Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"And the women have got to hold their tongues"

Ethan FromeThis line really should be known solely as the stunning conclusion to Edith Wharton's classic novella, Ethan Frome. But according to a study by Ruth Davis Konigsberg, this is the apparent attitude of "thought leader" magazines that publish more stories by male authors than female authors by ratios of 3, 4, or even 7 to 1.

The question for us in the legal academy, if we are at all willing to be honest with ourselves, is whether a comparably lopsided (and comparably embarrassing) ratio prevails in legal scholarship and in law school governance. I am speculating wildly, of course, but I suspect that the answer is yes. I also suspect that the imbalance grows stronger as we climb the elite ranks among our journals and our schools. It's time once again to roll out the empirical apparatus. Start counting articles, pages, and citations; start measuring minutes at faculty meetings. And don't stop till you've counted deanships, chairs, interviews, offers, and tenure petitions.

And if the data bear out my conjecture, there is an even tougher question:

What are we willing to do about it?

Remember this: No priesthood, ecclesiastical or secular, deserves its place of privilege unless it inspires all the voices in the choir -- sing they low, or sing they higher.

Hat tip to Feminist Law Professors. This item has been cross-posted at Jurisdynamics.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice post, Jim. Here's a link to an interesting article by Nancy Levit: "Keeping Feminism in its Place: Sex Segregation and the Domestication of Female Academics"

10/11/2006 9:25 AM  

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