Dembroff, Kohler-Hausmann, and Sugarman on What Taylor Swift and Beyoncé Teach Us About Sex and Causes

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Robin Dembroff, Issa Kohler-Hausmann, and Elise Sugarman, all of Yale University, are publishing What Taylor Swift and Beyonce Teach Us About Sex and Causes in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. Here is the abstract.


In the consolidated cases Altitude Express v. Zarda, Bostock v. Clayton County, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, the Supreme Court will decide whether or not Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Although the parties disagree as to the appropriate formulation of a but-for test to determine whether or not there was a discriminatory outcome, all parties do agree to the use of such a test, which asks “whether the evidence shows ‘treatment of a person in a manner which but for that person’s sex would be different.’” City of Los Angeles, Dep’t. of Water and Power v. Manhart, 435 U.S. 702, 711 (1978). However, but-for tests confuse more than they clarify the inquiry; a discriminatory outcome cannot be explained by appeal to just a discrete characteristic of a particular person. Individuals are not discriminated against because of these characteristics per se. Rather, they are discriminated against because of the social meanings and expectations that attach to these characteristics. Beyoncé and Taylor Swift illustrate the difference between individual-level causation and social explanation in two separate songs, “If I Were a Boy” and “The Man.” The explanation for why the counterfactual ‘male’ Beyoncé and Swift are evaluated differently than their current ‘female’ versions does not lie in individual-level features considered apart from the social world, but in social-level roles and expectations associated with those features. For this reason, a social explanation test—one that asks whether the social meanings of sex characteristics, rather than the characteristics per se, explain the outcome in question—is more suitable for determining whether or not Title VII has been violated.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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Hasday’s “Intimate Lies and the Law” Wins Scribes Book Award

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Intimate Lies and the Law (Cambridge, 2019), the fantastic book by Jill Hasday (Minnesota), has won the Scribes Book Award from the American Society of Legal Writers.  This award is “for the best work of legal scholarship published during the previous year.” The Scribes announcement is here.

Congratulations, Professor Hasday!

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Tampon Shortages in a Pandemic

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From the New York Times, this column about hte hoarding of menstrual products in these unsual times.  Here’s an excerpt:

Just as the pandemic has disrupted work, school and social routines, so it has disrupted the menstrual supply chain. Those who can afford to hoard have done so, leaving women who have lower incomes without supplies. For women who usually rely on free menstrual products — from a school nurse, say — that avenue is now closed. And those who might normally get menstrual products from shelters or social service centers are coming up empty as demand has surged.

This has left organizations scrambling to order in bulk

Read the full column here. It details the great work of organizations like I Support the Girls in getting products to girls and women in need.

H/T Emily Gold Waldman

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Forbes post on Gender and COVID-19

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Quoting Joan Meier (GW) and Naomi Schoenbaum (GW):

With schools and day care centers closed, there’s increasing concern about the impact on women. Lauren Hall, who is involved in running various Facebook groups with other mothers, told me “it’s clear that most of the women working from home now due to COVID are taking on more childcare responsibilities and have a much harder time getting away from the kids and housekeeping type responsibilities than do their spouses.”

Even if both parents work full-time, women have now become “the chief operating officers of their households.” And, as a national poll shows, women are more likely than men to say their lives have been disrupted because of the coronavirus.

Plus, women are on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic because they constitute almost 80% of health care workers in the U.S.

But, according to a new paper, the long-term effects of COVID-19 on women may be more complicated.–covid-19/#1dbd833f7030

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SLU Law Journal CFP: Teaching Law Online

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From colleagues at SLU:

The Saint Louis University Law Journal is proud to announce the twenty-second installment of the Journal’s Teaching series, Teaching Law Online.

The Journal created the Teaching series in 2000 as a forum for scholars, judges, and practitioners to discuss key topics and methods of teaching legal subjects.  Since then, the Journal has published a teaching issue annually, such as Teaching Civil Procedure (47:1), Teaching Constitutional Law (49:3), Teaching Federal Courts (53:3), and our forthcoming issue, Teaching Property (64:3). 

Our Teaching Law Online issue, in line with our past issues, will include articles by prominent scholars and practitioners, sharing their thoughts on teaching legal subjects remotely, a topic that is especially relevant in the rapid transition to remote learning that has occurred this semester in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We hope to represent teachers with all levels of experience teaching legal subjects online, and we welcome submissions on any subject matter within the context of remote and online learning. 

Articles for our Teaching Series are usually between 3000–4000 words (approximately 12–15 double-spaced pages) long, although we regularly publish articles as long as 30 pages and as short as 10 pages.  Because the articles focus on the author’s own thoughts on teaching, only limited reference to outside sources is needed. We anticipate publishing this issue in the spring of 2021, and therefore ask that you submit your article for review via e-mail by August 1, 2020.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Michael McMahon, the Managing Editor of the Teaching Issue at
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Women, Gender & the Law Emerging Scholar Award: Call for Submissions

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The Elisabeth Haub School of Law is pleased to announce the competition for its inaugural Women, Gender & the Law Emerging Scholar Award.  This paper competition is open to all full-time law professors with five (5) or fewer years of full-time law teaching experience as of July 1, 2020. The deadline for submissions is July 1, 2020.

The purpose of the award is to encourage and recognize excellent legal scholarship related to women, gender and the law.  The work chosen for the Women, Gender & the Law Emerging Scholar Award should make a substantial contribution to legal literature and reflect original research and/or major developments in previously reported research.

Papers will be reviewed on a blind basis by a committee comprised of four members of the Haub Law faculty with expertise in this area: Bridget Crawford, Darren Rosenblum, Noa Ben-Asher and Emily Gold Waldman.  The winner of the competition will be invited to present the paper to selected students and faculty at Haub Law (located in White Plains, NY) during the 2020-2021 academic year, with reasonable travel expenses paid.


  • All persons who have held full-time teaching positions for five (5) or fewer full academic years as of July 1, 2020 are eligible for consideration.
  • There is no subject-matter limitation for submissions, as long as the paper relates in some way to women, gender, and the law.
  • Jointly authored papers are accepted as long as each author independently meets the eligibility requirements.


  • There is no publication commitment associated with the competition. 
  • Papers are eligible regardless of whether they were published prior to submission date, are scheduled to be published after the submission date, or are not yet under submission.
  • Each applicant is limited to one (1) entry.
  • There are no page-length or word-count limitations.
  • All publications (including scholarly articles, book chapters, legal briefs and other writings) are eligible for consideration.


  • We will accept submissions for the Emerging Scholar Award from April 1, 2020, through July 1, 2020. The winner will be announced by August 30, 2020.
  • To participate, please email your article, redacted as necessary to preserve anonymity (for the blind grading process), as a portable data file (PDF) to Judy Jaeger, Senior Staff Associate, at with the subject line “Emerging Scholar Award.”
  • Please include in the body of the email your name, institutional affiliation and confirmation that you meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Unredacted papers will not be considered.

Information on Emerging Scholar Award and the Elisabeth Haub School of Law

This is the inaugural year of the Elisabeth Haub School of Law’s Women, Gender & the Law Emerging Scholar Award.  The law school at Pace University is one of a small number of schools in the United States named after a woman, and we are proud of our school’s long-standing commitment to gender justice.

Since the establishment of the Women’s Justice Center in 1991, Haub Law has made gender justice a priority.  Students have the ability to pursue a concentration in Women, Gender & the Law, through which they develop skills and strategies for effective representation and advocacy for gender justice, regardless of what career they pursue.  The Haub Law faculty includes nationally-recognized academic experts and advocates for gender justice. Our faculty teach, research and write about gender equality and justice as it relates to constitutional law, corporate law, criminal law, education, environmental law, estate planning, juvenile justice, legal theory, poverty, public health, social media, and taxation, to name just a few areas.  An important hallmark of Haub Law is that in addition to our specialty classes that focus on gender, issues involving gender are also integrated into a wide range of other courses.




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Coronavirus Aid Package Would Change Rules on Purchases of #Tampons, Pads

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The corona virus aid package before the house contains a provision that would allow flexible spending accounts to be used to pay for menstrual products.  Business Insider has the story (here):

The change in law would allow people to pay for pads, tampons, cups, sponges, and liners with flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts, which use pre-tax dollars taken from workers’ paychecks. Under current law, these accounts can be used for purchases from contact solution to sunscreen and aspirin, but not to pay for menstrual products. 

That would change under the coronavirus rescue package going before the House Friday and expected to get President Donald Trump’s signature this weekend. The bill would re-classify period products as “medical expenses,” allowing shoppers to buy them with their FSAs or HSA debit cards at the store.

This is a change that Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) has been advocating for years. It’s the right result, even if it requires classification of tampons and pads as “medical expenses,” which, of course, they aren’t — they are products women need to meet their involuntary biological needs. 

This might be a prime example of when “the perfect should not be the enemy of the good.” This change helps women at a time when the major public health crisis has thrown more families than ever into economic precarity. 

I wish it didn’t take something like the corona virus to make it politically possible to change the FSA rules to sensibly allow the purchase of these products with pre-tax dollars.

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Symposium on New Book by @MicheleBGoodwin: “Policing the Womb” Sponsored by the @GenderSexLaw Program @ColumbiaLaw

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Today I attended an online symposium celebrating Professor Michele Goodwin’s fantastic new book, Policing the Womb: Invisible Women and the Criminalization of Motherhood (Cambridge University Press 2020). The Center for Gender & Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School sponsored the program.

Professor Goodwin presented a brief overview of her book. Commentary followed from Professor Khiara Bridges (UC Berkeley), Professor Carol Sanger (Columbia) and Dahlia Lithwick (Slate). Professor Katherine Franke (Columbia) chaired the program. Here’s a screenshot from the very interactive program.

Here is a description of Professor Goodwin’s book.

About Policing the Womb

Policing the Womb brings to life the chilling ways in which women have become the targets of secretive state surveillance of their pregnancies. Michele Goodwin expands the reproductive health and rights debate beyond abortion to include how legislators increasingly turn to criminalizing women for miscarriages, stillbirths, and threatening the health of their pregnancies. The horrific results include women giving birth while shackled in leg irons, in solitary confinement, and even delivering in prison toilets.

