The Situationist

Posts Tagged ‘gender and the law’

Gender and the Law – Conference

Posted by The Situationist Staff on January 31, 2009

“Gender and the Law: Unintended Consequences, Unsettled Questions”

Thursday, March 12, 2009–Friday, March 13, 2009Thursday 2–5 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Radcliffe Gymnasium, 10 Garden Street, Radcliffe Yard, 617-495-8600
Registration is required by Monday, March 2.
Click here to register.

This event is free and open to the public.

Download a printable poster for this event.

Unsettled questions of gender and the law present a broad range of challenges in courtrooms, legislatures, and everyday lives. Laws meant to protect or promote gender equality may have unintended consequences, and laws that seem irrelevant to gender may nonetheless significantly impact gender issues. This conference will convene judges; legal practitioners; and scholars of law, the humanities, and the social sciences from around the world to explore the ways in which legal regulations and gender influence each other. From varying historical and cultural perspectives, participants will address legal encounters with gender in the essential spaces of daily life: the body, the home, school, work, the nation, and the world.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

2 p.m. Welcome and Introduction

Barbara J. Grosz, Dean, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and Higgins Professor of Natural Sciences, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

2:15 p.m. Session I: Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Conversation with Linda Greenhouse

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice, US Supreme Court
Linda Greenhouse ’68, Knight Distinguished Journalist-in-Residence and Joseph M. Goldstein Senior Fellow in Law, Yale Law School

3:15 p.m. Break
3:30 p.m. Session II: Gender and Schooling

Convener: Martha Minow, Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

Panelists: Katharine T. Bartlett, A. Kenneth Pye Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law
Lenora Lapidus, Director, Women’s Rights Project, American Civil Liberties Union
Sandra L. Lynch, Chief Judge, US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
Kimberly Jenkins Robinson, Associate Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law

5 p.m. Reception

Friday, March 13, 2009

9 a.m. Session III: The Market, the Family, and Economic Power

Convener: Janet Halley, Royall Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

Panelists: Beshara Doumani RI ’08, Associate Professor of Middle East History, University of California at Berkeley
Gillian Lester, Sidley Austin Visiting Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and Professor of Law, UC Berkeley School of Law
Vicki Schultz RI ’01, Ford Foundation Professor of Law and the Social Sciences, Yale Law School
Chantal Thomas, Professor of Law, Cornell University Law School

10:15 a.m. Break
10:30 a.m. Roundtable Discussion: The Market, the Family, and Economic Power (Session III continued)

Convener: Margaret H. Marshall, Chief Justice, Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

Panelists: Lisa Duggan, Professor of American Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies, New York University
Alice Kessler-Harris RI ’02, R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History and Professor in the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Columbia University
Sharon Rabin-Margalioth, Professor of Law, Radzyner School of Law at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya (Israel), and Global Visiting Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
Ying Sun, Senior Consultant, Trainer, and Program Manager, TAOS Network (China)
Philomila Tsoukala, Visiting Associate Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
Mona Zulficar, Senior Partner, Shalakany Law Office (Egypt)

12:30 p.m. Break
1:45 p.m. Session IV: Gendered Bodies, Legal Subjects

Convener: Jeannie Suk, Assistant Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

Panelists: Karen Engle, Cecil D. Redford Professor in Law, University of Texas School of Law
Hauwa Ibrahim RI ’09, 2008–2009 Rita E. Hauser Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and Defense Lawyer, Aries Law Firm (Nigeria)
Cecilia Medina Quiroga, Codirector, University of Chile Human Rights Center, and President, Inter-American Court of Human Rights
Kendall Thomas, Nash Professor of Law, Columbia Law School

3:30 p.m. Break
3:45 p.m. Session V: Gendered States of Citizenship

Convener: Jacqueline Bhabha, Director, Harvard University Committee on Human Rights Studies; Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Lecturer in Law, Harvard Law School; and Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Panelists: Lauren Berlant, George M. Pullman Professor of English, University of Chicago
Brenda Marjorie Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond, Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, House of Lords (United Kingdom)
Linda K. Kerber RI ’03, May Brodbeck Professor in the Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Iowa
Ayelet Shachar, Professor of Law and Political Science and Canada Research Chair in Citizenship and Multiculturalism, University of Toronto Faculty of Law
Reva Siegel, Deputy Dean and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Professor of Law, Yale Law School

5:30 p.m. Concluding Remarks

Posted in Events, Law | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Subtly Sexist Language – Abstract

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.

* * *

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: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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