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Law, Justice, and Society: A Sociolegal Introduction Chapter 12 Women and the Law (by Mary K. Stohr)

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Presentation on theme: "Law, Justice, and Society: A Sociolegal Introduction Chapter 12 Women and the Law (by Mary K. Stohr)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Law, Justice, and Society: A Sociolegal Introduction Chapter 12 Women and the Law (by Mary K. Stohr)

2 Women and the Law feminism is a set of theories and strategies for social change that takes gender as its central focus to understand social institutions, processes, and relationships feminist jurisprudence is the practice of examining and evaluating the law from the feminist perspective Feminist Legal Theory

3 Women and the Law embraces conflict view patriarchy: sociocultural system that is male dominated at all levels law is a mirror of patriarchy Feminist Legal Theory (cont.)

4 Women and the Law reformist/radical –reformist: liberals who want to retain current legal system and reconfigure it –radical: present system should be abandoned sameness/difference –should women be treated equally or differently? –compromise position: law must accept relevant gender differences but should not focus on the differences; rather, focus on their consequences Feminist Jurisprudence

5 Women and the Law Greek –ambivalent –earth goddess creator –soon male gods assumed rational role –Homer (800 BCE) –Plato and Aristotle –Athens versus Sparta –in general, laws were repressive Women and the Law Throughout History

6 Women and the Law Roman –Cicero –Twelve Tables of Roman law –women were minors of their fathers or husbands Medieval Europe--feudal system –subjugated state supported by church theology –“natural state” ordained by God Women and the Law Throughout History (cont.)

7 Women and the Law Renaissance –women seen as virtuous and not worldly –laws kept women in the home to protect them sixteenth century –Protestant faiths reinforced concept of domestic patriarchy –men were sovereign rulers in politics and home Women and the Law Throughout History (cont.)

8 Women and the Law Thomas Hobbes and John Locke –concede some rights to women –still subordinate to men in all matters –women invisible to political writers (including Rousseau) Wollstonecraft argued that women would not be inferior if given the same opportunities as men Women and the Law Throughout History (cont.)

9 Women and the Law efforts to secure legal standing for women throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Europe and the United States were conditioned by sexist views the U.S. Founding Fathers paid little attention to pleas of their wives to allow women the vote slaves sexually exploited by masters women given the right to vote in Wyoming and Utah territories and their subsequent states women given the right to vote in Colorado and Idaho rest of the country waited until 1920 and the Nineteenth Amendment Suffrage and Other Basic Freedoms

10 Women and the Law in 1872 Susan B. Anthony and fourteen other women were on trial for illegally voting found guilty when the judge instructed the jury to do so the judge did not make her pay her fine or serve time her attorney bailed her out of jail why did they do this? Suffrage and Other Basic Freedoms (cont.)

11 Women and the Law International Woman Suffrage Conference in 1902 –in Washington, D.C. –organized by Elizabeth Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Carrie Chapman Catt –five countries sent delegates –next meeting was in 1904 in Berlin Declaration of Principles major result of conference was creation of the International Women’s Suffrage Alliance Suffrage and Other Basic Freedoms (cont.)

12 Women and the Law other rights denied women during the 1920s, 1930s –enslavement –sold for marriage/prostitution –right to deal with property and earnings –arranged marriages –mothers had lesser rights than fathers –less education and training –work restricted to traditional roles; pay was less –holding public office Suffrage and Other Basic Freedoms (cont.)

13 Women and the Law rights were gained through grassroot feminist work first wave of feminism achieved voting rights second wave focused on other basic rights –property –education –employment –male violence against women and children role of the USSC Suffrage and Other Basic Freedoms (cont.)

14 Women and the Law women have been legally and culturally considered to be property as property, a woman can be bought, sold, replaced, traded, etc., whenever convenient if women follow these cultural mores, they are "madonnas"; if they do not, they are "whores" Gage’s explanation of the witch hunts Women as Human and Person

15 Women and the Law Brownmiller’s history of rape U.S. courts’ resistance to legal protection against physical and sexual abuse and their link to property rights petite treason in England Women as Human and Person (cont.)