In some states, pregnancy has become a bargaining chip with prosecutors offering reduced sentences in exchange for women agreeing to be sterilized. The author shows how prosecutors may abuse laws and infringe women’s rights in the process, sometimes with the complicity of medical providers who disclose private patient information to law enforcement.

Often the women most affected are poor and of color. This timely book brings to light how the unrestrained efforts to punish and police women’s bodies have led to the United States being the deadliest country in the developed world to be pregnant.

There is nothing great about the current public health crisis. But I would have had trouble attending this program in person–even though I live in New York City–because of my teaching schedule. Thank you to the Columbia Center for Gender & Sexuality Law for sponsoring this program and for reaching such a large audience.

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@NevLawJournal CFP: Race AND Gender AND Policing – May 5 Deadline for Abstracts

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From colleagues at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law Program on Race, Gender & Policing:

We are pleased to announce a call for papers for a special issue of the Nevada Law Journal on “Race AND Gender AND Policing.”  Guest-edited by the faculty board of UNLV Boyd School of Law’s Program on Race, Gender & Policing, this issue will bring together scholars of Law, Criminology, and related fields for an interdisciplinary conversation centered on the simultaneous analysis of race and gender and policing.  We construe this topic broadly as encompassing all forms of surveillance and control, including but not limited to aspects of local law enforcement, national immigration policies, and school discipline rules that reflect or construct assumptions about both race and gender.  

Interested parties should submit abstracts of at least 375 words (we encourage longer abstracts and draft papers are permitted) to with the heading “Call For Papers.”  Submissions may be Essays of approximately 6,250 words or Articles of significantly greater length.  Abstracts are due on or before May 5, 2020.  We will notify people of their acceptance by May 20, 2020.  Complete first drafts of Essays will be due August 20, 2020.  Submissions will be published in Volume 21, Issue 3 of the Nevada Law Journal, which will print in April 2021. 

The Program on Race, Gender & Policing explores the relationship between race, gender, and the ways people are policed.  Policing refers to not only the activities of law enforcement officers, but also the ways that other actors, such as immigration officials, prison officials, schools, and private civilians, participate in surveillance and control.  The Program seeks to foster interdisciplinary research and concrete reforms in Nevada, the nation, and beyond.  Our goal for this symposium is nothing less than to produce an issue that becomes the best statement of how race and gender and policing come together.  

Potential paper topics include, but are in no way limited to, the following:

  • Analyses of how police officers view both race and gender;
  • Constitutional issues surrounding policing of both race and gender;
  • Criminalization of Latinx identities;
  • Police assaults against women of color;
  • Policing of LGBTQ+ in Asia;
  • Differential race and gender effects of private patrolling of space;
  • Policing of Native women;
  • Racial profiling and masculinities;
  • Disappearances of women in Mexico, the U.S., Canada, or elsewhere;
  • Disparities in policing in schools;
  • Differential racial effects of low rape clearance rates;
  • [Anything else addressing a form of policing and both race and gender].

We also encourage activists and practitioners to write accounts of their activities and cases that bring together issues of race and gender and policing.  Regardless of an author’s topic, the editors will carefully review all proposals and make selections based on quality and relevance.  We encourage both veterans of this topic and emerging scholars to submit proposals. 

If you have any questions, please contact Frank at

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Online April 3 – University of Colorado Conference on “Women’s Enfranchisement: Beyond the 19th Amendment”

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The 2020 Ira C. Rothgerber Jr. Conference on Constitutional Law hosted by the University of Colorado has been converted to a webinar to be held April 3, 2020. The topic is “Women’s Enfranchisement: Beyond the 19th Amendment.” It is still free.  Here’s the info:

2020 marks the centennial of the 19th Amendment, formally extending suffrage to some, but not all, women. This conference will use the centennial to take stock of how far we’ve come and how far we have to go in terms of formal political enfranchisement, as well as the social and economic empowerment of women more broadly.

Register here for the 2020 Rothgerber Conference, to receive important email updates, including the link needed to join the webinar. Participants will be able to use this link to join at any point during the conference.  For more information on the panels and speakers please visit the CU Law Rothgerber event page.

More details below the fold.


Continue reading

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Omnes in Viam Latinam

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Today I witnessed a fairly common exchange on a particular listserv of which I am a member.  Member A made a contribution that Member B deemed inappropriate for the subject-matter of the list.  Member B passed judgment on Member A’s contribution and asked Member A to take the discussion off-list to another, more suitable forum.  Member A wrote back. Various accusations were exchanged. This went on (“reply all” style) for a few more rounds. I took no joy in witnessing this and deleted subsequent emails.

I admit, though, that I was fascinated by an especially colorful post by Member A that managed to use no fewer than five Latin phrases:

  • ad hominem
  • argumentum ad misericordiam
  • petitio principii
  • non causa pro causa
  • ignoratio elenchi

And the poster wasn’t even a law professor!

I’m no rhetoric scholar or philosopher. I’m not strong in my Aristotle or high school Latin, so investigate I did.  Ad hominem (directing the argument at the person, not the idea) was a familiar phrase. The others were not. 

See if you can match the following descriptions to the corresponding Latin phrase above. Answers below the fold.

  • confusing not the cause for what is the cause
  • irrelevant conclusion
  • begging the question
  • confusing appeals for sympathy with actual evidence

P.S. I love the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (here).

Continue reading

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University of Baltimore Feminist Legal Theory Conference Rescheduled

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The University of Baltimore’s Center on Applied Feminism 12th Feminist Legal Theory Conference, Applied Feminism and Privacy, originally scheduled for April 2-3, 2020, is now scheduled for October 15-16, 2020. Professors Margaret Johnson and Michele Gilman, Co-Directors, Center on Applied Feminism, wish everyone and their communities safety and good health during this chaotic and uncertain time.

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Establishing Norms for #Law Student Participation in Remote Learning: Turn Cameras on and Mute That Mic (“virtual background” is your friend)

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Like many law schools, my institution has decided to move all classes on-line, to the extent possible, at least until March 29. The Elisabeth Haub School of Law is located in Westchester County, New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo has deployed the National Guard and established a 1-mile “containment area” a few towns over in New Rochelle, New York.

These are unusual times.

Today is the first day that my colleagues and I started teaching on-line. My message, to myself and my colleagues, is to do what you can, with whatever technology you feel comfortable with, and strive for excellence but not perfection.  In other words, we are all going to make mistakes in the on-line classroom, in the same way we make mistakes in the traditional classroom. (I made quite a few in my class this morning.) Many of us are feeling overwhelmed as we figure out the technologies that enable us to teach on line. It seems that at every turn, there is another webinar or click-through to consult.

We will get through this, with patience and good cheer.  Our students want us to succeed; we want them to succeed.  We will not leave our students behind. This will be difficult, for sure. But we will support each other and continue to grow as individuals and as communities.

But how to foster community if I can’t see my students and my students can’t see each other?  There are technologies that enable us to easily have the equivalent of a massive on-line conference call.  But what if students won’t turn on their cameras?  I had more than one colleague say that fewer than half of students turned their cameras on.  What if students have on their cameras, but I can see their messy beds, partially eaten meals and … less than professional aspects of their lives?

Every instructor must decide what message to convey to students about virtual “presence.” Mine is this:

I recognize students may not have reliable internet access, or may have internet problems at any particular moment. Not all students will have cameras or microphones on their laptops, especially if they have older machines.  I get it (I’ve been there!).  For these reasons, I’ll make sure that students can participate in the on-line session by phone.  All students also will have access to a recording of the session. It’s not ideal; it’s not the experience any of us signed up for. But we will make sure that the students’ learning is not set back.

That being said, I believe it is reasonable to ask students will use the phone option as a back-up measure, not all the time, unless they can let me know.  Students who are physically and technologically able to attend the synchronous class in its regularly scheduled time-slot should do so. 
In my class, I consider it part of my student’s professional obligation to turn on their cameras, mute their microphones, and remain present for the entire time. Instructors certainly need to be understanding if someone needs to step away from their computer, just as we would be in a traditional class. But the expectation is that the instructors should be able to see the students and vice versa, as a matter of creating and building community. Very few people like to see themselves on camera (I know I don’t). By turning on the camera, we are showing up for each other and saying, “I’m a part of this. We’ll get through this together.”
We will!
P.S. To my students, I don’t care if you have made your bed.  I care about your education. Show up in whatever way you can.  We’ll work it out (but you might want to check out the “virtual background” function in Zoom….)
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Tips for Teaching #Law Online, in the Event of a COVID-19 Shut Down of Law Schools

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I’ve been teaching Federal Income Tax and Wills,Trusts & Estates in mixed live/online formats since 2009. I put together a short video for colleagues with thoughts about how to teach law classes in distance formats, whether synchronous or asynchronous, if the public health situation requires us to do so. The video does not address technology issues (i.e., what format is best for any one particular class), but rather offers thoughts on big picture issues/concerns when moving a traditional law class on line. A few of the tips are idiosyncratic to my school (i.e., who to ask for help supporting a particular program), but most of the tips are applicable across the legal academy.

