Columbia Journal of Gender and Law | Volume 41 Symposium
Friday April 9, 2021 | 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM (ET)
Saturday April 10, 2021 | 9:00 AM - 12:45 PM (ET)
The Columbia Journal of Gender and Law is delighted to announce its upcoming Volume 41 Symposium, Are You There Law? It's Me, Menstruation, the first-ever symposium to explore the intersection of menstruation and the law. The Symposium celebrates the 50th anniversary of Judy Blume's influential book, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, and commemorates the 30th year since the Journal's founding.
The Symposium will feature a keynote address by the Honorable Rep. Grace Meng, a champion for menstrual equity representing New York's 6th congressional district. Over the course of the two day virtual conference, panelists from a variety of academic and advocacy backgrounds will discuss themes ranging from cultural constructions of menstruation to courts and constitutionality, employment and capitalism to dignity for marginalized communities, and public policy and perspectives on change. The Journal is especially proud to highlight a work by more than forty authors, representing a diverse range of perspectives, both in print and online.
We invite you to learn more about the Symposium panelists below, and join us here
for the event. Follow us on Twitter @ColumbiaJGL
for the latest news. Join the conversation by using #areyoutherelaw.
Are You There Law? It's Me, Menstruation
U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng
U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng is serving her fifth term in the United States House of Representatives. Rep. Meng represents New York’s Sixth Congressional District, encompassing the New York City borough of Queens, including west, central and northeast Queens.
Rep. Meng is the first and only Asian American Member of Congress from New York State and the first female Congressmember from Queens since former Vice Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro.
She is a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittees on State and Foreign Operations, Homeland Security, and Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies. She also serves on the House Ethics Committee.
Rep. Meng is also a Senior Whip and Regional Whip for New York, and a founder and Co-Chair of the Kids’ Safety Caucus, the first bipartisan coalition in the House that promotes child-safety issues. She helped create and serves as a founding member and former Co-Chair of the Quiet Skies Caucus which works to mitigate excessive aircraft noise that adversely affects communities.
Born in Elmhurst, Queens, and raised in the Bayside and Flushing sections of the borough, Rep. Meng attended local schools, and graduated from Stuyvesant High School and the University of Michigan. She then earned a law degree from Yeshiva University’s Benjamin Cardozo School of Law.
Prior to serving in Congress, Grace was a member of the New York State Assembly. Before entering public service, she worked as a public-interest lawyer.
Grace resides in Queens with her husband, Wayne, and two sons, Tyler and Brandon.
Photo © Elena Seibert
Author Judy Blume
Judy Blume is one of America’s most beloved authors. Her 29 titles include Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, the five-book series about the irrepressible Fudge, and Forever. She’s dared to address the taboos of puberty and nascent sexuality and has been a funny and knowing voice for children and adolescents for five decades. Over that time, her work has also widened to encompass the experiences of adult women and men. Her bestselling novels Wifey, Summer Sisters and In the Unlikely Event proved Blume could boldly swim in the waters of both adult and children’s literature.
Together, her books have sold more than 90 million copies in 32 languages, and have been a touchstone for countless young readers, many of whom have been inspired, as grownups, to write their own books. She was awarded the Library of Congress’ Living Legends award in 2000 and the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2004. In 2009, the NCAC honored and paid tribute to Blume’s longstanding defense of free speech and her courageous battles against all kinds of censorship. The American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded her the E.B. White Award for achievement in children’s literature in 2017. The Chicago Public Library Foundation presented Blume with the Carl Sandburg Literary Award in 2018 for literary works that have shaped generations and made indelible contributions to literature. And, in 2020, Blume was honored by the Authors Guild Foundation for Distinguished Service to the Literary Community.
Five years ago, Blume and her husband, George Cooper, longing for a bookstore in Key West where they live, founded the independent, non-profit Books & Books @ The Studios. These days Blume can be found working most days at her shop. “After 50 years of writing, I’m enjoying meeting so many readers and introducing them to some of my favorite authors.”
