Category Archives: Legal Studies

Op-Ed: the gender wage gap

Gloria Steinem

By Avery Friedman, CNN Legal Analyst and Ursuline College Distinguished Visiting Professor in Constitutional Law, in response to Women in Ohio made only 76.9 cents for every $1 men made; wage gap much wider for minority women published by Cleveland.com April 15, 2014.

Years ago, I was on a panel with the iconic Gloria Steinem. We found commonality in trying to convince people of the need for an Equal Rights Amendment (“ERA”) which sought to remove the institutional obstacles American women face in many aspects of life. She commented to me after the program that women were earning 60 cents for every dollar men earned doing the same job. This idea seemed outrageous to me at the time. It seems outrageous today. The effort to pass the ERA went up in smoke, but it would have avoided the need for President Obama to sign several executive order guaranteeing equal pay for women from federal contractors.

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Fat Talk

dove-campaign

By Avery Friedman, CNN Legal Analyst and Ursuline College Distinguished Visiting Professor in Constitutional Law

In 1920 women were given the right to vote.

In 1963 women were entitled by law to be paid in the same way men are paid.

In 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

In 2007 Nancy Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the House.

Job and professional opportunities have never been greater. So why is it that – - after all this – - – 54% of women would rather be hit by a truck than be fat? (You read that right.)

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Ursuline College Legal Studies Program and Cleveland Association of Paralegals to Host Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith French

headshotUrsuline College’s Legal Studies Program and the Cleveland Association of Paralegals welcome Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith French to Ursuline’s Campus Thursday, February 13. French will talk with the College’s students and community about her professional experience in the field of law.

“The Legal Studies Program is thrilled to partner with the Cleveland Association of Paralegals to bring Justice French to campus. Her dedication to public service is an incredible inspiration to the students. We are honored that she has chosen to speak with the Ursuline College legal community to share her experience in the judiciary,” said Anne Murphy Brown, J.D., Director of the Legal Studies Program at Ursuline College.

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Are men really needed at all?

sarah silver man copy

By Avery Friedman, CNN Legal Analyst and Ursuline College Distinguished Visiting Professor in Constitutional Law

For a guy who has spent time at nearly three dozen universities, I can tell you there’s no place like Ursuline. Maybe it’s the nurturing quality of seemingly everybody here. Maybe it’s Sister Diana who personifies the school. Maybe it’s something in the water. I don’t know. More people hug around Ursuline than at any university or college I’ve ever been to or lectured at.

Maureen Dowd, whose writing I adore, recently spent time with Professor David Page who’s an evolutionary biologist at M.I.T. Page teaches a class called “Are Males Really Necessary?”

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Avoiding the Misdemeanor

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By Avery Friedman, CNN Legal Analyst and Ursuline College Distinguished Visiting Professor in Constitutional Law

Why do men do these things? The fact that our nation outlawed sexual harassment in the workplace nearly fifty years ago is hardly breaking news. Getting the job. Working on the job. I just want to say to the guys, knock it off already! There’s absolutely no place in the workplace where demeaning behavior is permitted which makes getting work or staying on the job harder.

Maybe it’s generational. Bob Filner, the 71-year-old former mayor of San Diego, entered pleas late last year because of his unwanted hands-on style with women of all ages who worked under him.

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Two smiling women stand outdoors and hold signs reading "Vote Baby Vote" and "Voting is People Power," c. 1970. (Photo by Gabriel Hackett /Getty Images)

How Women Vote

In 1920, women in the United States were granted the right to vote through the 19th Amendment. The names of the Suffragists who worked tirelessly and at their own peril are well known – Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, among others. What might be surprising is that there was oppositional movement known as Anti-Suffragism comprised of women and men in the United States and Britain that opposed the expansion of voting rights for women. They included both conservatives, who favored the “Angel in the House” view of women, and liberals, who sought a full revolution and new form of government.

Two smiling women stand outdoors and hold signs reading "Vote Baby Vote" and "Voting is People Power," c. 1970. (Photo by Gabriel Hackett /Getty Images)

Two smiling women stand outdoors and hold signs reading “Vote Baby Vote” and “Voting is People Power,” c. 1970. (Photo by Gabriel Hackett /Getty Images)

The reasoning of the anti-suffragist campaign is worth exploring.  They espoused certain explanations of why women should not enter the political realm as voters.  Here are some of those tenets with my commentary:

The spheres of men and women are different. (More so a century ago, but isn’t diversity of perspective important in choosing elected officials?)

Voting could introduce political differences into domestic life.  (Certainly, a difference in political opinion could prove problematic in marriages, or it could add extra spice as in the marriage of James Carville, a noted Democratic political commentator and strategist, and Mary Matalin, Republican political consultant.)

Women are “debarred by nature and circumstances from the average political knowledge and experience open to men” and therefore the female vote would weaken the country.  (Ignoring the phrase “debarred by nature”, this begs the question, If only women could find a way to gain such political knowledge? – oh yeah, women can READ.)

- Because adult women outnumbered adult men, women would be the overpowering majority at the polls.  (WOO-HOO!)

In 2013, many Americans will take for granted the right to vote and fail to exercise that vote, thereby validating the Anti-Suffragist movement of a century ago.  Women not only vote on the first Tuesday in November, they vote every day.  There are 80 million mothers in the United States.  They vote with their feet, with their spending power, and with their children in mind.   It is not a coincidence that the social and educational reform movements of the 20th Century gained ground after 1920, when politicians had to pay attention to a new class of voters. – women, who by “nature and circumstances” have both the knowledge and political acumen to strengthen our country and our world.

Anne Murphy Brown, J.D. is the Associate Professor and Director of the Legal Studies Program.