of the dominant use of the male-gendered option in a number of word pairs (four out of the nine word pairs) and substantial use in three other word pairs. In contrast, there is the dominant use of the gender-neutral word option in two word pairs.
Finally, the article offers some proactive suggestions. While the legal community is reluctant to change, it did shift from using the male-gendered option of reasonable man to the gender-neutral reasonable person. We suggest that this change occurred because of the legal community’s heightened awareness of the sexist nature of the use of reasonable man, and that a heightened awareness of the subtle sexism of all male-gendered generics could prompt further changes. The article ends with a useful guide on gender neutral language that can be duplicated for distribution in the legal community and elsewhere.
Posted in Abstracts, Law | Tagged: Courts, empirical research, gender and the law, language and law, legal profession, sex discrimination, subtle sexism | 1 Comment »