Professor of Law, University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law
Ann Bartow is a Professor of Law at the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law. She teaches or has taught Torts, Property, Art Law, Intellectual Property Law courses including Copyright Law, Trademark Law, Patent Law (Litigation) and Fundamentals of Intellectual Property, a survey course. She writes about intellectual property law, privacy law, and feminist legal theory, occasionally combining all three. Find Professor Bartow on Twitter @profabartow. Her article “Are You There, Trademark Law? It’s Me, Misogyny”
will describe and illustrate how girls and women are infantilized by the ways that menstrual products are marketed to us.
Anita and Stuart Subotnick Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School
Professor Bernstein is a nationally recognized authority on tort law, feminist jurisprudence, professional responsibility, and products liability. She is a member of the American Law Institute, and her awards include the first Fulbright scholarship in European Union affairs given to a law professor, as well as the 2020 William L. Prosser Award from the AALS Section on Torts and Compensation Systems. Prior to joining Brooklyn Law School, Professor Bernstein was the Sam Nunn Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law, the Wallace Stevens Professor of Law at New York Law School, and Norman & Edna Freehling Scholar and Professor of Law at Chicago-Kent College of Law. She has been a visiting professor at Michigan Law School, Cornell Law School, and the University of Iowa College of Law. Before entering academia, she practiced with Debevoise & Plimpton and clerked for Judge Jack Weinstein of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Find Professor Bernstein on Twitter @bernsteinanita. Her article "Are You There, Law? It’s Me, Semen"
suggests that one way to think about the effluvium that occupies this Symposium is to consider its parallel. Semen and menstrual flow both leave the body through the lower torso. An adult individual of any gender possesses and emits other effluvia, but menstrual flow and semen are unique in that a person produces only one of them rather than both. Gendered hierarchies that exalt semen as vital, expressive, or fully human while regarding menstrual flow as repellent pollution pose a problem not only for society and culture but also for law, regulation in particular.
University of Virginia School of Law, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy Distinguished Professor of Law
UVA Law's Family Law Center, Nancy L. Buc ’69 Research Professor in Democracy and Equity Director
Cahn has written numerous law review articles on feminist jurisprudence, elder law, family law, and trusts and estates. She has co-authored two trusts and estates casebook, and her co-authored family law casebook is in its fifth edition. Cahn is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and a member of the American Law Institute. Her forthcoming book, Shafted: The Fate of Women in a Winner-take-all World (with June Carbone and Nancy Levit) will be published by an imprint of Simon & Schuster in 2021. She has written numerous other books, including Homeward Bound: Modern Families, Elder Care, and Loss (OUP 2017)(with Amy Ziettlow), and, with June Carbone, Marriage Markets (OUP 2014) and Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture (2010). She is a Senior Contributor to the Forbes Leadership Channel - and a Columbia Law School graduate. Find Professor Cahn on Twitter @naomicahn. Her article "Justice for the Menopause" brings together the various forms of differential treatment in the law associated with menopause. It explores cultural images of menopause and post-menopausal women, including the ubiquitous hot flashes, analyze potential legal approaches to menopausal justice, and suggest that such approaches depend more generally on social attitudes towards menopause.
Christopher A. Cotropia
Dennis I. Belcher Professor of Law, University of Richmond School of Law
Professor Chris Cotropia is director of the University of Richmond School of Law's Intellectual Property Institute. Professor Cotropia's research and writing focuses on empirical legal scholarship, mainly in the areas of patent law, intellectual property, federal courts, and menstrual hygiene products. Prior to joining the Richmond Law faculty, Professor Cotropia was the C. J. Morrow Research Professor of Law at Tulane University School of Law. Professor Cotropia's article disscuses recent legislation requiring U.S. schools to provide menstrual hygiene products. Over the last five years, many states in the U.S. considered, and some passed, legislation requiring public high schools and middle schools to provide menstrual hygiene products (MHPs) to students for free. This essay catalogs and compares the various legislative approaches and analyzes their potential benefits and shortcomings.
