Gender On The Bench Essay

1628 words - 7 pages

Thinking about Gender and Judging through the Lens of the “Imagined Judge”


Even though some scholars underlined the impact of legal cultures on the situation of women within the judiciary (Schultz and Shaw 2003; Schultz 2003, xxviii), the interactions between legal cultures and gender on the bench have not yet been fully explored. This paper intends to explore some of these interactions. It proposes, in particular, to question gender diversity on the bench through the prism of what I call the “imagined judge”. The latter conceptual tool refers to the shared beliefs and common ways of thinking about judges and their role ...view middle of the document...

In the remainder of this paper I shall proceed as follow. In the first section I will reflect on the various observations that have led me to consider gender diversity on the bench in France and in the United States. The second section will be dedicated to an outline of the French and the American imagined judges. Hence, it will present how the judges and their role in the legal system have been imagined both in France and in the United States. In the third section I will try to explore how the differences in these representations may inform the women’s presence, or their absence, on the bench as well as the existence, or the lack thereof, of scholarly considerations about gender diversity within the judiciary.

The context for reflections on gender diversity on the bench through the lens of the imagined judge

This section summarizes the four main observations that have led me to consider gender diversity on the bench in France and in the United States through the lens of the imagined judge. Let me specify that these observations, when made about the United States, are made with regards to the federal judiciary, and not to the state courts.

A first observation. The judicial role – understood as ‘the set of expectations, values, and attitudes about the way judges behave and should behave’ (Guarnieri and Pederzoli 2002, 68) – is conceived, in many respects, differently in France and in the United States. In a nutshell, the French judge ‘is seen as technician, as the operator of a machine designed and built by others’ whereas its American counterpart ‘is seen as a sort of social engineer, as a person specially equipped to perceive and attempt to solve social problems’ (Merryman 1974, 866–867). These representations of the judicial role, being conceptually so clearly distinct – almost as Weberian ideal types – are therefore particularly interesting to compare.

A second observation. France counts, proportionally, twice as many women on the bench than the United States.

In the US, there are currently 252 women for 533 men active federal judges (about 32% of women), amongst which three out of the nine US Supreme Court Justices, 53 out of the 164 Courts of Appeals active Judges (about 32,3%) and 193 out of the 603 District Courts active Judges (about 32%) (Federal Judicial Center). It is interesting to highlight that the percentage of women in the American federal judiciary is constant within the judicial hierarchy: women account for about a third of the active judges, from the US Supreme Court to the District courts.

France, on its part, counts 60,5% of women within its ordinary courts system (magistrats judiciaires) (Conseil Supérieur de la Magistrature 2012, 28). This proportion should not overshadow that the glass ceiling persists in the French judiciary: the judicial presence of women in France continues to be confined to lower judicial positions. The number of women judges indeed drops...

Find Another Essay On Gender on the bench

The Effect of Gender on Response Time

2123 words - 9 pages difference on reaction time. Pedro (2009) also concluded that there was a relationship between gender and reaction time. Because my experiment was the recognition reaction time; therefore, it took long time to answer the question. For example, Donders (1969) showed that a recognition reaction time required more time for participants to finish than a simple one. Furthermore, Jaworski (2011) had an experiment about simple and complex reaction time on

The Effects of Gender on Prisoner Interactions

1490 words - 6 pages emphasis on a criminal being a criminal. At the same time, males still suffer harsher penalties compared to females within the criminal justice system. In prison, women are considered to be less violent than male inmate. This difference is not taken into account upon constructing prisons for female offenders. In fact, construction is based on the correctional model about men being violent. Each gender interacts within prisons differently as

The Effect of Gender and Criticism on a Viewer's Opinion

1532 words - 6 pages the critic is a well-established harsh arbiter, but suddenly makes a gracious comment). (d'Astous, Touil, 1999).This experiment sought two hypothesizes, the first was to find a positive correlation between the critical comment about the clip and the viewer's opinion (did the criticism influence the viewer's opinion) and the second was whether the gender of the critic would steer the viewer's opinion.IntroductionResearch has shown that individual

The Influence of TV Advertising on Gender Identity

3015 words - 12 pages Television is the industry which most commonly guilty of perpetrating gender roles and stereotypes. Very sharp contrasting stereotyping of gender roles on television can be noticed in commercials and advertisements. Gender stereotypes can also be found in children's TV programs. Television fails to represent the world realistically to its viewers.Daytime advertisements on television tend to portray men in stereotypical roles of authority and

The construction on gender roles and sexual orientation in "Mulan."