To summarize, my tips are these:

  1. If you are teaching synchronously, try to do so in your regularly scheduled class time, so as not to create scheduling conflicts for students. If you are teaching asynchronously, try to get your recordings/assignments up before the class otherwise would meet live, or, as a default, no later than 24 hours after a regularly scheduled class would have met.
  2. Keep our eyes on the goal of delivering the best educational experience we can, within the constraints we are have, including time and training.  Don’t feel like you have to radically re-organize your course. 
  3. Instructor availability to students matters especially in the distance format — make sure to schedule virtual office hours.  Consistency is important.  Don’t suddenly add new assignments and requirements just because the class unexpectedly must be taught in a distance format. Make sure to stay in regular contact with students.
  4. Random additional nuggets of wisdom I’ve acquired in teaching online for 11 years:
    • Employ visuals, especially if teaching a class asynchronously.  I don’t like to see myself on screen, but it’s not about me.  The student feedback is that they feel more connected when they can see their instructor.
    • Provide students a roadmap when teaching online, whether in the format of an outline that can be downloaded, or a list on the screen that students can reference during the online session.
    • Record in small chunks.  Don’t do what I did for years, and make the mistake of recording sessions that lasted 1 hour 50 minutes. Break the session into 20-minute segments. If you have to rerecord, you’ll be glad to have to re-do one segment only. Also, if you don’t refer to super-current events, you may end up building a library of recordings that you can use in future semesters.
    • Develop appropriate mechanisms for attendance and accountability. Obviously, if large numbers of students are sick, very strict attendance policies will need to be relaxed, but you’ll want to be able to monitor student progress.
    • Build in lots of opportunities for feedback to students. I do this through quizzes (that do not count toward a student’s grade) that provide students with the opportunity to apply the material from the distance class session.
    • Much of what we do in live classes can be done via distance sessions — group work, working with a partner, self-assessment, etc. With a little creative thinking, we can do those things slightly differently (and equally successfully) online.
    • The students want their professors to be successful instructors just as much as we want them to to be successful learners. We’re all in this together and will work together to deliver the best education we can under the circumstances.  Perfection isn’t required.

The video (about 24 minutes) is available below for anyone who is interested.

(cross-posted from Faculty Lounge)

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McCrudden on Gender-Based Positive Action in Employment in Europe

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Christopher McCrudden, Queen’s University Belfast School of Law, has published Gender-Based Positive Action in Employment in Europe: A Comparative Analysis of Legal and Policy Approaches in the EU and EEA. Here is the abstract.

This report considers the use of ‘positive action’ as a key mechanism to advance women’s equality in employment, and to ensure gender-balanced company boards. ‘Positive action’ involves the use of measures that are taken by Governments or other actors to: enable or encourage members of ‘protected groups’ (such as women) to overcome or at least reduce current or past disadvantages (including discrimination); to meet the needs of the protected group that differ from other groups; or to enable or encourage those in the protected groups to participate in a particular activity where they might otherwise be under-represented. The report identifies the current legal and regulatory frameworks and scope of positive action in European Union law and policy, and in the 28 European Union Member States (including the United Kingdom), and the three members of the European Economic Area (comprising Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). The report aims to lay bare tensions and gaps that may arise in the applicable legal framework between different levels of legal authority, but in particular between EU law and national approaches to positive action. Addressing this issue involves a reflection on whether there are possible inconsistencies or shortcomings in the current EU legal treatment of positive action (including the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union). In light of this analysis, the report makes recommendations for possible European Union action, including suggestions for actions that may be included in any forthcoming EU gender strategy.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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Talking with High School Students about the #Tampon Tax

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South Carolina high school sophomore Logan Kenny

Logan Kenny is a high school sophomore attending USC Upstate through the Scholar’s Academy program located in South Carolina.  She is currently working on a research paper about the tax on feminine-hygiene products in the US. She recently contacted Professor Crawford with some questions about the tampon tax. The results of their written interview appear below.


Logan Kenny: Who benefits from the tax and what is done with the money collected from the tax?

Bridget Crawford: The most immediate benefit is to the states that impose a sales tax on menstrual products. Sales tax is a much more important source of revenue than, say, the income tax in most states.  So in general, the sales tax is a big part of any state’s budget.  That being said, the sales tax on revenue from menstrual products is truly a small percentage of the budget. In California, for example, revenue from the tampon tax was just 0.011% of the state’s budget for 2018-2019. 

Logan Kenny: Is the tax a violation against human rights? Why?

Bridget Crawford: My colleague Carla Spivack (Oklahoma City University School of Law) and I have argued (here) that the tax on menstrual products deeply implicates the right to be free from discrimination, the right to health, and the right to education, to give just three examples. The Colombian Constitutional Court ruled in 2018 that the tampon tax violates women’s sexual and reproductive rights, as well as rights to dignity and autonomy.  The same court affirmed that the City of Bogotá must provide pads for homeless women.  Failing to do so, the court reasoned, violates human rights.  In Europe, there have not yet been any cases that have come before the European Court of Human Rights or the European Court of Justice, but both courts have recognized that taxation is a human rights issue, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some cases in the future.

Logan Kenny: Why is it important for the tax to be eliminated?

Bridget Crawford: Stephanie Arnold and Sharron Champion, founders of The Homeless Period Project in Greenville, South Carolina, are doing such good work on this issue. They saw in their own community, through their volunteer work with schools and churches, that too many women and girls didn’t have access to the basic products they need. They saw that too many people were choosing between feeding themselves and their families, or buying menstrual products. That’s a choice that no one should have to make. Removing the tax from menstrual products is just one small step in the direction of making menstrual products more affordable. If we want all people to have the opportunity to participate as equals in all aspects of public life, they must be able to meet their involuntary biological needs.

Logan Kenny: Feminine products have a tax while, in some states, male specific products such as erectile dysfunction medication do not. Why do you think this is?

Bridget Crawford: Generally speaking, all items are subject to sales tax unless they are specifically made exempt. Most states have exemptions for items that are considered to be necessities.  Medications, such as Viagra, are commonly considered necessities. I don’t think there has been some grand conspiracy to tax women specifically. Rather, it is the failure to exempt menstrual products — an inaction — that is the problem. My colleague and co-author Emily Gold Waldman and I (here) have attributed the failure to exempt these products from a general squeamishness about talking openly about menstrual products and women’s bodily functions. And if lawmakers do not talk about the biological need for these products, then menstrual products will never make it onto the list of exempt items.

Logan Kenny: Some people argue that eliminating the tax would raise the tax on other items. Is this an acceptable argument and why/why not?

Bridget Crawford: Simply put, states should repeal the tampon tax because the tax is unconstitutional. Legally speaking, it’s no defense to an unconstitutional law to say, “We have to keep discriminating because non-discrimination is expensive.” Practically speaking, if a state does the right thing and eliminates the sales tax on menstrual products, there is zero evidence that other taxes will increase. States like New York and Florida, to name just two, eliminated their tampon taxes without increasing other taxes.

Logan Kenny: What are other misconceptions that people may have about eliminating the tax? Why are they not credible?

Bridget Crawford: I was surprised to read (here) that one Virginia lawmaker objected to including menstrual products in the state’s annual three-day sales tax holiday, for fear that women would “abuse” the privilege. And there is the high school principal (here) who initially turned down students’ request for free menstrual products in school bathrooms, on the grounds that the girls would “abuse the privilege.” These men seem to fundamentally misunderstand both menstruation and women.  Menstruation is an involuntary biological process. Girls and women aren’t out to profit from their periods, gobbling up resources for the sake of it. Would that lawmaker say the same thing about toilet paper? Does the high school principal worry that students widely and systematically abuse the availability of hand towels in the bathroom? I doubt it.  Their comments are outright sexist.

Logan Kenny: What is needed by state legislation in order to eliminate the tax?

Bridget Crawford: The legislative solution is very simple, and I am willing to work on a pro bono basis with any state legislature that wants to repeal its tax.  Simply add menstrual products to the list of tax-exempt items! Professor Elizabeth Cooper and her students in the Legislative and Policy Advocacy Clinic at Fordham Law School, together with the nonprofit Period Equity, have put together a fantastic set of advocacy materials (here) that citizens can use to advocate for repeal in their state.

Logan Kenny: Why is that the majority of women use tampons/pads, yet they are not deemed a necessity to be taxed exempt? What qualifies an item to be tax exempt?

Bridget Crawford: Tax exemptions is a matter of legislative grace. In other words, lawmakers have to declare that a particular category of goods is tax-exempt. Medical supplies, for example, are typically tax-exempt. But conceptually, we know that menstrual products are not “medical supplies,” like bandages or gauze, in the sense that we don’t use them because we are hurt or ill. We use them because we have female biology. But there is no reason to have to shoehorn menstrual products into existing categories of tax-exempt items. The state legislature can declare them to be tax-exempt. This is easy, from a practical perspective. More importantly, it is required by our nation’s Constitution.

Logan Kenny: Were feminine hygiene products always taxed? If not, when were they imposed?

Bridget Crawford: State sales tax has not been a long-time feature of the U.S. system. Scholars debate about which state first adopted a modern sales tax as we know it, but the state sales appears to originate in the 1920s. Vermont didn’t adopt a sales tax until 1969! So the state sales tax is relatively “young” as taxes go. Other taxes have been around since colonial times. The federal estate tax, by way of comparison, was instituted in 1916.

Logan Kenny: What do you think the economy would look like if the tax was eliminated vs keeping the tax?

Bridget Crawford: Making menstrual products more affordable can have a huge positive impact on the economy. If schools, work, and public life were designed with women in mind, we’d have the full potential participation of our entire population.

Logan Kenny: How many girls/women can’t afford these products as of right now? What do they have to resort to?

Bridget Crawford: Nationwide, over half of all public school students qualify for free or low-cost lunch. In cities like New York, for example, and in Miami-Dade County in Florida, that percentage is over 70%. To talk about just the student population, if a student cannot afford menstrual products and the school does not provide them, many students will feel like they need to miss school. Professor Christopher Cotropia at the University of Richmond has documented (here) that missing school, coming late to school, or leaving school early is correlated to the inability to afford menstrual products. This is an absolute educational and economic tragedy that must be addressed. It is a stark deprivation of the rights of all students to equal access to education. My co-authors Emily Waldman and Margaret Johnson and I explain in our article Title IX and Menstruation, forthcoming in the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, that schools’ failure to provide menstruating students with easily accessible tampons and pads negatively affects students’ access to equal educational opportunities. We believe that Title IX should require schools to provide these products.

Conversations around the tampon tax make clear how much we need leaders of all ages in every community.  Young people grasp quite easily how important it is that girls and women have access to the products they need in order to be full and equal participants in all aspects of public life. And eliminating the tampon tax is a huge part of increasing access.  When we see that half of the population bears a financial burden because of their biology, the inequality is obvious. The tax law is an effective prism that allows us to quantify unfairness in dollars and cents.