Bridget J. Crawford
Professor of Law, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University
Bridget Crawford is a Professor of Law at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law where she teaches courses in Federal Income Taxation, Trusts & Estates, and Corporations & Partnerships. Her scholarship focuses on issues of taxation and gender. Prior to joining the Pace faculty, Professor Crawford practiced law in the Trusts & Estates Department at Milbank LLP in New York. She is the editor of the Feminist Law Professors blog, a co-convener of the U.S. Feminist Judgments Project, and the author of several articles exploring the intersections of law and menstruation. Her solo and co-authored work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Wisconsin Law Review, the University of Richmond Law Review, the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, the Michigan Journal of Gender and the Law, the Washington University Law Review and the National Law School of India Law Review. Professor Crawford and Professor Emily Gold Waldman are the co-authors of Menstruation Matters: Making Law and Society Responsive to Human Needs, forthcoming in 2022 from NYU Press. Together with Professor Lolita Buckner Inniss, Professor Crawford is the co-editor of Talking About Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, forthcoming from the University of California Press. Find Professor Crawford on Twitter @ProfBCrawford. Her article "#BloodyBarPocalypse: Unconstitutional Tampon Bans at the Bar Exam" explores state policies that prevent bar exam candidates from bringing their own menstrual products to the test and explains why outright bans on menstrual products at the bar exam likely are unconstitutional. So-called alternate policies, such as making menstrual products available in women’s restrooms, are inadequate. Only a “free-carry” policy for menstrual products is consistent with welcoming all qualified candidates to the legal profession, without regard to biology.
Executive Director, The Sentencing Project
Amy Fettig, Executive Director of The Sentencing Project, is a human rights lawyer and leading expert on criminal justice reform. Prior to joining The Sentencing Project, Fettig served as Deputy Director for the ACLU’s National Prison Project. At the ACLU, she litigated federal class action prison conditions cases under the Eighth Amendment. Her practice focused on claims regarding medical and mental health care in prison, solitary confinement, sexual assault in detention settings, and comprehensive reform in juvenile facilities. Fettig also founded and directed the ACLU’s Stop Solitary campaign seeking to end the practice of long-term isolation in our nation’s prisons, jails and juvenile detention centers through public policy reform, legislation, litigation and public education. Fettig served as a leading member of the national coalition seeking to end the practice of shackling incarcerated pregnant women. Prior to law school, Ms. Fettig worked with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their families in New York City. She holds a B.A., with distinction, Carleton College; a Master’s from Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs; and a J.D. from Georgetown University. Find Amy on Twitter @abfettig. Her article "Menstrual Equity, Organizing & the Struggle for Dignity and Gender Equality in Prison" will explore the current national, state and local struggle for women and girls to access appropriate menstrual hygiene products while incarcerated and posit strategies for ensuring that menstrual equity for all becomes both the law and practice of the land.
Venable Professor of Law & Co-Director, Center on Applied Feminism, University of Baltimore School of Law
Professor Gilman teaches in the Saul Ewing Civil Advocacy Clinic, where she supervises students representing low-income individuals in a wide range of litigation and law reform matters. She also teaches evidence and federal administrative law. Professor Gilman writes extensively about privacy, poverty, and social welfare issues, and her articles have appeared in journals including the California Law Review, the Vanderbilt Law Review, the Washington University Law Review, and the Columbia Journal of Gender & Law. She is a co-director of the Center on Applied Feminism, which works to apply the insights of feminist legal theory to legal practice and policy. In 2019-2020, she was a Faculty Fellow at Data & Society, where she researched the intersection of privacy law, data-centric technologies, and low-income communities. She received her B.A. from Duke University, and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Find Professor Gilman on Twitter @profmgilman. Her article "Periods for Profit and the Rise of Menstrual Surveillance" seeks to reconceptualize what FemTech, which sells technology to help women understand and improve their health, would look like within a reproductive justice framework, in which FemTech is an empowering and accurate health tool rather than a data extraction device.
