Women and the Law
MICHAEL KIRBY: APPEALING TO THE FUTURE: MICHAEL KIRBY AND HIS LEGACY, pp. 867-886, I. Freckelton, H. Selby, eds., Thomson Publisher, February 2009
Posted: 18 Jan 2010
Judges have the capacity to effect change for women in explicit and implicit ways: through their decision-making and in their public speaking and (non-judicial) writing. In researching topics related to women and the law and in preparing lectures for various subjects pertaining to gender, discrimination and family law, the judge whose “work” appears most frequently is Michael Kirby. Citations in Australia and overseas indicate that through his judgments, papers and speeches Kirby has had an impact upon women’s rights to justice. This chapter examines, first, the effects of his awareness of gender stereotyping and its potential rippling harm; second, a number of decisions which illustrate his desire to ensure that women, along with other “minority” victims, plaintiffs and defendants, are treated equitably by the criminal justice system; and, finally, his advocacy for women as “actors” on the legal stage – that is, their right to equal representation and upward mobility in legal practitioner occupations.
Keywords: women, discrimination, Kirby, rights
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