2law, gender & power

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2law, gender & power

  1. 1. Policy Issues around Technology andSustainable Development“ Mae Jemison,Professor of Environmental Science,Dartmouth College 2000-2001 Voices ofPublic Intellectuals Lecture Series • Prof Jemison uses the example of the miner’s canary to speak about the experiences of women and minorities in public life and the legal profession. • If the canaries in the mines died, the miners knew that their air supply was poisoned. • As canaries, women and minorities are blamed for the problems that they experience. • Prof Jemison mentions the attitude some have that ‘losers’ deserve their lot in life but does not mention that this view is linked to Protestantism and Conservative politics.
  2. 2. Female law students• Jemison uses her experiences of women in law to illustrate the following points:• 33% of female first year law students and 10% of males wanted to do public service law. By third year this had dropped to 8% of females and 5% of males.• This point can be linked to the story Jemison told about how men and women play the game. If men have taken over the game and their viewpoint is that public service is less desirable than individualism then that may explain these results.
  3. 3. Soft subjects• The idea that men have shaped the law school experience is illustrated by the example that men are 3 times more likely to be in the top 10% of the class and 1.5 times more likely to be in the top 50% of the class even though their qualifications were equal to the female students on entry. Jemison links this fact to the blaming the victim scenario by giving an example of a colleague who said that the wrong women were being admitted and they had probably majored in ‘soft subjects’ before law school.• Jemison’s main point is how power is used. Men seem to prefer the power over game while females prefer the power with.
  4. 4. Playing the game• Therefore male students prefer the Socratic classroom, they raise their hands, speak at length even though they don’t know what point they want to make and thus deprive others of the opportunity to speak and set the agenda. Jemison calls this building leadership skills (I disagree).• In the Socratic classroom, 66% of females do not participate and this no longer bothers them by third year.• Females prefer a learning community, prefer to say something relevant and give summaries.
  5. 5. 107 United States Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Congress Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct• Assuming that many Congressmen had been Terrorism Act of 2001 trained in Socratic classrooms their training may have shaped the current policy agenda.• Many of the Bills passed in Congress are not read beforehand, presumably Congressmen are using their time to speak at great length when they don’t know yet what point they want to make.• The Patriot Act, passed after Sept 11, which restricted many personal freedoms was printed in the middle of the night and passed without being read (Michael Moore). Many states and districts have since repealed parts or all of the Patriot Act as being unconstitutional• Would the Patriot Act have passed with more females in Congress, or with a learning community style of teaching in law school?
  6. 6. Preference for Professors• Both men and women prefer professors with knowledge of the subject who express their ideas clearly.• Females also want professors who treat them respectfully.• Canadian students told me that the first female Distinguished Professor XXXXX is “so nice” and always makes time for them. None talked about her research, books or 40+ page CV.

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