This week I was invited to a lunch at which former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the Supreme Court was the speaker.
On the issue of needing more women on the court, O’Connor said: “Our nearest neighbor, Canada, has four women on its nine-member court, and one is their chief justice. And they’re a great group. Now what’s the matter with us? You know, we can do better.” Indeed, we can and should.
We don’t need more women because legal outcomes necessarily would be different, but specifically because they wouldn’t. The question isn’t why more women, but rather why not?
A fundamentalist Christian political party led entirely by men was told by the Netherlands' Supreme Court on Friday that it must accept women in leadership roles.
The Political Reformed Party, known by its Dutch acronym SGP, has consistently held two or three seats in the country's 150-member national parliament since the 1920s but has never had a female candidate at any level.
"People say it's only a small party, so why bother?" said Kathalijne Buitenweg, chair of the women's rights organization that brought the case challenging SGP policies.
"But can you imagine the outcry there would be in this country if a party with these principles had been organized by Muslims?"
The SGP, which says it draws its inspiration from the Bible, has argued that restricting leadership roles to men is justified by religious freedom.
A ban on the full veil in the United States would be unthinkable. This is in significant part owing to America's relatively small Muslim population, and its history of successfully assimilating generations of immigrants who have come to her shores determined to learn English and succeed on America's terms. But it is also because a ban would represent an unprecedented infringement of religious freedom. In America, the separation of church and state is designed to protect the state from religious interference and to protect religion, which always has a public component, from government interference.
France is different. It is home to approximately six million Muslims. That's more than in any other European state and represents almost 10% of France's population. Significant numbers of these relatively new immigrants are poor, confined to low-income and violence-prone neighborhoods on the outskirts of Paris, inclined to anti-Semitism, sympathetic to political Islam, and alienated from French social and political life.
In addition, the doctrine of laïcité—which is inscribed in Article 1 of the French Constitution and proclaims France a secular republic—separates church and state differently than in America. For many French, laïcité, roughly translated as national secularism, has acquired a militant meaning, according to which government must confine religion to the private sphere. This sensibility undergirded the ban on headscarves in schools.
A class-action lawsuit alleging that Novartis Pharmaceuticals practiced sex discrimination against female employees is set to go to trial on Wednesday in federal court in New York.
The suit alleges that Novartis, the United States subsidiary of the Swiss drug giant, discriminated against women in pay and promotions — especially women who became pregnant. Women in sales positions at the company received an average of $105 a month less than men in comparable jobs from 2002 through 2007, according to their lawyers.
Submitted by kpeterson on Fri, 04/09/2010 - 12:26pm
This report provides data to illuminate whether and how the presence of female judges on three-judge federal appellate panels affects collegial decisionmaking in a subset of gender-coded cases—those involving claimants alleging sexual harassment or sex discrimination. An empirical analysis of 556 federal appellate cases decided in 1999, 2000, and 2001 reveals that judges’ gender mattered to case outcomes. Though plaintiffs lost in the vast majority of cases, they were twice as likely to prevail when a female judge was on the bench.
Elaine Joyce, a champion amateur golfer, made a federal case of being barred from playing in a 2007 men’s tournament at Dennis Pines Golf Course, where she is a longtime member. She sued the town of Dennis, Mass., and others in 2008. Last week, the United States District Court in Boston, in a rare federal ruling involving a town, its public golf course and an accusation centering on sex discrimination, told her she had won.
Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton ruled that a municipality and its public golf course were liable under federal equal-protection laws if they engaged in sex discrimination through policy, conduct or custom.
“It has been kind of a lonely road as far as support from other people, men or women,” Joyce, 45, said in a telephone interview. “For me, this decision means encouragement that I was right, and it certainly upheld what I took the law to mean. Hopefully, that prevents other women from having to go through this.”
The Bank of America Corporation and Merrill Lynch were accused of discriminating against women in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday by three female financial advisers at the companies. The suit accused Bank of America and Merrill Lynch of giving male counterparts of the three employees bigger bonuses and better opportunities. The women also said that the companies sought to punish them when they complained about perceived inequalities.
Quebec Premier Jean Charest and his cabinet have introduced sweeping legislation that effectively bars Muslim women from receiving or delivering public services while wearing a niqab.
According to the draft law, they would not be able to consult a doctor in a hospital, for example, or even attend classes in a university. Charest explained that the legislation, Bill 94, demands a face in plain view, for reasons of identification, security and communication.
The new health care bill represents one of the biggest challenges to U.S. social policy in decades. And for several reasons it may have an especially large impact on women in the U.S. Among the immediate effects for women, insurance companies will no longer be able to charge higher premiums on the basis of gender.
The National Partnership for Women & Families notes that all health plans will also now be required to cover maternity and newborn care, as well as pediatric services expanded to include dental and vision care. Medicaid will expand services to pregnant women and new mothers, offering more family planning services, home visiting programs and postpartum education and support. Working moms will also get a boost, as employers will be required to offer breaks and space for nursing mothers to pump breast milk.
A US District Judge in Hawaii ruled in favor of a women's high school softball team's Title IX claim in Maui County, HI, late last week. Several members of the Baldwin High School softball team, their parents, and their coach sued Maui County and the Department of Education (DOE) for discrimination under Title IX. The basis for their claim was the condition of the women's practice field, which Judge David Ezra ruled was disparate in quality compared to the men's team's field, according to The Maui News.