Victoria J. Haneman
Frank J. Kellegher Professor of Trusts & Estates, Creighton University School of Law
Professor Haneman teaches courses addressing various aspects of taxation, wills, trusts and estates, and business associations. Her scholarly work has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of publications, including Virginia Tax Review, Wake Forest Law Review, University of Richmond Law Review, Oklahoma Law Review, Nevada Law Journal, and Missouri Law Review. Professor Haneman’s co-authored book “Making Tax Law” (available through Carolina Press) examines the way in which considerations of tax policy, tax politics and tax administration intersect and contribute to the development of law through the legislative process, the promulgation of regulations and other administrative guidance, and the negotiation and ratification of tax treaties. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of ClassCrits and as the Treasurer of the Association of American Law School’s Section on Women in Legal Education. Find Professor Haneman on Twitter @TaxLawProf. Her article "Period Poverty, Mensuration Capitalism, and the Role Of The B Corporation"
argues that there is profit to be made in virtue signaling solely for the purpose of attracting customers and driving sales: pro-female, woke menstruation messaging that may merely be an exploitative and empty co-optation. It also explores the notion of B Corporation status as a sorting device to distinguish hollow virtue signaling from those menstruation capitalists committed to socially responsible pro-female business practices.
Lolita Buckner Inniss
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law, SMU Dedman School of Law
Dr. Lolita Buckner Inniss is the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, a University Distinguished Professor, a Robert G. Storey Distinguished Faculty Fellow, and Professor of Law at SMU Dedman School of Law. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute. She has an ongoing research interest in the intersection of slavery, universities and law, out of which grows many of her publications. Her recent book, The Princeton Fugitive Slave: The Trials of James Collins Johnson (Fordham University Press), has been the subject of both critical and popular acclaim. Her latest research concerns the intersection of the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements, and she, along with Professor Bridget Crawford of the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, is editing a collection of ground-breaking essays in a book titled Talking About Black Lives Matter and #MeToo (forthcoming University of California Press). Find Dr. Inniss on Twitter @AuntieFeminist. Her article "It’s About Bloody Time: Chronotopic Analysis of Courtroom Menstruation Discourses"
analyzes courtroom discourses regarding a crucial aspect of women’s calendrically-associated biological functions: women’s menstrual periods.
Professor of Law, Co-Director, Center on Applied Feminism, University of Baltimore (Visiting American)
Margaret E. Johnson is a Professor of Law and Co-Director, Center on Applied Feminism at the University of Baltimore School of Law. Currently, Professor Johnson is a Visiting Professor of Law at the Washington College of Law, American University. Her most recent scholarship explores the intersection of menstruation and law, including Menstrual Justice and Title IX and Menstruation. Her recent advocacy includes co-founding Menstrual Products and the Bar. Prior to academia, Johnson was an employment discrimination litigator, with a focus on sexual harassment law. Johnson has received several awards, including 2020 UB Law Outstanding Scholarship; 2017 UB Law Outstanding Teaching; Top 25 Women Professors in Maryland in 2013, and the 2012 USM Board of Regents' Faculty Award for Public Service. Johnson is a graduate of Wisconsin Law School, cum laude, and Dartmouth College. She is a member of Order of the Coif. Find Professor Johnson on Twitter @ProfMEJohnson1. Her article "Ask the Menstruation Question" explores the importance of asking the menstruation question as critical to addressing menstrual injustices and all other forms of patriarchy, white supremacy, classism, and ableism.
