Rooms of Their Own: An Empirical Study of Occupational Segregation by Gender Among Law Professors
Posted: 13 Feb 2005
This Article, part of a symposium, Dismantling Heirarchies in Legal Education, forthcoming in 73 UMKC L. Rev. issue 2(2004), empirically examines one aspect of gender segregation within law schools - the subjects that men and women law professors teach. Examining a thirteen-year period ending with academic year 2002-03, the Article finds that gender segregation is widespread and growing despite the fact that the proportion of women law professors increased during this period by nearly 50%. By 2002-03, women and men were largely teaching different subjects: in almost 80% of subjects taught the gender of the professor deviated to a statistically significant degree from the overall male/female ratio of law school professors. Courses with these gender disproportions generally could be divided into female or male courses, with female courses being softer, more peripheral, less prestigious courses (such as poverty law) and male courses being more intellectual, prestigious, and more central to law (such as constitutional law). These gender identities tended to widen with time.
After examining these results in the context of a larger pattern of job segregation and re-segregation by gender, the Article discusses the negative impact of this gender segregation in the legal field. It concludes that women must be fully integrated into the legal academy, not just for their own benefit but also in order for the law to develop most fully. For this to occur, women must move from the peripheral to the core, or, using an analogy from immigration law (a disproportionately female-taught course), women need to move from green card to full citizenship status.
Keywords: occupational segregation, gender, law school, legal academy, law professor, legal education, empirical research
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