We are feminist law and society scholars who use the lens of gender to analyze judging. Although the highest appellate courts of most jurisdictions now have at least one woman member, and in some countries such as Italy and France, women dominate lower judicial offices, the battle for a fully gender-integrated bench is far from won. Both Australian and Canadian scholars have documented a backlash against women judges. And theorists have been rethinking the concepts of neutrality, legitimacy, impartiality, dissent, and representation using a gender lens. Scholars in the U.S. have tracked the importance of gender bias taskforces for documenting discrimination and bias against women in law. Others are exploring how the media constructs women professionals in general and women judges in particular. Worldwide, polities seem to be transferring more and more power to courts and not surprisingly, there has been more focus on who judges are. As courts become more and more powerful, scholars and activists have much to learn from each other about strategies for accelerating the creation of diverse and representative judiciaries. We also look forward to working with national and international associations of women judges. We welcome all those interested in gender and judging.
The Gender and Judging Collaborative Research Network began in 2005 as a Program for International Research Collaboration (PIRC) proposal to the Law & Society Association. The PIRC had three co-chairs: Dermot Feenan, Sally J. Kenney, and Ulrike Schultz. We benefitted enormously from a network Ulrike Schultz had already established to produce her book, Women and the World’s Legal Professions.
At the Baltimore Law & Society Association conference we held two sessions, and we had five panels in Berlin in 2007. Ulrike Schultz and Sally Kenney then applied to be a permanent research collaborative of the Law & Society Association. We are now officially a CRN of LSA. We continue to organize panels at international conferences, hold special conferences, publish special issues of journals, and keep in touch via an email list run by Sally J. Kenney (firstname.lastname@example.org) and this blog.