Category Archives: Gender Issues

New Article: “Domestic Violence and the Politics of Self-Help”

New Article: Elizabeth L. MacDowell, Domestic Violence and the Politics of Self-Help, 22 William & Mary J. Women & the Law 203 (2016).  Abstract below:

Self-help programs are conceptualized as alternatives to attorney representation that can help both courts and unrepresented litigants. The rhetoric of self-help also typically includes empowering unrepresented individuals to help themselves. But how do self-help programs respond to litigants’ efforts at self-advocacy? This Article reports findings from a study of courthouse self-help programs assisting unrepresented litigants applying for protection orders. The central finding is that self-help staff members were not neutral in the provision of services despite a professed ethic of neutrality. Using the sociological concept of demeanor, this Article shows that staff members rewarded protection order applicants who conformed to stereotypes about domestic violence victims and responded negatively to litigants who raised questions or sought assistance outside the scope of narrowly defined services. Staff members also failed to provide assistance with important economic remedies and de-prioritized safety planning and referrals to vital antiviolence services. In these and other ways, staff members influenced what relief was sought and by whom. This finding is especially troubling given the overarching goals of domestic violence protection orders to increase safety and empower low-income women, and has broad implications for studying access to justice and law and social movements. This Article also contributes to the analysis of demeanor by expanding previous typologies with the addition of two new categories: token supportive demeanor, and apathetic demeanor. These additions further account for how authority is displayed in legal settings, and how law is implemented through everyday interactions as well as formal decision-making.

News Coverage: “Poverty Is An LGBT Issue: New Report Identifies Low Income LGBT Needs”

News Coverage: “Poverty Is An LGBT Issue: New Report Identifies Low-Income LGBT Legal Needs” – Legal Services NYC

News Article: How Poor Single Moms Survive – The Atlantic

News Article: How Poor Single Moms Survive – The Atlantic

Op-Ed: “Let’s give poor women a real choice on family planning”

Op-Ed: Matthew Bruenig, Let’s give poor women a real choice on family planning, LA Times, Oct. 6, 2015.

New Book: “Women and Justice for the Poor A History of Legal Aid, 1863–1945”

BaltanNew Book: Felice Batlan, Women and Justice for the Poor A History of Legal Aid, 1863–1945 (2015).  Abstract below:

This book re-examines fundamental assumptions about the American legal profession and the boundaries between “professional” lawyers, “lay” lawyers, and social workers. Putting legal history and women’s history in dialogue, it demonstrates that nineteenth-century women’s organizations first offered legal aid to the poor and that middle-class women functioning as lay lawyers, provided such assistance. Felice Batlan illustrates that by the early twentieth century, male lawyers founded their own legal aid societies. These new legal aid lawyers created an imagined history of legal aid and a blueprint for its future in which women played no role and their accomplishments were intentionally omitted. In response, women social workers offered harsh criticisms of legal aid leaders and developed a more robust social work model of legal aid. These different models produced conflicting understandings of expertise, professionalism, the rule of law, and ultimately, the meaning of justice for the poor.

Conference: “Poverty and Reproductive Justice: When Choice is a Privilege, Not a Right” – Mar. 23, 2015 in DC

Conference: “Poverty and Reproductive Justice: When Choice is a Privilege, Not a Right” – Mar. 23, 2015 at American University Washington College of Law, Washington, DC.

News Article: Domestic Violence Drives Up New York Shelter Population as Housing Options Are Scarce – NYTimes.com

Domestic Violence Drives Up New York Shelter Population as Housing Options Are Scarce – NYTimes.com.

Wages for Housework – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com

Wages for Housework – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com [featuring, among others, Noah Zatz].

Call-for-Papers: “Applied Feminism and Work” — Univ. of Baltimore, Mar. 5-6, 2015.

Call-for-Papers: “Applied Feminism and Work” — Univ. of Baltimore, Mar. 5-6, 2015.  Deadline for submissions is Oct. 31, 2014.  The call and additional information can be found here.  

Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw: My Brother’s Keeper Ignores Young Black Women – NYTimes.com

Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw: My Brother’s Keeper Ignores Young Black Women – NYTimes.com.