Echoes of the Feminine Mystique: Female Judges and Intergenerational Change in the United States Courts of Appeal

67 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2023

See all articles by Isaac Unah

Isaac Unah

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Political Science

Ryan Williams

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Stephanie Zaino

Oregon State University

Date Written: January 1, 2023

Abstract

Is there an intergenerational gap in decision-making among female judges? Do female judges from United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s generation hold a different orientation to law and policy as compared to judges from younger generations? Reviewing different theoretical perspectives regarding gender and judging, we examine the significance of intergenerational change among female judges whose political coming-of-age occurred at different historical intervals. We explore how this change informs decisional outcomes in the U.S. courts of appeals. To designate a temporal marker of intergenerational change, we use Betty Friedan’s publication of The Feminine Mystique in 1963. Our analysis indicates that despite the traditionalistic culture in which they grew up, female judges who came of age prior to publication of The Feminine Mystique voted with significantly higher progressive inclinations compared to female judges who came of age after the book’s emergence. We explore the implications of this finding for judicial decision-making.

Keywords: Feminine Mystique, Female Judges, Judicial Decision Making, Betty Friedan, Conflict Theory, Generational Change, Courts of Appeal

Suggested Citation

Unah, Isaac and Williams, Ryan and Zaino, Stephanie, Echoes of the Feminine Mystique: Female Judges and Intergenerational Change in the United States Courts of Appeal (January 1, 2023). Journal of Law and Politics, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4315554

Isaac Unah (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Political Science ( email )

361 Hamilton Hall
CB#3265
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States

Ryan Williams

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

Stephanie Zaino

Oregon State University

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Downloads
63
Abstract Views
325
Rank
632,143
PlumX Metrics