William R. Davis Clinical Teaching Fellow, University of Connecticut School of Law
Valeria Gomez is the William R. Davis Clinical Teaching Fellow at the University of Connecticut School of Law. She co-teaches UConn Law's Asylum and Human Rights Clinic, where law students represent people who have fled persecution and are seeking protection in the United States. Professor Gomez previously worked in her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee, as a Clinical Lecturer with the University of Tennessee College of Law’s Immigration Clinic and as an attorney with Volunteer Immigrant Defense Advocates (VIDA), a nonprofit legal services organization she co-founded in 2016. With VIDA, she represented recently arrived unaccompanied immigrant children in removal proceedings, mentored new immigration practitioners, and gave frequent presentations to community groups. Find Professor Gomez on Twitter @AbogadaValeria. Her article aims to fill the void in the current conversation on menstrual justice, which largely ignores the experiences of noncitizens detained in civil immigration detention facilities. The paper amplifies the reality of the seclusion and isolation that menstruating detainees face in immigration detention and its effect on menstrual justice. She will present with Professor Marcy L. Karin.
Prof. Pamela Laufer-Ukeles
Professor of Law and Healthcare Administration, Academic College of Law and Science, Hod Hasharon Israel (Sha'arei Mishpat College)
Pamela Laufer-Ukeles is Professor of Law and Health Administration at the Academic College of Law and Science in Israel. Her fields of expertise include torts, family law, health law and bioethics, elder law, and Jewish law. Her research focuses on legal analysis of complex and collaborative family-making through surrogate motherhood, gamete donations and adoption. Her research and writing also involves the law of children’s rights, caregiving and caregivers, women’s rights, informed consent, relational rights and relational autonomy, definitions of parenthood, breastfeeding and torts between spouses and unmarried partners. Her work has been published in numerous books and journals, including the Indiana Law Journal, the Connecticut Law Review, the George Mason Law Review, the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender and the American Journal of Law & Medicine. Currently, in addition to her project on the different narratives of mensuration in Jewish law, she is working on projects involving embryonic genetic design and is editing a book of articles that reflect on thirty years since the enactment of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Her article "The Power of Blood: The Many Faces of Woman’s Monthly Menses in Jewish Law & Culture" will discuss competing narratives of menstruation as portrayed in Jewish law and culture. These narratives relate to menstruation in all its contradictions -- as taboo and power, and as health and imperfection.
Assistant Professor of Clinical Law, Brooklyn Law School
Prianka Nair is Assistant Professor of Clinical Law and Faculty Co-director of the Disability and Civil Rights Clinic. The clinic represents adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities with respect to a range of issues, including access to public benefits, housing and guardianship termination, and restoration of capacity. Prior to joining the faculty at Brooklyn Law School, Professor Nair worked as a public interest attorney at Disability Rights New York. She conducted abuse and neglect investigations, focusing on access to services in correctional facilities across New York State. Her litigation included cases involving violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. She has also represented clients in all aspects of guardianship and related proceedings in state court. Professor Nair completed her Masters of Law (LL.M) at Columbia University (Kent Scholar). Prior to this, she represented the Australian federal government at the Australian Government Solicitor. Her article "Menstruation: An Ableist Narrative" argues that individuals with disabilities are socially and legally constructed as being unable to manage menstruation. It will interrogate the ableist curial narrative of disability and menstruation to expose the power dynamic that this narrative serves, particularly over the control of the disabled bodies.
Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
Dr. Sommer’s areas of expertise include conducting participatory research with adolescents, understanding and promoting healthy transitions to adulthood, the intersection of public health and education, gender and sexual health, and the implementation and evaluation of adolescent-focused interventions. Her doctoral research explored girls' experiences of menstruation, puberty and schooling in Tanzania, and the ways in which the onset of puberty might be disrupting girls' academic performance and healthy transition to adulthood. She leads the Gender, Adolescent Transitions and Environment (GATE) Program, based in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences. GATE explores the intersections of gender, health, education and the environment for girls and boys transitioning into adulthood in low-income countries and in the USA. GATE also generates research and practical resources focused on improving the integration of menstrual hygiene management and gender supportive sanitation solutions into global humanitarian response. Dr. Sommer is a Senior Editor for the journal Global Public Health. Find Dr. Sommer on Twitter @marnisommer. Her article explores the leverage that the language of rights, gendered as needed – and particularly the “right to the city” – might provide for increasing the supply of sustainably hygienic and safe public toilets. It will join but not be guided by, the debate over costs, and will necessarily factor in the strictures appropriate to the time of COVID.