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On Teaching Torts with a Focus on Race and Racism @wrigginsmelaw

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Jennifer Wriggins (Maine) has a post over here at the Race and the Law Prof Blog on Teaching Torts with a Focus on Race and Racism.

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Kids Are Always Welcome in My Law School Classes

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Any student of mine is welcome to bring children to my class any time, no advance notice required.  Child care issues should not get in the way of attendance. We’ll work it out! 

Kids have great perspectives on tax fairness, fiduciary duty, choice of business entity.

I’ve been there myself.  I’m on your side.

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High School Students in Idaho Taking on the Tampon Tax – @MHS_Bobcats

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Students at Madison High School in Idaho are taking on the tampon tax. The local newspaper, the Standard Journal, reported here that a group of seniors are proposing solutions as part of their “Project Citizen” work:

Adeline Winn, Madison Jensen, Tanner Averill, Carlie Meredith and Zach Le made up the group.

The group reported that Idaho is one of 32 states that taxes women for menstrual hygiene products. They also reported there is no tax on male enhancement products, and such is unconstitutional.

“We’d like feminine menstrual products to be exempted from Idaho sales tax,” Averill said. ***

When women and girls can’t afford to buy new sanitary products, they’ll reuse products thus putting them at risk for toxic shock syndrome, a fatal bacterial infection. Other times, women rely on cloths, rags, tissues, toilet paper and paper towels from public restrooms, she said.

The group reported the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stating that one in five women struggle to buy menstrual products at least once a month. The average woman spends up to $300 a year on feminine hygiene products, and that cost doubles should there be daughters in the home.

The group suggested that each of the Madison High School’s seven girl’s restrooms be stocked with free sanitary napkins and tampons. Currently, the school charges 25 cents for each. It would cost the school an estimated $760 a month to refill dispensers. Buying such products would help girls focus on class and relieve them of embarrassing situations, they said.

Le said that eliminating the tax on menstrual products would benefit women and their families.

Kudos to these students for raising awareness of the issue and coming up with practical solutions. People of all ages are leading the way on menstrual equity and justice. We see you, Madison High School students!

Posted in Activism, Women and Economics, Women's Health | Comments Off on High School Students in Idaho Taking on the Tampon Tax – @MHS_Bobcats

New Book Announcement: David S. Cohen & Carole Joffee, “Obstacle Course: The Everyday Struggle to Get an Abortion in America:

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The University of California Press has published a new book, Obstacle Course: The Everyday Struggle to Get an Abortion in America, by David S. Cohen (Drexel) and Carole Joffe (Sociology, UCSF).  Here is the publisher’s description:

It seems unthinkable that citizens of one of the most powerful nations in the world must risk their lives and livelihoods in the search for access to necessary health care. And yet it is no surprise that in many places throughout the United States, getting an abortion can be a monumental challenge. Anti-choice politicians and activists have worked tirelessly to impose needless restrictions on this straightforward medical procedure that, at best, delay it and, at worst, create medical risks and deny women their constitutionally protected right to choose. 

Obstacle Course tells the story of abortion in America, capturing a disturbing reality of insurmountable barriers people face when trying to exercise their legal rights to medical services. Authors David S. Cohen and Carole Joffe lay bare the often arduous and unnecessarily burdensome process of terminating a pregnancy: the sabotaged decision-making, clinics in remote locations, insurance bans, harassing protesters, forced ultrasounds and dishonest medical information, arbitrary waiting periods, and unjustified procedure limitations.

Based on patients’ stories as well as interviews with abortion providers and allies from every state in the country, Obstacle Course reveals the unstoppable determination required of women in the pursuit of reproductive autonomy as well as the incredible commitment of abortion providers. Without the efforts of an unheralded army of medical professionals, clinic administrators, counselors, activists, and volunteers, what is a legal right would be meaningless for the almost one million people per year who get abortions. There is a better way—treating abortion like any other form of health care—but the United States is a long way from that ideal. 

Posted in Feminist Legal Scholarship, Reproductive Rights | Comments Off on New Book Announcement: David S. Cohen & Carole Joffee, “Obstacle Course: The Everyday Struggle to Get an Abortion in America:

Suffolk Law Seeks Spring 2021 Trusts & Estates Visitor

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Suffolk University Law School in Boston is looking for a Spring 20201 visitor to teach Trusts & Estates.  Here is the info:

Suffolk University Law School in Boston invites applications for a position as a Visiting Professor for the Spring semester of the upcoming academic school year (Spring 2021), with the primary responsibility of teaching two sections of the course in Trusts and Estates (one day and one evening section).  Applications should be received by February 17 (although applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled) and must include a letter detailing desire and qualifications to teach Trusts and Estates, as well as a curriculum vitae.  Applications should be addressed to Professor Rosanna Cavallaro ( and uploaded to the Suffolk University website via Jobvite.

Suffolk University is an equal opportunity employer. The University is dedicated to the goal of building a diverse and inclusive faculty and staff who contribute to the robust exchange of ideas on campus, and who are committed to teaching and working in a diverse environment.  We strongly encourage applications from groups historically marginalized or underrepresented because of race/color, gender, religious creed, disability, national origin, veteran status or LGBTQ status.

Suffolk University does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, genetic information, or status as a veteran in admission to, access to, treatment in, or employment in its programs, activities, or employment.

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LSU Law Center: Visiting Position Open 2020-2021 for Academic Year, or Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 Semester

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LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY, PAUL M. HEBERT LAW CENTER seeks to hire a visiting professor for the 2020-21 academic year or for Fall 2020 and/or Spring 2021 in the following areas: federal courts, constitutional law, civil procedure, and evidence. Applicants should have a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school, superior academic credentials, and a commitment to outstanding teaching.
The Paul M. Hebert Law Center of LSU is an Equal Opportunity/Equal Access Employer and is committed to building a culturally diverse faculty. We particularly welcome and encourage applications from female and minority candidates.
The Faculty Appointments Committee will begin reviewing applications on February 7, 2020 and will consider applications thereafter on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Applications should include a letter of application, resume, references, and teaching evaluations (if available) to:

Melissa T. Lonegrass and Christina M. Sautter
Co-Chairs, Faculty Appointments Committee
c/o Pam Hancock (or by email to
Paul M. Hebert Law Center
Louisiana State University
1 East Campus Drive
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803-0106

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CFP: Taxation and Gender Equality, Sept. 14-15, 2020

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Taxation and Gender Equality Conference:

Research Roundtable and Policy Program

September 14-15, 2020

Deadline for Expressions of Interest: March 15, 2020

As the Organizers and members of the Academic Advisory Committee we are pleased to issue this Announcement and Call for Contributions to an event that will be held on September 14 and 15, 2020, in Washington, DC, to explore the interaction between tax law and gender equality. The goal of the Conference, which is sponsored by the Tax Policy Center, the American Tax Policy Institute, the American Bar Foundation, and, subject to the final approval of their boards, the Tax Section of the American Bar Association and the American College of Tax Counsel, is to shine a spotlight on gender issues in taxation and to bring consideration of gender impacts into mainstream discussions surrounding the enactment and administration of tax laws. The intended scope of the Conference is broad, focusing not only on gender issues in U.S. tax law but also on gender issues in the tax laws of other countries; it will consider all taxes, whether income, consumption, transfer, wealth, or other national-level taxes, as well as subnational taxes.

The Conference will begin on Monday, September 14, 2020 at the Washington, DC, offices of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman with a research roundtable featuring principally academic papers. The research roundtable will follow the format typical of academic conferences, providing ample time for conversation among participants. 

The second day of the Conference, Tuesday, September 15, 2020, will be held at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, also in Washington, DC. It will consist of a policy-oriented program of panel discussions bringing together academics, practicing attorneys, economists, policy makers, legislators and others to consider issues related to gender and taxation and to consider strategies for incorporation of gender-related concerns into everyday tax policy discourse. At least one panel will feature the recent work undertaken by the National Women’s Law Center exploring the relationship between taxation and gender (see

Continue reading

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@PaceLawReview CFP: Reforms in the NY State Criminal Justice System

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The Pace Law Review at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University invites submissions for an interdisciplinary conference on the theme of “Game-changing Reforms in the NYS Criminal Justice System and How to Implement Them” to be held on March 20, 2020, at the NYS Judicial Institute on the campus of the law school. 

In the last few years, culminating in the last legislative session, the New York State Legislature, the New York State courts, as well as the government of New York City, have enacted several far-reaching reforms in criminal procedure and related criminal justice issues. These changes include (but are not limited to) the following: raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18 years; comprehensive bail reform; discovery reform; significant changes in the speedy trial statute; the anticipated closing of the Rikers Island detention and correctional facilities; significant changes in the imposition of solitary confinement of state prisoners; the expansion of the use of desk appearance tickets (and the consequent reduction of the number of custodial overnight detentions); expansion of the use of video-recorded police interrogations; expanded use of police body cameras in NYC; proliferation of conviction integrity programs in New York State district attorney’s offices; creation of a Prosecutorial Conduct Commission; and the substantial increase in funding of public defender offices statewide as part of the Hurrell-Harring case settlement. Each of these reforms deserves considered analysis and debate.

This symposium will provide a forum for policymakers, jurists, academics, criminal law practitioners (on both the prosecution and defense side), students, and concerned citizens to engage in a thorough discussion of criminal justice reform. These changes share some common themes—an overall trend towards decarceration, increased use of modern technology in street policing, and increased emphasis on the prosecutorial obligation to share information, accelerate the process, avoid misconduct and prevent or correct wrongful convictions.

These changes in New York State reflect national trends in favor of bail and discovery reform, decarceration, and increased concern about wrongful convictions. They also reflect changes in the modern prosecutor’s role and a 21st century model of organized policing. Fixing a close gaze on New York’s and upstate and downstate counties will provide insight for our national discussion about how we should create and maintain a just criminal process.

