Women and Justice: Keywords

Domestic Case Law

Economic Cooperatives of Yongxinnansha Shares v. Subdisctrict Office of Chancheng District of Foshan City Intermediate Court of Foshan City, Guangdong Province (2014)

Gender discrimination, Harmful traditional practices

In 2012, the plaintiff claims their shareholder status in Nansha economic cooperative, and alleged the local subdisctrict office to affirm their qualification. The subdisctrict office affirmed and granted certificate. Nansha economic cooperative thereby sued the Subdistrict office for its administrative decision. Nansha alleged that according to article 15 of the Article of Stockholding of the Precinct of Yongxin: women married before December 31, 1992 shall be regarded as “out-married” women and shall not be given the right to share dividends, nor their shareholder qualification. The trial court finds that according to Article 61, section 3 of Law of the People's Republic of China on the Organizations of Local People's Congresses and Local People's Governments, Article 27, 36 of Law of the People's Republic of China on the Organization of the Villagers Committees; and Article 4 of rural collective economic organization regulation of Guangdong Province, the distribution of rural collective property shall not violate other laws and regulations of China, and shall not infringe other people’s legal rights. Article 15 of the Stockholding Article is in violation of the equal right of women and therefore invalid. The intermediate court affirmed the judgment.


Easton v. Broadcasting Commission High Court of New Zealand (2008)

Gender discrimination

Plaintiff sought to challenge what he saw as state-sponsored and supported gender bias against men. He alleged that the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act of 1990 is discriminatory because it specifically requires that a range of broadcasts be available to provide for the interests of women while failing to include men, and that in doing so, the Act implicitly discriminates against men. The High Court dismissed the case based on the defendant agencies’ lack of standing to defend the claim, and therefore lack of jurisdiction by the High Court to hear the case.


Hat Six Homes, Inc. v. State Wyoming Supreme Court (2000)

Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Appellant-employer challenged the decision from the District Court, affirming findings of appellee, Wyoming Department of Employment, Unemployment Insurance Commission, holding, among other things, that appellee employee had quit her employment with appellant employer for good cause under Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 27-3-311(a)(i) (1997).  In this case, appellee-employee left her employment because of sexual harassment and hostile work environment. This included the president of appellant-employer touching her under her shirt and behind her knees in an unwelcome manner and continuing this behavior after appellee employee asked him to stop. Additionally, conduct of the vice-president created a tension that “could [be] cut . . . with a knife . . .” On several occasions, the vice-president threw around staplers and cellular phones and yelled at customers and other employees. The Supreme Court of Wyoming affirmed the District Court’s decision and held that this conduct on the part of appellant-employer sufficed for the determination that appellee-employee had quit her employment for good cause.


Strickland v. Prime Care of Dothan United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Southern Division (2000)

Gender discrimination, Employment discrimination

Ms. Strickland sued her former employer, Prime Care of Dothan, on the theory Prime Care terminated her employment as a medical assistant because of her pregnancy. Prime Care filed a motion for summary judgment on the sole issue of whether Ms. Strickland had sufficient evidence to create an issue of fact on the question of pretext. In order to rebut the inference of discrimination, Prime Care was required to articulate a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for its decision to terminate Ms. Strickland. To this end, Prime Care asserted that it based its termination decision on violation of work rules, including that Ms. Strickland was rude and/or unprofessional on several occasions, was frequently tardy, and failed to return to work after attending a doctor’s visit. Because, if true, the reasons asserted by Prime Care were nondiscriminatory, the burden shifted back to Ms. Strickland to show that the proffered reasons were really pretext for unlawful discrimination. Ms. Strickland achieved this by showing her conduct did not violate Prime Care’s established policies, and presenting circumstantial evidence that, if true, demonstrated her supervisor harbored a discriminatory animus toward unmarried pregnant women. Prime Care also argued that even if it did discriminate against unmarried, pregnant women, such discrimination did not violate Title VII because the differential treatment was not based on sex. Rather, Prime Care claimed such a policy was neutral toward women, since women were both members of the group of married pregnant women and unmarried pregnant women. The court held that Congress and the Supreme Court had expressly rejected this argument, finding that the terms “because of sex” or “on the basis of sex” include because of or on the basis of pregnancy. Thus, an employer violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act when it premises an employment decision, in whole or in part, on the fact that one of its female employees or applicants was pregnant out of wedlock. For these reasons, the court denied Prime Care’s motion for summary judgment.


Hill v. Ford Motor Co. Missouri Supreme Court (2009)

Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Cynthia Hill worked under the supervision of various people including Kenny Hune. Mr. Hune often made sexual comments to Ms. Hill and asked her inappropriate personal questions. Ms. Hill told Mr. Hune that she was offended by his comments and she repeatedly rejected his sexual advances. Upon receiving a complaint about Mr. Hune from Ms. Hill and another female employee, group leader Pete Wade raised these complaints with Mr. Hune. A few months after this, Ms. Hill was assigned to Mr. Hune’s supervision, where Mr. Hune refused to work with her, branded her a hostile worker, and created problems over small or non-issues. When Ms. Hill sought to bring a complaint to Mr. Edds, the labor relations supervisor, Mr. Edds told Ms. Hill to get psychiatric help and not return to work until she had done so. Upon receiving such treatment Ms. Hill resorted to the company’s 24-hour “Hotline” to report Mr. Edds and Mr. Hune. An hour later, Mr. Edds had suspended Ms. Hill from work for three days for a minor mistake. Upon Ms. Hill’s return to work, Mr. Edds told her she had been fired. The Missouri Supreme Court held that there were genuine issues of material fact to preclude the grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer. There was enough evidence for a jury to find that Mr. Hune had created a hostile work environment through his constant sexual harassment, which would constitute gender discrimination under MHRA 213.055.