Human Rights Lawyer
Divya Srinivasan is a human rights lawyer and activist based in New Delhi, India. She has a background of working on women’s rights, with a focus on issues relating to gender-based violence and equality. She holds a Bachelors degree in Law from National Law University, Delhi and a Masters degree in Law from Harvard Law School. She has completed a fellowship with Equality Now, an international human rights organization, under a Harvard Public Service Venture Fund Kaufman Fellowship. Prior to this, she worked as an associate in the labour employment team at an Indian law firm. Currently, she works as a human rights legal consultant, including as South Asia consultant with Equality Now. Find Divya on Twitter @sdivya91. Her article, co-authored with Bharti Kannan, is called "Establishing the Unconstitutionality of Menstrual Exclusion Practices in India."
It will argue for expanding the constitutional doctrine in the famous Sabarimala case (where the Indian Supreme Court found that the law restricting entry of women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala temple violated women’s constitutional rights to religion and equality) to address other forms of menstrual exclusion practices, particularly (i) menstrual exile through menstrual huts and (ii) untouchability and restrictions on access to private-public spaces as enforced by family and community members against menstruators.
Bharti is Founder of Boondh, an organization that works on menstrual literacy, policy, advocacy, activism, programming and sustainable products. Bharti graduated with a Post Graduate Degree from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and holds a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Biotechnology. She works at the confluence of gender, health, technology and rights. Find Bharti on Twitter @26bharti
. She is co-author with Divya Srinivasan
of "Establishing the Unconstitutionality of Menstrual Exclusion Practices in India."
Professor Beth Goldblatt
Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Dr. Beth Goldblatt is a Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney, Australia and Visiting Professor in the School of Law at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. She works in the areas of feminist legal theory, equality and discrimination law, comparative constitutional law, and human rights with a focus on economic and social rights, and the right to social security in particular. She has a background of many years in advocacy, law reform and litigation on gender equality. Find Dr. Goldblatt on Twitter @BethGoldblatt
. Her article, co-authored with Dr. Linda Steele,
argues that the period product legislative innovations bring about a very particular relationship between menstruating bodies, products and law which results in an approach to justice which is (1) disembodied and separates menstrual justice from the bodily experiences of menstruators, (2) un-differentiated and flattens diverse experiences of menstruation and menstrual injustice, and (3) commodified and circumvents structural harms and injustices outside of or through the market. We conclude by asking how we can make claims to justice through law without relying on the materiality that period products provide. Dr. Goldblatt
and Dr. Steele
have been collaborating since 2017 on research related to menstruation and law. Their article ‘Bloody Unfair: Inequality Related to Menstruation – Considering the Role of Discrimination Law’ (2019) was recently awarded the 2020 Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand (LSAANZ) Annual Publication Award for a published scholarly journal article or book chapter. They have also published on their menstruation and law research in The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies (2020) and Australian Feminist Law Journal.
Dr. Linda Steele
Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Dr. Linda Steele is a senior lecturer at Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney. She is a socio-legal researcher working at the intersections of disability, law and social justice and author of the monograph Disability, Law and Criminal Justice. Linda’s research on the topic of people with disability, sterilisation, menstrual suppression and law has been widely published and has also been considered in Australian government inquiries into sterilisation and into violence against people with disability. Prior to entering academia Linda was a solicitor with the Intellectual Disability Rights Service, Sydney. Find Dr. Steele on Twitter @DrLindaSteele.
