Feminism and the Tournament

96 Texas Law Review Online 42

17 Pages Posted: 30 May 2018

See all articles by Jessica A. Clarke

Jessica A. Clarke

University of Southern California Gould School of Law

Date Written: May 17, 2018


Gender and the Tournament: Reinventing Antidiscrimination Law in the Age of Inequality, by Naomi Cahn, June Carbone, and Nancy Levit, offers a new account of the glass ceiling, connecting the phenomenon with shoddy corporate governance and rising income inequality in general. This Response asks some preliminary questions about the risks and rewards of Gender and the Tournament’s project for feminists. It concludes that feminists should take seriously the article’s call for a reinvigoration of disparate impact law, particularly considering the severe limitations of other Title VII theories in promoting sex equality in the workplace. Gender and the Tournament’s critical examination of the connections between destructive competition, growing income inequality, and women’s disadvantage in the workforce may have rewards for feminists in linking sex equality with progressive economic causes. But it also poses risks. This Response identifies two. First, the Article’s critique of the new economy’s tournament mentality may lack appeal for those men and women who love the competition and cannot envision a satisfactory way to restructure the labor market. Second, the argument that toxic competition is intrinsically gendered might be mistaken for the one that women are intrinsically uninterested in (and no good at) competition. This Response therefore urges feminists not to give up on challenging the double standards, double binds, and sex stereotypes that confront ambitious women, in addition to the disparate-impact strategies suggested by Gender and the Tournament.

Keywords: Discrimination, antidiscrimination, Title VII, segregation, workplace, gender, minorities, women, disparities, inequities, globalization, employment, competition, stereotypes, Microsoft

JEL Classification: J15; J16; J21; J31; J33; J38; J71; K13; K31; K41

Suggested Citation

Clarke, Jessica, Feminism and the Tournament (May 17, 2018). 96 Texas Law Review Online 42, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3180800 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3180800

Jessica Clarke (Contact Author)

University of Southern California Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

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