16 Women and the Law at times in American history women were allotted more rights than previously, but such rights were soon taken away during colonial period, free white women could own property and engage in business some colonies allowed unmarried women with property to vote Women as Human and Person (cont.)

17 Women and the Law Reed v. Reed, 1971 –intermediary scrutiny standard of review –gender/sex is a quasi-suspect class Nguyen v. INS, 2001 –children need mothers more than fathers –satisfies sameness feminists international standards –preserve differences while protecting economic and political participation Women’s Work and Other Legal Matters

18 Women and the Law Article 11 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women –not yet ratified by United States first wave of feminism: voting rights second wave of feminism: other basic rights Women’s Work and Other Legal Matters (cont.)

19 Women and the Law social barriers have kept women from working in the law however, women have historically participated in law to some limited degree throughout U.S. history –Margaret Brent –Elizabeth Freeman –Lucy Terry Prince women were excluded from clerkships, the ordinary means of entering the legal profession Women’s Work in Law

20 Women and the Law exclusionary underpinnings were the beliefs that feminine characteristics are not suited for the practice of law and that a woman’s place is in the home women viewed as lacking logical capacity accused of being overly subjective and emotional women were not full citizens, and so it would be paradoxical for them to practice law Women’s Work in Law (cont.)

21 Women and the Law exceptions: Arabella Babb Mansfield and Myra Bradwell passed the bar in 1869 –Bradwell v. Illinois, 1873 Lemma Barkloo and Phoebe Cousins were admitted to Washington University Law School in 1869 Ada Kepley graduated from University of Chicago Law School in 1870 Women’s Work in Law (cont.)

22 Women and the Law Charlotte Ray, first African American woman, was admitted to the bar in 1872 Robert Morris, first African American man, appointed as magistrate judge in Boston in 1852 Esther Morris, white woman, appointed as justice of the peace in a mining camp in Wyoming in 1870 Women’s Work in Law (cont.)

23 Women and the Law not until 1918 were women allowed to join the ABA not until 1920 were women allowed on all state bars not until 1928 were women allowed to enter Columbia Law School not until 1950 were women allowed to enter Harvard Law School law schools continued to discriminate against women Women’s Work in Law (cont.)

24 Women and the Law discrimination tempered by second wave of feminism passage of Title VII Civil Rights Act of 1964 passage of Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 lack of bona fide occupational occupations in criminal justice systems Title IX of the Higher Education Act Women’s Work in Law (cont.)

25 Women and the Law more women applying for law school now than before gendered experiences: –men expect to work in a law firm or for a company –more likely to submit to law review –women expect to work for nonprofit or legal services –feel less confident in their legal skills female law professors are underrepresented presidents more willing to appoint women to federal judgeships Women’s Representation in the Legal System

26 Women and the Law despite inroads, barriers are still apparent women lawyers are underrepresented in judgeships, full partnerships in legal firms, law school faculty the "mommy track" effect latent sexism women outperform men in all educational tracks except law school –differential treatment in school Women’s Representation in the Legal System (cont.)

27 Women and the Law still, there are more similarities than differences in experiences job satisfaction job value attitudes about punishment issues and defendants variance explained by promotional opportunities Women’s Representation in the Legal System (cont.)

28 Women and the Law women defendants and litigants face an uphill battle manifest in the perceptions and practices of courtroom actors domestic violence sexual assault divorce treatment of female attorneys and judges custody discrimination against men The Bias Studies

29 Women and the Law the law is androcentric, and therefore female victims of male crimes will be viewed through masculine lenses (Smart, 1989) also, as more women enter the workforce, feminine traits such as cooperation and support will make inroads against masculine traits of adversity and competition (Gilligan, 1982) Law, Equity, and Justice


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