Emily Gold Waldman
Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty Development & Strategic Planning, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University
Professor Emily Gold Waldman joined the Pace faculty in 2006, after clerking for the Honorable Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. At Pace, she teaches Constitutional Law, Law & Education, Employment Law Survey, and Civil Procedure. From 2003-05, she practiced in the litigation department of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP; prior to that, she clerked for the Honorable William G. Young, United States District Judge for the District of Massachusetts. She served as the chair of the AALS Section on Education Law during the 2011-12 school year, is a member of the Executive Committee of the AALS Section on Employment Discrimination, and is also a member of the Second Circuit's Judicial Council Committee on Civic Education & Public Engagement. She currently serves as the Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Operations. Find Professor Waldman on Twitter @egwaldman. Her article "Compared to What? Menstruation, Pregnancy, and the Complexities of Comparison" analyzes Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc., the 2014 Supreme Court pregnancy accommodation case that grappled with how to apply the Pregnancy Discrimination Act's comparison-based standard. It will discuss how Young illustrates the complexities of comparison, and unpack the compromise approach that the majority ultimately settled on. It then considers the potential usefulness of the Young approach to the tampon tax cases, while acknowledging that they arise under the Equal Protection Clause rather than Title VII.
Vice president and fellow, Brennan Center for Justice; Co-founder, Period Equity
Jennifer Weiss-Wolf is vice president and the inaugural women and democracy fellow of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law. An attorney, author, and passionate advocate for issues of gender, politics—and menstruation—she was dubbed the “architect of the U.S. campaign to squash the tampon tax” by Newsweek. Her 2017 book Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity was lauded by Gloria Steinem as “the beginning of liberation for us all.” A regular contributor to Newsweek and Ms. Magazine, Weiss-Wolf’s writing and work have been featured by The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, TIME, The Economist, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Teen Vogue, Marie Claire, Good Morning America, NPR, PBS, NBC, and CBS, among others. She also is a contributor to the 2018 Young Adult anthology, Period.: Twelve Voices Tell the Bloody Truth. Find Jennifer on Twitter @jweisswolf.
Co-founder, Period Equity
Laura Strausfeld researched the illegality of the tampon tax years ago as a Columbia Law student. In 2016, upon reading an essay by Jennifer Weiss-Wolf in The New York Times, she reached out and proposed they mobilize legal action against New York State. Together with 5 plaintiffs and the law firm Emery Celli Brinkerhoff, they filed a class action lawsuit that resulted in immediate removal of the tax by the state. To continue their work together, they formed Period Equity. Laura’s co-founding of the first commercial all-natural perfume company in the 1990s gave her firsthand knowledge of the lax regulation of personal care products. She has done extensive research on environmental toxins and women’s health and has written and spoken publicly about menstrual product safety. Laura has a wide-ranging project-based background, including as a plaintiffs' attorney, founding board member of the Nest Foundation, development strategist for the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, teacher, writer/director/producer of theater and film, and Anton Chekhov scholar at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute.
Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Research, Indiana University Maurer School of Law
Deborah Widiss is a Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Research at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. Her research and teaching focuses on employment law, family law, the legislative process, and the significance of gender and gender stereotypes in the development of law and government policy. Her work has been published in leading law reviews, and she has received several awards for her scholarship. She has been quoted as an expert on issues related to employment discrimination, same-sex marriage, and domestic violence by numerous media outlets, including the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Washington Post. Before transitioning to academia, Professor Widiss was an attorney at Legal Momentum (formerly NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund). She received a J.D. and B.A. from Yale University. Find Professor Widiss on Twitter @DeborahWidiss. Her article discusses recent court cases that have suggested that workplace discrimination based on menstruation may violate Title VII, the primary federal employment discrimination law. Their analysis has focused on the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), an amendment to Title VII that superseded a Supreme Court case holding pregnancy discrimination was not discrimination on the basis of “sex.” If courts resolve such cases relying solely on the PDA’s explicit prohibition of discrimination on the basis of “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions,” the reasoning could be limited to Title VII. Even more troubling, it could open the door to arguments that menstruation is outside the ambit of sex discrimination laws that were not amended analogously to how Title VII was amended. This essay will help litigators and theorists frame arguments in a manner that will reduce this risk.