New York is one of the largest states in the nation and has an extensive criminal justice system. Significant changes in the law, like those listed above, will have significant effects in other states as well. The far-reaching impact of these reforms might include changes in policy, distribution of resources, rethinking what we mean by fairness and due process in criminal matters, and the proper balance between social control and individual liberty—all are implicated in these reforms. Our federal system contemplates the various states as “laboratories” of justice. With these reforms, New York once again is coming to the forefront in that role. A Pace Law Review symposium issue containing excellent and insightful scholarship on matters of criminal justice policy, procedure, practice, and jurisprudence would be a valuable resource both locally and nationally.

The Pace Law Review and the Pace Criminal Justice Institute invite you to be a part of that discussion.

We welcome full-length traditional law review articles with a maximum of 65 pages, as well as shorter essays and commentaries with a minimum of 10 pages. Authors will be selected based on brief abstracts of their articles, essays, or commentaries. We are looking for different perspectives on the goals and challenges of implementing the historic criminal justice reforms throughout New York State.

To submit, please send:

  1. Name, title, and professional affiliation
  2. Curriculum vitae/resume
  3. Contact details, including phone number and email address
  4. A two to three-page abstract summarizing your article or essay and indicating the expected page length of your paper. 

Please submit your abstract for consideration to: Managing Editor Mellis Bakir at:

Submission Deadlines

Abstract Deadline: February 3, 2020

Selection Notification Date: February 14, 2020

Article/Essay Deadline: TBD

If you have any questions about this call for papers, please contact Mellis Bakir at: or Carol Barry (Director of the Pace Criminal Justice Institute) at:

Posted in Call for Papers or Participation, Criminal Law | Comments Off on @PaceLawReview CFP: Reforms in the NY State Criminal Justice System

@NWULRev Online Symposium on “The Common Law Inside the Female Body” by @BernsteinAnita

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The Northwestern University Law Review Online has published a symposium issue devoted to Anita Bernstein’s book, The Common Law Inside the Female Body (Cambridge University Preimage from 2019), including a response by Professor Bernstein.  Here is the publisher’s description of the book:

In The Common Law Inside the Female Body, Anita Bernstein explains why lawyers seeking gender progress from primary legal materials should start with the common law. Despite its reputation for supporting conservatism and inequality, today’s common law shares important commitments with feminism, namely in precepts and doctrines that strengthen the freedom of individuals and from there the struggle against the subjugation of women. By re-invigorating both the common law – with a focus on crimes, contracts, torts, and property – and feminist jurisprudence, this highly original work anticipates a vital future for a pair of venerable jurisprudential traditions. It should be read by anyone interested in understanding how the common law delivers an extraordinary degree of liberty and security to all persons – women included.

Here are the essays in the symposium line-up:

Bridget J. Crawford, The Common Law as Silver Slippers
David S. Cohen, The Promise and Peril of a Common Law Right to Abortion
Joanna L. Grossman, Women are (Allegedly) People, Too
Cyra Akila Choudhury, The Common Law as a Terrain of Feminist Struggle
Margaret Chon, Intellectual Property Infringement and the Right to Say No
Maritza I. Reyes, The Female Body in the Workplace: Judges and the Common Law
Teri A. McMurtry-Chubb, In Search of the Common Law Inside the Black Female Body
Anita Bernstein, Negative Liberty Meets Positive Social Change

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Muriel Gold Senior Visiting Professorship at McGill University @mcgillu

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Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies
McGill University
The Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (IGSF) at McGill University, Montreal, Canada invites applications for the position of Muriel Gold Visiting Professor. This position is open to professors who wish to spend one or two academic terms in a university environment in order to carry out research on gender, sexuality or feminist studies. The Institute offers work space and support, an ongoing seminar program, contact with other professors within McGill and in neighbouring universities – all this located at the centre of a stimulating, bilingual, urban environment.
The Visiting Professor position is ideal for faculty with research leave funding, a portable research fellowship, or sabbatical. Preference will be given to professors who already hold faculty positions. Research funding in the amount of $5,000 for the Muriel Gold Senior Visiting Professor is available from the IGSF. Visiting professors also participate in our Esquisses works in progress talk series, and have an opportunity to present and discuss their research with an engaged and enthusiastic research community.
If interested, please send a one page proposal via email with the header “Muriel Gold Visiting Professorship,” describing the research that would be undertaken while in residence as a Visiting Professor, a copy or link to a recent publication, an up-to-date curriculum vitae and an indication of what period you would like for your tenure as IGSF Visiting Professor to:
Miranda Hickman, Acting Director
Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (IGSF)
3487 Peel Street, 2nd floor
Montreal, QC H3A 1W7
While we may be able to provide administrative advice on the following matters, we ask that IGSF visiting professors assume full responsibility on matters relating to visa applications, health insurance, housing and living expenses. Please note in particular that Canada does not pay for hospital or medical services for visitors. We ask all visiting professors to ensure to have health insurance to cover any medical costs for the duration of your visit to Canada.
APPLICATION CLOSING DATE: January 15, 2020 Please submit your application and all documents electronically.
Posted in Fellowships and Funding Opportunities | Comments Off on Muriel Gold Senior Visiting Professorship at McGill University @mcgillu

Feminist Scholarship in “Made At NYPL” Exhibit @nypl

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I recently visited the New York Public Library to see the exhibit Made at NYPL, a celebration of “a small by representative sample of original works that were produced using the Library’s unique and extensive resources.”  Among the featured works are two that likely are familiar to law profs:

  • Annette Gordon-Reed & Peter S. Onuf, “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of Imagination  (2016)
  • Barbara Goldsmith, Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism, and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull (1999)
  • Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (1963)

Two excerpts from Friedan’s book capture how important the library was (is) to writers:

Without that superb institution, the Frederick Lewis Allen Room of the New York Public Library and its provision to a writer of quiet work space and continuous access to research sources, this particular mother of three might never have started a book, much less finished it.

I sat for many days in the New York Public Library, going back through bound volumes of American women’s magazines for the last twenty years. I found a change in the image of the American woman, and in the boundaries of the woman’s world, as sharp and puzzling as the changes revealed in cores of ocean sediment.

It’s an informative exhibit, for anyone who lives in the city or happens to be passing through.  More info is available here.


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Utah Poised to Repeal #Tampon Tax

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Yesterday the Utah legislature passed a bill that will exempt from menstrual products (tampons, pads, etc.) from state sales tax.  Read more here.

Posted in Women and Economics, Women's Health | Comments Off on Utah Poised to Repeal #Tampon Tax

Johnson, Crawford & Waldman on “Title IX and Menstruation”

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Margaret Johnson (Baltimore), Emily Waldman (Pace) and I have posted to SSRN our article Title IX and Menstruation, forthcoming next year in the Harvard J.L. & Gender.  Here is the abstract:

“Oh no. Could I borrow a tampon or pad?” These (or similar) words are familiar to almost everyone who has ever had a period. Even for adults, menstruation can at times be a challenge. For some schoolchildren, it can feel like an insurmountable obstacle to receiving an education. Students are subject to constant observation by classmates and teachers; they may not have autonomous access to a bathroom during the school day; or they may not be able to afford menstrual products. As a result, a menstruating student may find it difficult to concentrate in school or even attend school at all, depending on the circumstances. This Article explores the intersection of menstruation and education to uncover the impediments faced by girls and other students who menstruate.  Students may experience menstruation-related peer harassment, restrictive school policies, a lack of access to menstrual products, and inadequate menstruation-related education.  Because menstruation is uniquely associated with female biology, a school’s failure to address the needs of menstruating students amounts to a denial of educational opportunities on the basis of sex under Title IX.

In recent years, students themselves have played notable roles in successful efforts to cause schools to provide free pads or tampons to students. Currently most states do not require schools to do so. Even in states where schools have a legal obligation to provide menstrual products to students, availability is only one part of a larger problem. Unless students can access bathroom facilities in response to their biological needs, and do so without shame, stigma or restriction, students may risk bleeding during class, failing to change tampons or pads as medically recommended, or even leaving (or skipping) school. This Article argues that pursuant to Title IX, schools should provide students with an education free of unnecessary anxiety about the natural biological process of menstruation.  This freedom from anxiety is a necessary precondition for girls, boys, women, men and people of all genders to have meaningful opportunities to fully participate in all aspects of public life.

The full article is available here. Our article focuses mostly on education in grades 3 through 12, but the arguments are equally applicable to higher education contexts, too. 

Posted in Feminism and Culture, Feminist Legal Scholarship, Primary and Secondary Education, Women's Health | Comments Off on Johnson, Crawford & Waldman on “Title IX and Menstruation”

Research Travel Grants for Susan Bulkeley Butler Women’s Archives @Purdue Archives

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From the Purdue University Archives:
The Susan Bulkeley Butler Women’s Archives at the Purdue University Archives announces Research Travel Grants for those planning to travel in order to use materials at the Purdue Archives in 2020. Grants of up to $2,000 will be awarded to individual scholars.
The Women’s Archives collects, preserves, and makes available for research original and rare materials that capture the often overlooked and under-represented stories of women and their communities in Purdue and Indiana’s past. Our collections include papers, photographs, audio-visual materials, digital media, rare books, and select artifacts documenting women faculty, staff, and students at Purdue University; organizations and programs at Purdue that support women; and significant women and women’s organizations in Indiana.
Notable collections include those documenting the history of the Deans of Women at Purdue; collections on women’s issues such as the Sisters for Health Education (S.H.E.) records and the Helen B. Schleman papers; the Paulina T. Merritt papers on the Indiana Women’s Suffrage Movement; and the personal papers of industrial engineers Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, among many others.
For descriptions of our collections, see Women’s Archives here
For information about eligibility, criteria, and the application process, see Research and Travel Grants here
The deadline for applications is January 17, 2020.
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Carbado & Harris on “Anti-Essentialism, Intersectionality, and Dominance Theory”

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In June, 2019, Devon Carbado (UCLA) and Cheryl Harris (UCLA)  published an important essay, Intersectionality at 30: Mapping the Margins of Anti-Essentialism, Intersectionality, and Dominance Theory, 132 Harv. L. Rev. 2193 (2019). It provides an excellent and nuanced understanding of three important intellectual developments in feminist legal theory in the last 30 years. It should be required reading for anyone who teaches or studies in the field. Here are Carbado and Harris’ three main arguments:

This Essay advances three core claims. First, intersectionality is often erroneously conflated with anti-essentialism and thus many readers erroneously perceive a strong opposition between intersectionality and dominance theory on the view that dominance theory is essentialist and that intersectionality is not. In the context of disaggregating intersectionality from anti-essentialism, we contest the view that feminism and critical theory must always avoid essentialism to achieve normative commitments to social transformation. Second, we argue that scholars have largely overlooked the fact that dominance theory and intersectionality share a critique of conceptions of equality structured around sameness and difference. Third, we contend that while there is an affiliation between dominance theory and intersectionality, there is also at least some tension between their respective framings of race and gender.

