Category Archives: Gender Issues

Conference: “Gender and Social Inequality: Why Women’s Rights Still Matter” UPenn Feb. 21, 2014

Info here.

Two New Articles related to Homelessness by Sara Rankin

The articles are here:

Sara Rankin, A Homeless Bill of Rights (Revolution), working paper 2014.  Abstract below:

This Article examines an emerging movement so far unexplored by legal scholarship: the proposal, and in some states, the enactment of a Homeless Bill of Rights. This Article presents these new laws as a lens to re-examine storied debates over positive and social welfare rights. Homeless bills of rights also present a compelling opportunity to re-examine rights-based theories in the context of social movement scholarship. Specifically, could these laws be understood as part of a new “rights revolution”? What conditions might influence the impact of these new laws on the individual rights of the homeless or the domiciled? On American rights culture and consciousness?

The Article surveys current efforts to advance homeless bills of rights across eight states and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico and evaluates these case studies from a social movement perspective. Ultimately, the Article predicts that these new laws are more likely to have an incremental social and normative impact than an immediate legal impact. Even so, homeless bills of rights are a critical, if slight, step to advance the rights of one of the most vulnerable segments of contemporary society. Perhaps as significantly, these new laws present an opportunity for domiciled Americans to confront our collective, deeply-rooted biases against the homeless.

Sara Rankin, Invidious Deliberation: The Problem of Congressional Bias in Federal Hate Crime Legislation, Rutgers L. Rev. forthcoming.  Abstract below:

The intersection of power and prejudice can control the shape of statutory law, and yet a dearth of legal scholarship investigates it. Invidious Deliberation addresses that deficit. It tackles the problem of prejudice in Congressional deliberations at a particularly critical point: when Congress decides which groups to protect under federal hate crime legislation. The Article contends that Congress’s own bias may exclude the most vulnerable groups from hate crime protection.

To illustrate the point, this Article systematically reviews over two decades of Congressional decisions with respect to expansions of the Hate Crime Statistics Act, a “gateway” for groups seeking protection under federal hate crime legislation. The review concludes that Congress exhibited greater resistance to constructing animus against gays, lesbians, and the homeless as morally or legally wrong, especially in comparison to the other covered groups. Invidious Deliberation argues this Congressional resistance is not attributable to an equitable, principled deliberation process; instead, it is an expression of “unrecognized” bias against unpopular groups. To mitigate the impact of Congressional bias, this Article proposes that Congress explicitly and consistently use a set of principled criteria — such as suspect classification factors — to assess candidate groups.

New Article: “The Hyperregulatory State: Women, Race, Poverty and Support”

New Article: Wendy A. Bach, The Hyperregulatory State: Women, Race, Poverty and Support, 25 Yale J. Law & Feminism __ (2014).  Abstract below:

Vulnerability and dependency theory offers a rich and promising vision for those who seek to conceptualize and build a more responsive state. In theorizing a road to a supportive state, however, what would it mean to take up the challenge of intersectionality? What would it mean to center the analysis around key aspects of the relationship between legal institutions and the poor, disproportionately women and families of color who have no choice but to avail themselves of what remains of a shredded social safety net? The Hyperregulatory State argues that, for women who have no choice but to avail themselves of the safety net (think welfare or public housing) and who by their sheer geographic exposure to the mechanisms of government systems (think over-policing of poor communities of color, public hospitals and inner city public schools) find themselves subject to government intrusion (think child welfare agencies and the criminalization of poverty) the state does not merely fail to respond to their needs. In fact, crucial interactions between poor women and the state are characterized by a phenomena here termed regulatory intersectionality, defined as the means by which state systems (in the examples herein, social welfare, child welfare and criminal justice systems) interlock to share information and heighten the adverse consequences of unlawful, deviant, or noncompliant conduct. At every juncture these punitive mechanisms are, in effect, targeted by race, class, gender and place to subordinate poor African American women, families and communities. The state is, in this sense, hyperregulatory. This article describes in detail the specific phenomena of regulatory intersectionality and contextualizes it within a larger schema of hyperregulation. Paying careful attention to regulatory intersectionality and hyperregulation would revise the theories of vulnerability and the responsive state in two crucial and related ways. First, it serves as a practical warning. If the current social safety net is so profoundly characterized by mechanisms that interlock to impose escalating punishment, the road to a supportive state that does not function in this way is likely to be long and complicated. Second, in attempting to realize the vision of the supportive or responsive state, a crucial first step is restructuring and building support systems to enhance rather than undermine the autonomy of poor women, poor families and poor communities. If we fail to center and prioritize those realities and those tasks, then this particular and crucial part of political and legal theory is again in danger of leaving behind those who are, by virtue of race, gender, class, and place, among the most vulnerable.

New Article: “Engaging Men as Fathers: The Courts, the Law, and Father-Absence in Low-Income Families”

New Article: Laurie S. Kohn, Engaging Men as Fathers: The Courts, the Law, and Father-Absence in Low-Income Families, 35 Cardozo L. Rev. 511 (2013).

