Category Archives: Gender Issues

New Book: “The Poverty of Privacy Rights”

KBNew Book: Khiara M. Bridges, The Poverty of Privacy Rights (Stanford Univ. Press, 2017). Overview below:

The Poverty of Privacy Rights makes a simple, controversial argument: Poor mothers in America have been deprived of the right to privacy.

The U.S. Constitution is supposed to bestow rights equally. Yet the poor are subject to invasions of privacy that can be perceived as gross demonstrations of governmental power without limits. Courts have routinely upheld the constitutionality of privacy invasions on the poor, and legal scholars typically understand marginalized populations to have “weak versions” of the privacy rights everyone else enjoys. Khiara M. Bridges investigates poor mothers’ experiences with the state—both when they receive public assistance and when they do not. Presenting a holistic view of just how the state intervenes in all facets of poor mothers’ privacy, Bridges shows how the Constitution has not been interpreted to bestow these women with family, informational, and reproductive privacy rights. Bridges seeks to turn popular thinking on its head: Poor mothers’ lack of privacy is not a function of their reliance on government assistance—rather it is a function of their not bearing any privacy rights in the first place. Until we disrupt the cultural narratives that equate poverty with immorality, poor mothers will continue to be denied this right.

The introduction is also available on SSRN here.

New Report: “Protections Delayed: State Housing Finance Agency Compliance With The Violence Against Women Act”

New Report: “Protections Delayed: State Housing Finance Agency Compliance With The Violence Against Women Act” (2017).

News Article: “Trauma and the Welfare State: A Genealogy of Prostitution Courts in New York City”

New Article: Amy J. Cohen, Trauma and the Welfare State: A Genealogy of Prostitution Courts in New York City, 95 Tex. L. Rev. 915 (2017).

Article: “Hun, I Want You for Dessert”: Why Eliminating the Sub-Minimum Wage for Restaurant Servers Will Empower Women

Suzanne Specker, “Hun, I Want You for Dessert”: Why Eliminating the Sub-Minimum Wage for Restaurant Servers Will Empower Women, 19 U. Pa. J.L. & Soc. Change 335 (2017).

 

Article: Countering Neoliberalism and Aligning Solidarities: Rethinking Domestic Violence Advocacy

Article: Deborah M. Weissman, Countering Neoliberalism and Aligning Solidarities: Rethinking Domestic Violence Advocacy, Southwestern University L. Rev. (forthcoming).

This article seeks to situate domestic violence in a larger analytical frame of the political economic, to extend institutional responsibility for violence beyond the criminal justice system, and to form common bonds with other social justice initiatives. It argues that improved remedies for domestic violence victims lie within the reform of the political economy. It examines the efficacy of integrating anti-domestic violence initiatives into realms of work and labor and issues pertaining to the financialization of everyday life, as a way to engage larger questions bearing on economic justice and structural social change. The relationship between domestic violence and political economy is under-theorized and constrained by prevailing neoliberal paradigms. Moreover, deepening wealth inequality in capitalist societies has produced new forms of suffering within families, which underscores the need for diverse constituencies to act in concert and in common political cause. Shifting domestic violence strategies so that they operate within the frame of the political economy may generate greater opportunities for coalition building for and with domestic violence advocates.

The relevance of economic security has loomed large in domestic violence advocacy, to be sure. It has been properly identified as a critical factor that determines whether a victim can escape domestic violence. However, advocacy in this area has been often circumscribed by a narrow focus on individual circumstances, reliance on a residualist welfare state that perceives dependency on public assistance as moral deficiency. Too often economic justice initiatives designed to mitigate domestic violence have been fitted neatly within neoliberal economics that fail to provide meaningful social change. These responses have failed to challenge such policies while discounting the full impact of the neoliberal model on one’s ability to escape domestic violence.

This article relies on the scholarship that considers the impact of neoliberalism on law and social justice claims to provide a contextual examination of the ways in which the constraints of neoliberalism hinder efforts to address laws gender-based violence. It describes and then critiques current economic-related strategies offered by the state and the market designed to improve outcomes for victims of domestic violence and questions the “sources of submission” by domestic violence advocates to a neoliberal pragmatic. It offers proposals to advance economic security in ways that join domestic violence advocacy with other forms of socio-economic advocacy that provide additional progressive promise, but does so cautiously as “[n]eoliberalism is everywhere and nowhere; its custodians are largely invisible.” It suggests that transforming the ways in which attention is paid to economic concerns provides a complementary if not alternative way of understanding and addressing the phenomenon of domestic violence through the broad perspective of socio-economic justice.

News Article: How the Rich Gain and the Poor Lose Under the Republican Health Care Plan

News Article: Haeyoun Park & Margaret Sanger-Katz, How the Rich Gain and the Poor Lose Under the Republican Health Care Plan, N.Y. Times (w/charts).

Report: Food Stamp Work Requirements and the Implications of Devolution

Report: Jane Collins, Food Stamp Work Requirements and the Implications of Devolution, The Gender Policy Report.

Column: We need to fix the social safety net, not shame those who need it

Column: Kristen S. Seefeldt, We need to fix the social safety net, not shame those who need it, PBS Newshour: Making Sense (Feb. 2, 2017).

Article: Poverty and the Hidden Effects of Sex Discrimination: An Empirical Study of Inequality

Article: Gregory R. Day & Salvatore J. Russo, Poverty and the Hidden Effects of Sex Discrimination: An Empirical Study of Inequality, 37 Penn. J. Int’l L. 1183 (2016).

Sexist laws are more prevalent in regions where poverty is endemic. The corollary is true as well: the places where women tend to experience better treatment are typically more highly developed. The legal academy has drawn several inferences from this observation, including the observations that poverty and the development process appear to be detrimental to women’s rights. But despite the strength of this relationship, few legal studies seek to understand precisely why gender inequality seems to be inextricably linked to poverty.

Our research finds the opposite of what is generally assumed: the act of depriving women of fundamental rights is the very cause of underdevelopment. First, using a law and economic approach, sexist laws appear to create perverse behavioral incentives whereby actors rationally engage in inefficient behaviors. This is because sexist laws, in contrast to other forms of discrimination, burden society’s basic economic unit—the family. For instance, regions that prohibit women from earning a wage depress the rate of investment since single-income families must approach the market overcautiously. These deductions are then supported by an original empirical analysis, which indicates that gender inequality and poverty are significantly and powerfully connected. Sexist laws are thus less the result of underdevelopment as much as its very cause.

Podcast: Busted: America’s Poverty Myths

Podcast: Busted: America’s Poverty Myths, from On the Media

#1: The Poverty Tour

#2: Who Deserves to Be Poor?

#3: Rags to Riches

#4: When the Safety Net Doesn’t Catch You

#5: Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook: Poverty in American Edition