The full essay is available here.

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Sex Inequality in the U.S. and French #Tax Laws

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Mary Roche Waller (Michigan JD 2017) has published Sex Inequality in the United States and French Income Tax Filing Systems, 73 Tax Lawyer 207 (2019). Here is the abstract:

This Article explains and compares the joint and family income taxation structures in the U.S. and France, respectively, and discusses how these structures contribute to sex inequality. The Article also addresses the rationales for a joint or family structure and offers three possible approaches for reducing the sex inequality in the tax systems in the U.S. and France, including a secondary earner deduction, increased child-care subsidies or deductions, or a switch to an individual taxation structure. The Article concludes that the U.S. and France could better reach sex equality goals by moving to an individual filing system.

The full article is available on the ABA website here (paywall for now; sorry).

Posted in Feminism and Families, Sisters In Other Nations, Women and Economics | Comments Off on Sex Inequality in the U.S. and French #Tax Laws

Constitutional Court of Colombia Invalidates Tax on Menstrual Hygiene Products, Requires Bogotá to Provide Supplies for Homeless Women

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Mónica Arango Olaya (DPhil Student, Oxford) has a fantastic write-up of two recent decisions by the Colombian Constitutional Court:

In late 2018, the Court adopted Decision C-117 of 2018, holding that a provision imposing 5% VAT tax on tampons and sanitary pads violated women´s rights to equality, autonomy, and access to a minimum core standard of life. The petitioners had argued that the tax did not consider women’s economic ability to access essential goods that only they were obliged to use (given that there were no comparable alternative products in the market).

The Court recognized that there was a high margin of discretion for the legislature in tax law. Nonetheless, it could not infringe the principles of reasonableness and non-discrimination. The Court also affirmed that the tax violated the principle of “no taxation without representation”, as Congress never discussed why tampons and sanitary pads should be taxed, despite being irreplaceable goods used only by women. More importantly, it underscored two points. First, women´s ability to appear in and navigate public spaces, and participate in all the dimensions of public life, is necessarily contingent on access to sanitary pads and tampons. While the Court acknowledged the existence of alternatives like the cup and menstrual underwear, it also found that these options were effectively inaccessible for rural women, and indeed for the majority of women, who lived on the minimum wage. Effective access was thus held to be interrelated with the protection of other rights, such as the rights to health, education, autonomy and dignity. * **

More recently, building upon the previous case, the Court affirmed in Decision T-398 of 2019 that the city of Bogota had violated the rights to dignity, autonomy as well as the sexual and reproductive rights of a woman living on the streets, by not including in their policies the provision of sanitary pads. The Court found that women in vulnerable positions, with no knowledge of menstrual hygiene, had to look through trash cans to find products to manage their flow. This was a breach of the State´s positive duties to provide minimum goods for the most vulnerable.

The full post is here at the Oxford Human Rights Hub.

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Goldblatt & Steele on “Inequality Related to Menstruation”

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Beth Goldblatt (University of Technology Sydney) and Linda Steele (University of Technology Sydney) have published a new article, Bloody Unfair: Inequality Related to Menstruation – Considering the Role of Discrimination Law, 41 Sydney L. Rev. 293 (2019):

Drawing on growing social awareness, activism and scholarship, this article examines menstruation as an equality issue and the implications for discrimination law in Australia. It discusses the complex nature of inequality that arises in relation to menstruation. It also considers intersectional discrimination (when a combination of attributes generates a new form of discrimination) that occurs in relation to menstruation facing different groups: women and girls with disabilities, incarcerated women, and transgender, gender-diverse and intersex people. The article considers how some forms of inequality related to menstruation might be addressed through discrimination law (workplace adjustments and provision of menstrual products in carceral settings) and points to limitations of discrimination law or its application, such as in relation to sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities and strip searching of incarcerated women. It concludes that Australian discrimination law can only have a limited impact in addressing menstrual inequality. This is because: (a) the structure of the law is attribute-based and thus cannot address the complex intersections of sex and other attributes; (b) it cannot address structural inequality; and (c) it cannot adequately contend with embodied and abjected legal subjects. These conclusions have radical implications beyond menstruation inequality in contributing to broader discussions of how law can re-imagine gender difference and advance equality.

The full article is available here.



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Creighton Law Seeks Tenured or Tenure-Track Director of Clinical Programs

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From colleagues at Creighton:

Creighton University School of Law is seeking qualified applicants for the position of Director of Clinical Programs. This position is tenured or tenure eligible.  Creighton University is a Jesuit university, and as such is committed to the training of students in service to others, and recognizes the importance of family life,  the inalienable worth of each individual and values ethnic and cultural diversity as core values. In keeping with Creighton’s  Ignatian tradition of inclusivity and compassion, we seek a caring, hospitable environment for everyone, regardless of age, culture, faith, ethnicity, immigrant status, race, gender, sexual orientation, language, physical appearance, physical ability or social class.

Interviews begin by January 20, 2020.

For full details, and to make an application, see here.


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Schlessinger Library @RadInstitute Grants

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The Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America has a research grant program. The summer grant deadline is November 15, 2019. There are term-time grants, too. Check out the website for more info here.

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@UofELawSchool Edinburgh Appoints Laura Macgregor Chair of Scots Law – First Woman to Hold Same Chair Hume Did

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From  The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland:

Professor Laura Macgregor has been appointed to the Chair of Scots Law at Edinburgh Law School.

The chair is the second oldest in Edinburgh Law School. Established in 1722, with Alexander Bayne its first incumbent, it has been held by legal luminaries such as John Erskine, David Hume, George Joseph Bell, Sir John Rankine and, most recently, Kenneth Reid. In the 297 years since its creation, Professor Macgregor will be the first woman to hold it.

Professor Macgregor spent several years as a practising solicitor with two Edinburgh law firms, before beginning her academic career at the University of Glasgow in 1997. She joined the Edinburgh Law School in 2002. Her interests lie in the field of commercial law, and her research considers Scots law in its comparative context, both European and global. She is the author of The Law of Agency in Scotland (2013), published in the Scottish Universities Law Institute series. Currently undertaking research into the law of partnership, her recent article, “Partnerships and Legal Personality: Cautionary Tales from Scotland” will be published in 2020 in the Journal of Corporate Law Studies.

On the subject of her appointment, Professor Macgregor said: “I am absolutely delighted to be appointed to this historic and important chair within Edinburgh Law School. It is a challenging time to take on this role, with events such as Brexit lying over the horizon. Supported by my excellent colleagues in private law, I am confident that we can meet such challenges, ultimately achieving our aim of creating a diverse, inclusive and welcoming place to study.”

Professor Macgregor will take up her new role from 1 July 2020.

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@CarolineMCorbin on “The Supreme Court’s Facilitation of White Christian Nationalism”

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Caroline Mala Corbin (Miami) has posted to SSRN her article The Supreme Court’s Facilitation of White Christian Nationalism (Alabama Law Review, forthcoming).  Here is the abstract:

Doug Jager, a band student of Native American ancestry, complained about the Christian prayers at his Georgia public school’s football games. Rather than address his concerns, the school lectured him on Christianity and proposed an alternative that appeared neutral yet would have still resulted in Christian prayers. In striking down the school’s proposal, Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr. understood some of the ramifications of state-sponsored Christianity.

Despite Supreme Court rulings limiting Christian invocations at public school events, government-sponsored Christian prayers and Christian symbols remain plentiful and constitutional in the United States. This proliferation of government-sponsored Christianity around the country both reflects and strengthens Christian nationalism.

Christian nationalism maintains that the United States is and should be a Christian nation, and Christian nationalism’s defining characteristic is the belief that religious identity and national identity overlap completely. Christian nationalism necessarily implies a hierarchy based on religion, with Christian insiders who are true Americans and non-Christian outsiders who are not. Moreover, studies show that those with strong identification with Christian nationalism have more hostile attitudes towards out-groups, religious and otherwise. That hostility paves the way for hostile public policy. Consequently, Christian nationalism does not simply lead to symbolic exclusion from the community and nation, it may lead to actual exclusion.

Thus, as the sociological evidence establishes, the harm of government-sponsored Christianity is not just offense, but discriminatory attitudes and discriminatory policies. The insight embedded in Establishment Clause doctrine that the government should not favor one religion over others is borne out by contemporary social science. As a result, instead of eviscerating separation of church and state, it ought to be recognized as more important than ever.

The full article is available here.

Posted in Feminism and Religion, Feminist Legal Scholarship | Comments Off on @CarolineMCorbin on “The Supreme Court’s Facilitation of White Christian Nationalism”

80% of Teens Report Missing Class Time or Knowing Someone Who Has Missed Class Time Because of Lack of Access to Menstrual Hygiene Products

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The results of a Harris Insights & Analytics poll of 1000 teens ages 13-19, sponsored by Thinx and PERIOD, are here. Some of the salient findings:

Two-thirds of teens have felt stress due to lack of access to period products.

20% (1 in 5 teens) have struggled to afford period products or were not able to purchase them at all.