Mancini v. Township of Teaneck New Jersey Supreme Court (2004)

Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Plaintiff was hired as a police officer. Since the beginning of her employment she felt that other members of the Department were unhappy because they felt it was not a job for women. Plaintiff also suffered sexual harassment. During her first four years there, plaintiff had a locker in the men’s room as there were no women’s locker rooms, and male co-workers would shower and walk around naked in the locker room. Plaintiff’s boss told her that he did not expect her to make it as an officer, that he did not want women on the job, and that he would not accommodate her, but that he had a mattress waiting for her in his closet. The plaintiff interpreted this as a sexual advance. Plaintiff also received other inappropriate remarks, for example, in response to plaintiff’s complaint about not having a shower, her boss told her several times that he would wash her. Officers also kept pornographic magazines and pinups both at work and in patrol cars. The plaintiff also received in her mailbox at work panties, a motel key, and a note reading, “back stabbing c-t.” There were also sexual cartoons, some pertaining to her and others to other women. Plaintiff ultimately sued for sexual harassment and sex discrimination. At trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff $1 million in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitive damages. The trial court vacated the punitive damages and reduced the compensatory damages. The defendant appealed, asserting laches – that the plaintiff unreasonably delayed in filing the suit. The court found the defendant did not make an adequate factual record in this defense and it otherwise affirmed the holding finding the defendant liable.


State v. Human Rights Commission Court of Appeals Fourth District (1989)

Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Lynda Savage filed a complaint against the Illinois Department of Corrections alleging that she had been sexually harassed by her immediate supervisor, Nicholas Howell, and discharged in retaliation. Howell would describe women by their physical attribut


Reports

Avon Global Center 2013 Women and Justice Conference Report (2014)

Acid violence, Gender discrimination, Female genital mutilation or female genital cutting, Harmful traditional practices, Gender violence in conflict, Forced and early marriage, Gender-based violence in general

In December 2013, the Avon Global Center hosted its annual conference in New York, NY on "State Responsibility to End Violence Against Women: The Due Diligence Principle and the Role of Judges."


Gender Issues and International Legal Standards: Contemporary Perspectives (2010)

Gender discrimination, Employment discrimination



Lessons Learnt and Experiences Gained in the UNFPA Supported WPC Project on Addressing Sex Selection (2012)

Gender discrimination, Harmful traditional practices

During a three-year project (2008-2011) in India, the WPC assessed the circumstances surrounding and methods to address growing sex selection in India. A systematic process was put into place to set up multiple local-level implementing partners to collect data; increase education and awareness; and launch and maintain programs to induce long-term change of the traditional practices that lead to sex selection.


The World's Women 2010: Trends and Statistics (2010)

Gender-based violence in general

A United Nations report highlighting the differences in the status of women and men in eight areas – population and families, health, education, work, power and decision-making, violence against women, environment and poverty.


Women's Empowerment Principles: Equality Means Business (2010)

Gender discrimination

UNIFEM report offering practical guidance to business and the private sector on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community (2010).


African Statistical Journal: A Special Issue on Gender (2010)

Gender discrimination

Special journal issue of the African Development Bank focused on gender statistics.


CEDAW and Muslim Family Laws (2010)

Gender discrimination

Report published by MUSAWAH for Equality in the Family on States' parties justifications for their failure to implement CEDAW with regard to family law and practices that discriminate against Muslim women.


Global Gender Gap Report 2010 (2010)

Gender discrimination

Report published by the World Economic Forum presenting the scope of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress by providing benchmarks of national gender gaps on economic, political, education- and health-based criteria (2010).


Human Rights and Gender Equality in Health Sector Strategies: How to Assess Policy Coherence (2011)

Gender discrimination

Report providing a tool to consider practical options and posing critical questions for policy-makers to identify gaps and opportunities in the review or reform of health sector strategies as well as other sectoral initiatives. Developed by the World Health Organization, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (2011).


Progress of the World's Women 2008/2009: Who Answers to Women? (2008)

Gender discrimination

UN Women report presenting innovative measures states and international institutions are taking to increase accountability to women, focusing on politics and governance, access to public services, economic opportunities, justice, and the distribution of international assistance for development and security (2008).


The Role of the Judiciary in Promoting Gender Justice in Africa (English) (2008)

Gender discrimination

Report of the Partners for Gender Justice Conference, Accra, Ghana 19-21 Nov. 2008. English version.


The Role of the Judiciary in Promoting Gender Justice in Africa (French) (2008)

Gender discrimination

Report of the Partners for Gender Justice Conference, Accra, Ghana 19-21 Nov. 2008. French version.


International Case Law

Sapana Pradhan Malla and Others v, Office of Prime Minister and Others Supreme Court of Nepal (2006)

Gender discrimination

The Women, Law and Development Forum of Nepal won a petition calling for the Supreme Court to order revision of a law setting the legal age for marriage at 18 years for women and 22 years for men. The Court held that this law promoted gender inequality in contradiction of Article 11 of the Constitution and acknowledged that it can cause significant harm in a country where female literacy rates are low and there are high levels of gender discrimination. The Court also ordered for better enforcement of these laws in light of the continued prevalence of child marriage. Here the Supreme Court of Nepal has once again heeded a petition from a civilian organization and privileged gender equality in reformulating laws, showing a willingness to uphold women’s rights, promote social change, and respond to activism from groups such as the Women, Law, and Development Forum.


Articles

Judging Women (2011)

Gender discrimination, Gender-based violence in general, Employment discrimination

By Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Mirya Holman, & Eric A. Posner. 8 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 504-532 (2011).