1869 words - 7 pages component in their lives, and important in discovering their role and the role of their gender in society. Disney has been producing children's movies for a long time, and as times and society's views on specific issues have changed, so has Disney's portrayal of them. Along with movies such as Cinderella and Lady and the Tramp, Mulan is one movie in which Disney emphasises the role of gender, in fact it would seem that no previous Disney feature has

The Impact of Gender on Power and Peace

1278 words - 5 pages The impact of gender on power and peace has recently come under substantial inquiry. The main question here is whether both civil and international conflict is considered a predominately masculine concern, or whether this conflict is purely an outcome of a competitive system (Beckman, 1994). This essay will prove that a world in which more women are in positions of power and influence would not create a more peaceful world, and rather, “war is a

Gender Roles in Little House on the Prairie

2297 words - 9 pages Building an Empire through Gender Roles in Little House on the Prairie Children’s literature of the Nineteenth Century is notoriously known for its projection of expected Victorian gender roles upon its young readers. Male and female characters were often given specific duties, reactions, and characteristics that reflected society’s particular attitudes and moral beliefs onto the upcoming citizens of the empire. These embedded concepts

The Great Depression´s Impact on Gender Roles

1715 words - 7 pages Lisa Cianciulli November 12th, 2013 The Great Depression’s Impact on Gender Roles Change and hardship go hand in hand, because when hard times emerge society is forced to change. During the Great Depression the idea of gender roles stirred up a great deal of controversy but it also opened the door for change. It gave society a push into a new direction. In order to survive, a number of people had to move away from their traditional way of

The gender effect on entrepreneurial behaviour of women in Nigeria

1838 words - 8 pages statistically tested to draw conclusions that are objective; this testing will be conducted on the basis of the data set. The nature of the interviews conducted is quantitative because it primarily has multiple-choice questions. The hypotheses testing done based on the relatively small set of data is to offer added understanding about effects of gender on entrepreneurs in Nigeria, which gives this study the desired indicative nature. 3.2 Research

The Effect one’s Gender and Personality has on their Ability to Identify the Emotion and Gender of a Face

1542 words - 6 pages the faces (Wild et al, 2000). This demonstrates that the biological cues present in the anatomy of a face are sufficient for gender identification to occur efficiently and this ability is acquired during early childhood. Male and female faces can be differentiated between by the shape and texture, which act as cues for identifying the gender of a face. From a front view, identification relies on the texture of the face, which is more noticeable

George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss: The Construction of Gender Roles

3446 words - 14 pages lives of these characters we can examine the impact of social conditioning upon the lives of human beings. The ideas provided in The Second Sex regarding the cultural conditioning of children could be easily seen at work in the character portrayal of Tom and Maggie. The Second Sex (1949) was published much later than The Mill on the Floss (1860). This fact explains Eliot’s intense concern and awareness of her gender based society. But de Beauvoir

Similar Essays

The Effects Of Gender Roles And Gender Identity On Behaviour

2221 words - 9 pages The Effects of Gender Roles and Gender Identity on Behaviour Gender is a psychological term, which refers to our awareness and reaction to biological sex. It is also a fundamental part of our learning concept. Gender is influenced by many things, which include: Biological Influences ===================== Such as, Genetics, Estrogens and Androgens. Social Influences

The Impact Of Gender On Shakespeare's Othello

1350 words - 5 pages The Impact of Gender on Shakespeare’s Othello In the book “Gender Trouble” (1990), feminist theorist Judith Butler explains “gender is not only a social construct, but also a kind of performance such as a show we put on, a costume or disguise we wear” (Butler). In other words, gender is a performance, an act, and costumes, not the main aspect of essential identity. By understanding this theory of gender as an act, performance, we can see how

The Influence Of Society On Gender

683 words - 3 pages The Influence of Society on Gender The term gender can be defined as the characteristics by which people determine if their classification is to be male or female. Gender role expectations are things that a society deems normal and acceptable behavior, attitudes, and desires for a person. The question as to weather or not society influences the gender of a person or if it is an innate tendency. This age old nature versus nurture question

The Impact Of Gender On Family Life

2345 words - 9 pages ?’ I’ll make him think about these things” (190). The fact that Robert is not just paying child support but a big part of his sons life is representative of the gradual shift in gender roles that is occurring and the effects they will have on family life. The sociological and psychological literature tends to focus on uncles as perpetrators of sexual abuse rather than as contributors to family functioning (Hansen 184). Ben Crane on the other hand