61% have worn a tampon or pad for more than 4 hours because they did not have enough access to period products (puts them at risk of infection and TSS).

84% (more than 4 in 5 teens) have either missed class time or know someone who missed class time because they did not have access to period products.

25% (1 in 4 teens) have missed class because of lack of access to period products.

83% (more than 4 in 5 teens) think lack of access to period products is an issue that is not talked about enough.

More than 4 in 5 teens have either missed class time or know a classmate who missed class time because they did not have access to period products.

Read the full report here.

Posted in Primary and Secondary Education, Women and Economics, Women's Health | Comments Off on 80% of Teens Report Missing Class Time or Knowing Someone Who Has Missed Class Time Because of Lack of Access to Menstrual Hygiene Products

Period Poverty in the U.S.

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  at Direct Relief hosted a podcast on the topic here.

Here’s a summary of the program, which features Jennifer Weiss-Wolf of Period Equity:

Pads and tampons are a simple necessity, yet women across America are going without them. The cost of these products make them inaccessible for many low-income women struggling to make ends meet. These women often forgo menstrual hygiene products in order to afford for other basic necessities. Without tampons or pads, women resort to using rags, toilet paper, or even adult diapers. The problem has garnered national attention and stoked advocacy campaigns across the United States. While activists work to pass policies that would increase women’s access to period products, women on the margins continue to struggle with the problem on a monthly basis.

Posted in Women and Economics, Women's Health | Comments Off on Period Poverty in the U.S.

UConn Dean’s Search

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The University of Connecticut has announced the opening of the search for the next Dean of the School of Law.  The official announcement — together with information about applications and nominations as well as links to the position description — can be found here.

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Joshi on “Affirmative Action as Transitional Justice”

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Yuvraj Joshi (doctoral candidate, Yale Law School) has posted to SSRN his article Affirmative Action as Transitional Justice, 2020 Wisc. L. Rev. (forthcoming). Here is the abstract:

What role does affirmative action play in transitioning toward a more just society? The two literatures best equipped to answer this question — transitional justice and affirmative action — have neglected both the question and one another. Transitional justice scholars have focused on a limited set of measures (such as truth commissions and criminal prosecutions) and overlooked the role of affirmative action in facilitating transition. At the same time, affirmative action scholars have neglected the ways affirmative action may be part of a larger transitional justice project. Bringing these literatures into conversation for the first time, this Article shows how integrating affirmative action and transitional justice can advance our understanding of both practices. Affirmative action can bring attention to structural inequalities in transitional societies and help delineate the boundaries of transitional justice. In so doing, affirmative action can bridge a divide between the field of transitional justice and the phenomenon of societal transition that it seeks to understand and facilitate. Transitional justice, on the other hand, can elucidate how the period of transition informs affirmative action’s features and functions; it can also illuminate affirmative action’s strengths and shortcomings in bringing about a more just society. Affirmative action should therefore be added to the transitional justice ‘toolkit’ and anchored in transitional justice concepts and debates.

Read the full article here.

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Same-Sex Voting and Phallocentric Legislation—Toward Next Era Democracy?

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The present battle over reproductive rights is an attempted coup by conservatives, who see an opportune moment. Ushered in by the election of Donald Trump as well as the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, some see it as an opportunity to overturn the right to abortion. It is peculiar that such a case could be made under the leadership of Trump, whose own life is a poster-child for careless, wanton, and assaultive attitudes toward sex. It is strange that the move to tighten abortion comes from a party whose leader has led a playboy life, preying on women, paying to silence women, and having all sorts of illicit affairs during and in-between his three marriages. Even if Trump embodies exactly why the option of abortion should be a woman’s choice, it is obvious that Republicans believe that the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court signals an opportunity.

That Kavanaugh, himself accused of sexual assault and other sexual misconduct, should be the vote that turns the tide is even more remarkable. If Trump’s destructive masculinity has so far showed how a man’s carelessness can easily turn into a woman’s pregnancy, Kavanaugh showed a more pernicious side. He has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by different women, which is also a reminder of the most unfortunate ways that pregnancies can occur—through the use of force or the threat of force by a man. That Kavanaugh’s vote may become the lynchpin for abolishing abortion is the ultimate irony, especially were it to force a woman to carry a child that was the product of sexual assault

The different states moving to reverse reproductive rights have Trump and Kavanaugh to thank for helping engineer the movement. The fact that they are the igniters of this movement is like a warped episode of A Handmaid’s Tale. Under such men and the party that supports them, women find themselves under a legal assault. Such an attack triggers the need to devise new political means of reimagining democracy and pushing back. Two future pathways of resistance may be to advocate for same-sex voting and counter-legislation. It might be time to reimagine voting and start pressing for laws that govern a man’s privates as rigidly as the laws that govern a woman’s womb.

Although it may seem politically naïve to suggest it, a person’s reproductive rights might be best determined along sex lines. It is not far-fetched to allot women as the only class of voters allowed to vote on issues that govern reproductive law and their own body. Likewise, it is already taken for granted that a man should be able to decide these issues, whether he wants to have children, when he does, and with whom. None of these should be hoisted upon him by the state. The same should hold true for women, even though their rights are more precarious since they operate against a history of oppression and inequality, where once upon a time they held the status of being property. Today, women still struggle with inequities and far less political power than their counterparts. It is a stark lesson in gender dominance that men should wield such decisionmaking over female bodies, which makes the current democratic model simply a perpetuation of injustice. Same-sex voting would at least take the male thumb off the scales so that women alone could be the arbiters of any policy that pertains to their body, and the pain and suffering that come with it.

Some might scoff at the idea of same-sex voting, but it is not outlandish to think that there are some issues for which women-only should be allowed to vote. An obvious argument in favor of this idea is the fact that women bear unique burdens and pains of being women, including pregnancy and childbirth. So, the very painful issues at stake are completely unknown to men. Despite this gap, as it stands, men are flexing their power to sentence women to pregnancy, which in some cases might be construed as a sentence of torture. Compared to a system that would let women decide on laws that impact their own bodies and the pain and suffering they must endure, current legislative efforts bear an heir of barbarism. To some, same-sex voting might seem undemocratic, but historical circumstances of this country have created glass ceiling after ceiling for women, while current inequalities persist. Same sex voting would be a step toward a more egalitarian political playing field in which women have a genuine say in what happens to their body.

This move would also further democracy in the sense that it would lead to more equitable and acceptable political outcomes for women. For example, even if a majority of women enacted laws similar to the anti-abortion efforts currently underway, it would likely lead to more women accepting the result compared to today’s system, where a man’s opinion carries the heaviest weight. Today, as in years of old, men are the primary creators of these laws and they are still largely the most important voters. Male dominance of American culture and its legal systems gives males the political upper-hand now and in future efforts to regulate women’s bodies. Congress may be starting to open up to women members, but it and other government institutions still live in the shadows of inequality. Hence, when it comes to decisions about the female body or sexual reproduction, allowing same-sex voting would be a push toward expanding the one-size-fits-all model of voting into one that is more tailored to the lived experiences of women. They are the ones who must experience these unique physical realities, from menstruation and childbirth all the way to menopause.

Whether same-sex voting or other such voting possibilities take root, there is no doubt that phallocentric legislation is being used as a counter-strategy by some. On social media there has been robust discussion on this point, including what it would look like if similar laws were passed for men. Memes have ruminated on mandatory male vasectomies, banning vasectomies, and other restrictions, including getting permission from others before being allowed the procedure. Others have pointed out that over a nine-month period, a man can cause a number of pregnancies, whereas a woman can only have a single pregnancy. Taken wholly, the commentary underscores that the greatest threat of unwanted pregnancies necessarily comes from males.

A more concrete illustration comes from the state of Georgia, where one lawmaker responded to a controversial abortion law by drafting a “testicular bill of rights.” The plan would ban vasectomies and require men to seek permission from their partners before getting a Viagra prescription. Unabashed in its attempt to mirror the type of punitive measures laid out in the abortion law, the proposed law would go even further and make the use of a condom an “aggravated assault” under the criminal law, require DNA testing of a fetus when a woman is 6 weeks to determine the father for child support purposes, in addition to a 24-hour waiting period to purchase pornography or sex toys.

Both counter-legislation and same-sex voting may seem like the bud of a joke, yet one might only imagine if such a trend were to arise, perhaps supported by the spirit of the #MeToo movement. What if male and female bodily and reproductive rights were policed equally such that men patrolled their own bodies, and women did the same for themselves? Such a move would result in a true shift of power since men have been the sole legal guardians of the American legal system for most of the country’s existence and have created nearly all the laws that govern women’s sex and reproductive rights. Perhaps it is time to relinquish this power to whom it rightfully belongs.

Making men feel regulative burdens similar to women, in addition to giving women the exclusive vote over women’s issues, will work to infuse more democracy into the system. To be sure, how we vote is not etched in stone, and there is obviously more than one way to vote. To say that there is only one way is itself not very democratic; it also betrays history, since for a long time, there was only one-sex voting, men. But not all men—only wealthy white men were allowed to vote. To say that voting arrangements cannot be reconfigured is disingenuous since American voting and procedures are always a work in progress. The same holds for the notion of phallocentric legislation. It represents a dramatic way to counter the assault on female bodies by demonstrating why the regulation of male bodies is an even more efficient solution to stemming unwanted pregnancies.


Posted in Feminism and Politics | Comments Off on Same-Sex Voting and Phallocentric Legislation—Toward Next Era Democracy?

CFP – Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Corporate Law

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DEADLINE: Friday November 1, 2019

The U.S. Feminist Judgments Project seeks contributors of rewritten judicial opinions and private contracts, and commentaries on rewritten opinions and contracts, for an edited collection tentatively titled Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Corporate Law.  This edited volume is part of a collaboration among law professors and others to rewrite, from a feminist perspective, key judicial decisions in the United States.  The initial volume, Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court, edited by Kathryn M. Stanchi, Linda L. Berger, and Bridget J. Crawford, was published in 2016 by Cambridge University Press.  Cambridge University Press has approved a series of Feminist Judgments books. In 2017, Cambridge University Press published the tax volume titled Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions. Other volumes in the pipeline include rewritten opinions in the areas of reproductive justice, family law, torts, employment discrimination, trusts and estates, health law, and property law. More information about the project can be found here.