Symposium Articles on the End of Men

Boston University Law Review published an issue on the topic “The End of Men” and quite a few of the articles relate to poverty law.  For example:

The End of Men or the Rebirth of Class?
June Carbone & Naomi Cahn

Forgotten Fathers
Daniel L. Hatcher

TANF and the End (Maybe?) of Poor Men
Khiara M. Bridges

(and others, all at the first link)

New Book: “Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City”

Doing the Best I CanNew Book: Kathryn Edin & Timothy J. Nelson, Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City (2013).  Amazon link here.  Overview below:

Across the political spectrum, unwed fatherhood is denounced as one of the leading social problems of today. Doing the Best I Can is a strikingly rich, paradigm-shifting look at fatherhood among inner-city men often dismissed as “deadbeat dads.” Kathryn Edin and Timothy J. Nelson examine how couples in challenging straits come together and get pregnant so quickly—without planning. The authors chronicle the high hopes for forging lasting family bonds that pregnancy inspires, and pinpoint the fatal flaws that often lead to the relationship’s demise. They offer keen insight into a radical redefinition of family life where the father-child bond is central and parental ties are peripheral.

Drawing on years of fieldwork, Doing the Best I Can shows how mammoth economic and cultural changes have transformed the meaning of fatherhood among the urban poor. Intimate interviews with more than 100 fathers make real the significant obstacles faced by low-income men at every step in the familial process: from the difficulties of romantic relationships, to decision-making dilemmas at conception, to the often celebratory moment of birth, and finally to the hardships that accompany the early years of the child’s life, and beyond.

New Book: “Ain’t No Trust: How Bosses, Boyfriends, and Bureaucrats Fail Low-Income Mothers and Why It Matters”

New Book: Judith Levine, Ain’t No Trust: How Bosses, Boyfriends, and Bureaucrats Fail Low-Income Mothers and Why It Matters (2013).  Overview below:

Ain’t No Trust explores issues of trust and distrust among low-income women in the U.S.—at work, around childcare, in their relationships, and with caseworkers—and presents richly detailed evidence from in-depth interviews about our welfare system and why it’s failing the very people it is designed to help.

By comparing low-income mothers’ experiences before and after welfare reform, Judith A. Levine probes women’s struggles to gain or keep jobs while they simultaneously care for their children, often as single mothers. By offering a new way to understand how structural factors impact the daily experiences of poor women, Ain’t No Trust highlights the pervasiveness of distrust in their lives, uncovering its hidden sources and documenting its most corrosive and paralyzing effects. Levine’s critique and conclusions hold powerful implications for scholars and policymakers alike.

Call-for-Papers & Conference: “The Feminism and Legal Theory Project at 30: Transformation of the Family and the Recognition and Regulation of Intimate Lives.”

Call-for-Papers & Conference: Emory Law School is hosting “The Feminism and Legal Theory Project at 30: Transformation of the Family and the Recognition and Regulation of Intimate Lives” on Dec. 6-7, 2013 and the call-for-papers deadline is Sept. 12, 2013.

Op-Ed / Article: “Home Economics: The Link Between Work-Life Balance and Income Equality”

Op-Ed / Article: Stephan Marche, Home Economics: The Link Between Work-Life Balance and Income Equality, The Atlantic, June 19, 2013.

Copyright 2013 Ezra Rosser

Copyright 2013 Ezra Rosser

New Article: “Womenomics for Nursing Growth: Making the Case for Work Time Flexibility and Mother-Friendlier Workplaces”

New Article: Gabriela Steier, Womenomics for Nursing Growth: Making the Case for Work Time Flexibility and Mother-Friendlier Workplaces, 21 Buffalo Journal of Gender, Law & Social Policy 111 (2013).  Abstract below:

Gender bias at work often coerces breastfeeding working mothers to choose between their baby or their job. The forced choice between private and work life irreconcilably separates motherhood from a woman’s career, giving rise to the Mommy Wage Gap and the Maternal Wall. Consequently, the separation of work and family life has negative impacts on both the mother and her child. These negative impacts also bear on public health and the economy on a large scale. The more unaccommodating workplaces are, the stricter the separation between work and family life and the more permanent the choice a working mother has to make. Such unaccommodating workplaces thus force breastfeeding working mothers to either wean their children too early or to opt-out. Thus, increasing work-time flexibility for working parents, and especially breastfeeding mothers, would allow working mothers to breastfeed their children for the recommended period of at least six months after birth. The current federal labor laws, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), are insufficient in protecting breastfeeding-working mothers from the gender bias and aggravated work-life conflict. If more working mothers were able to breastfeed their babies for the recommended six months, the government could save public health care costs and use these savings for reinvestments to fuel economic recovery. By allowing working breastfeeding mothers to bring the private and public spheres closer together, and to thereby attain greater work-life life, businesses and companies will be empowered to increase efficiency, productivity, and eventually profitability. This paper evaluates some strategies to increase profitability by providing greater work-time flexibility.