Corporate law volume editors are Anne Choike, Usha R. Rodrigues and Kelli Alces Williams. The corporate law volume’s advisory panel is comprised of Alina Ball; Lisa Fairfax; Theresa Gabaldon; Joan MacLeod Heminway; Kristin Johnson; Elizabeth Pollman; Poonam Puri; Darren Rosenblum; Cindy Schipani; Kellye Testy; Cheryl Wade; and Cindy Williams.

With the guidance of the advisory panel, the editors have selected cases that have not appeared in other Feminist Judgments volumes, doctrinally significant cases, and cases that raise issues of particular salience to women’s lives.  This volume also seeks to include a rewritten “contract,” given corporate law’s emphasis upon default law and the precedent-setting power of privately negotiated arrangements. Potential authors are welcome to suggest other opinions or contracts that they would like to address, but the overall number of cases and contracts finally included in the volume must remain limited.

Interested prospective contributors should submit a proposal to either: 1) rewrite an opinion or contract (subject to a 10,000 word limit), or 2) comment on a rewritten opinion (4,000 word limit).  Rewritten opinions may be majority opinions, concurrences, dissents, or private contracts.

Continue reading

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Cook on “Johnny Appleseed: Citizenship Transmission Laws and a White Heteropatriarchal Property Right in Philandering, Sexual Exploitation, and Rape (the “Whp”) or Johnny and the Whp”

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Blanche Bong Cook (Kentucky) has posted to SSRN her article, “Johnny Appleseed: Citizenship Transmission Laws and a White Heteropatriarchal Property Right in Philandering, Sexual Exploitation, and Rape (the “Whp”) or Johnny and the Whp, 31 Yale J. L. & Feminism 57 (2019).  Here is the abstract:

Title 8, United States Code, Section 1409—one of this country’s citizenship transmission laws—creates a white heteropatriarchal property right in philandering, sexual exploitation, and rape (the “WHP”). Section 1409 governs the transmission of citizenship from United States citizens to their children, where the child is born abroad, outside of marriage, and one parent is a citizen and the other is not. Section 1409, however, draws a distinct gender distinction between women and men: An unwed female American citizen who births a child outside the United States, fathered by a foreign man, automatically transmits citizenship to her child. An unwed male American citizen, by contrast, who fathers a child abroad with a foreign woman has the distinctly male prerogative to either grant or deny citizenship to his foreign-born nonmarital child at his leisure.

The full article is available here.

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Hearing Women: Reflections on the Anniversary of Christine Blasey Ford’s Testimony

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by Stephanie M. Wildman

September 27 marks the anniversary of a skirmish that ranks in the pantheon of modern civilian conflicts over what kind of society America will be. Many believed Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony one year ago about sexual assault she had endured at the hands of then-Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Her composed, measured statement during the confirmation hearing exemplified bravery in the face of adversity.

The Senate and the nation’s response to her testimony underscored the high stakes in the ongoing ideological conflict about who we are as a nation, beyond the obvious prize of a Supreme Court seat. 

The hearing also provided an opportunity to consider race and American racial dynamics which society too often overlooks in the context of whiteness. In fact, the specter of race, America’s persistent issue, hovered above the proceedings, the unspoken ghost in the room. Race remains present even when ignored. 

In 1991, another confirmation hearing for now Justice Clarence Thomas, in which Anita Hill testified about sexual harassment she had experienced, split the nation. Race pervaded the Ford-Kavanaugh hearings in ways different from its presence when Professor Anita Hill testified. In the Hill-Thomas hearings commentators did not ignore race, perhaps because both participants are Black. Yet whites have a race, too, and whiteness impacted society’s views of Professor Blasey Ford and Justice Kavanaugh.

During his hearing, Justice Thomas highlighted his race as a black man, claiming the proceedings amounted to a high-tech lynching. Justice Thomas essentially erased Professor Hill as a black woman, turning sexual harassment into a white woman’s issue. Ironically, black women have been at the forefront of combatting sexual harassment in court cases, just as Professor Hill did by coming forward.

Justice Kavanaugh, in contrast during his hearing, exercised white racial privilege by conducting himself in a manner unthinkable for a Black man. While Dr. Ford epitomized civility, Justice Kavanaugh, in his testimony, exhibited intense anger toward the proceedings and many individuals. Memorably, he engaged in an interchange with Senator Amy Klobuchar that was so disrespectful that he returned from a break and apologized for his outburst. 

Justice Kavanaugh exhibited a white, male, power complaint, as he cast himself as a victim, free to rant away. Picture a black judicial candidate responding as Justice Kavanaugh did. Might the hypothetical black candidate have appeared unreasonable to those who found Justice Kavanaugh’s behavior acceptable? What if Dr. Ford had been loud and complaining? Would she have been seen as “too aggressive” and not credible by those who believed her? 

Many observers defending Justice Kavanaugh urged that a grown man should not be judged harshly based on his behavior as a youth, even if part of the story were true. This attitude toward the criminal justice system highlights another racialized aspect of the hearings. Black and Latino youth find themselves in a school to prison pipeline, beginning with minor offenses or school suspensions. Even these minor offenses tarnish their adult records, making educational attainment and job advancement impossible. Where are their defenders, saying these men should not be judged by the misdemeanors perpetrated in their youth? Society judges youthful indiscretion through the lens of race, with harsher penalties to black and brown children. Imagine Justice Kavanaugh as a Black youth.

In these two transfixing political moments patriotic women subjected themselves to national scrutiny, putting their sense of duty before their personal comfort. But the same result, confirmation of the men accused, ensued, giving a message to women that we do not really matter

An expanded version of these ideas appear in Hearing Women: From Professor Hill to Dr. Ford, 33 Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development __ ( forthcoming 2019).


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Allen, Jackson & Harris on “The ‘Pink Ghetto’ Pipeline

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Renée Nicole Allen (St. John’s), Alicia Jackson (FAMU), and DeShun Harris (Memphis) have posted to SSRN their article, The ‘Pink Ghetto’ Pipeline: Challenges and Opportunities for Women in Legal Education, U. Detroit Mercy L. Rev. (forthcoming 2019). Here is the abstract:

The demographics of law schools are changing and women make up the majority of law students. Yet, the demographics of many law faculties do not reflect these changing demographics with more men occupying faculty seats. In legal education, women predominately occupy skills positions, including legal writing, clinic, academic success, bar preparation, or library. According to a 2010 Association of American Law Schools survey, the percentage of female lecturers and instructors is so high that those positions are stereotypically female. The term coined for positions typically held by women is “pink ghetto.” According to the Department of Labor, pink-collar-worker describes jobs and career areas historically considered “women’s work,” and included on the list is teaching. However, in legal education, tenured and higher-ranked positions are held primarily by men, while women often enter legal education through non-tenured and non-faculty skills-based teaching pipelines. In a number of these positions, women experience challenges like poor pay, heavy workloads, and lower status such as by contract, nontenure, or at will. While many may view this as a challenge, looking at these positions solely as a “pink ghetto” diminishes the many contributions women have made to legal education through the skills faculty pipelines. Conversely, we miss the opportunity to examine how legal education has changed and how women have accepted the challenge of being on the front line of educating this new generation of learners while enthusiastically adopting the American Bar Association’s new standards for assessment and student learning. There is an opportunity for women to excel in these positions if we provide them with allies who champion for equal status and provide the requisite support. This article focuses on the changing gender demographics of legal education, legal education pipelines, and the role and status of women in higher education with an emphasis on legal education. The final section applies feminist pedagogy to address challenges, opportunities, and aspirations for women in legal education.

The full article is available here.

Posted in Academia, Law Teaching, The Overrepresentation of Women | Comments Off on Allen, Jackson & Harris on “The ‘Pink Ghetto’ Pipeline

Upcoming Louis Henkin Lecture on Human Rights @MiamiLawSchool

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If you’ll be in Miami on October 15, 2019, please consider attending this lecture at the University of Miami School of Law:

8th Annual Louis Henkin Lecture on Human Rights

Catherine Powell
Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law

“Race, Gender, and Nation in an Age of Shifting Borders” 

This lecture will explore two common tropes in the current immigration debate – the “welfare cheat” and the “criminal” – to demonstrate how these narratives shape legal constructs of nationhood and borders as both raced and gendered. Professor Powell will argue that while commentators have rightly criticized the use of racial tropes in the immigration debate, what remains undertheorized is how gender intersects with race, for example, in the controversies over family separation and the rollback of asylum protections. Professor Powell will address this gap and explore how these intersectional tropes impact the legal rights of women and men, particularly through the unstable prisms of motherhood and masculinity. 

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
6:00 PM

University of Miami School of Law
1311 Miller Road, Room E352
Coral Gables, FL 33146

Posted in Feminism and Families, Immigration, Upcoming Conferences | Comments Off on Upcoming Louis Henkin Lecture on Human Rights @MiamiLawSchool

Why Are Two Naked Men the Logo for Law & Society Association Annual Meeting 2020? @law_soc

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It is a rather curious graphic.  The LSA website provides only the information: “Logo design by: Joelle Grogan.”

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Why The Gender Pay Gap Took Center Stage In Michelle Wiliams’s Emmy Speech by @NaomiCahn

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When Michelle Williams accepted a 2019 Emmy for best actress in a limited series or TV movie for her role as the Broadway dancer and actress Gwen Verdon in FX’s “Fosse/Verdon,” she started with the normal thank yous, and ended with the gender wage gap:

 “The next time a woman — and especially a woman of color, because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white, male counterpart — tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her. Believe her.”

As Williams well knows from personal experience, there is a substantial pay gap in Hollywood, and, in 2018, only one female actor – Scarlett Johansson — appeared on the list of the top 10 highest earning actors.  

(read the rest of the article at Forbes, here)

-Naomi Cahn

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