Lecturer in Human Rights, Columbia University, Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Inga T. Winkler is a Lecturer at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights and the Director of the Working Group on Menstrual Health & Gender Justice at Columbia University. She is particularly interested in the intersections of menstruation, human rights, and culture and focuses on questions of inequalities, marginalization, and representation. As the former Legal Adviser to the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to water and sanitation, she continues to bridge academia, policy, and practice. One strand of her research builds on her policy and consulting experience and engages directly with policy-makers on menstrual health. Her books include the first comprehensive monograph on the human right to water, an edited volume on the Sustainable Development Goals, and most recently the co-edited Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies. Find Professor Winkler on Twitter @inga_winkler. Her article "Menstruation and Human Rights: Can We Move Beyond Tokenism and Instrumentalization?" critically examines the current framing around menstrual health and human rights, and contrasts it with a comprehensive understanding of human rights centered on the notions on dignity, agency, substantive equality, and accountability.
Marcy L. Karin
Jack and Lovell Olender Professor of Law; Director, Legislation/Civil Rights Clinic, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law
Marcy L. Karin teaches and writes in the areas of legislative lawyering, employment law, gender/sexual orientation law, civil justice for the military community, and clinical pedagogy. The Legislation/Civil Rights Clinic she directs represents nonprofits on systemic reform projects that improve economic security, gender justice, racial justice, and disability justice. Her recent scholarship focuses on workplace protections for menstruators, breastfeeding workers, survivors of domestic violence, the military community, and people with disabilities. Before UDC Law, Professor Karin spent seven years teaching legislation and employment law as a Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Work-Life Law and Policy Clinic at the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. She has an LL.M. with honors in Advocacy from Georgetown University Law Center, a JD from Stanford Law School, and a Bachelor of Arts in Gender Studies and Justice from American University. Find Professor Karin on Twitter @ProfessorMLK. She will present with Professor Valeria Gomez.
Laura Argyropulo Coryton, starter of the UK end tampon tax petition, which gained 320,000 signatures and changed UK law in March 2020. Laura is also the author of Speak Up! and founded Sex Ed Matters, a social enterprise dedicated to tackling sex and relationship taboos in UK schools. Find Laura on Twitter @LauraCoryton. She is speaking and co-author with Lucy Marie Russell.
Lucy Marie Russell
Girls' rights and menstruation consultant
Lucy Marie Russell campaigns for girls’ rights in the UK and has secured changes in policy around teenage pregnancy, sex and relationships education, street harassment and more. She founded The State of Girls’ Rights in the UK report and ran campaigns to end period poverty and taboos, resulting in the creation of a period blood-drop emoji and her most recent role as Deputy Co-Chair of the UK Government’s Period Poverty Task Force. Find Lucy on Twitter @Totorointhetree. Her article "Paying for our periods: The campaign to tackle period poverty and end the Tampon Tax in the UK" gives an overview of campaigns in the UK, through the stories of leading activists, that drove the change in policy and legislation to end the tax on period products as well as the wider policy changes around period poverty. It explains what charges women have paid in recent years and highlights how an individual concern for justice sparked country-wide debates about menstruation taboos. She will present with co-author Laura Coryton.
Professor of Law; Faculty Director, Feerick Center for Social Justice, Fordham University School of Law
Elizabeth Cooper is a Professor of Law at the Fordham University School of Law, where she also serves as Faculty Director of the Feerick Center for Social Justice. She was previously a clinical professor at Brooklyn Law School and Rutgers University School of Law. Before returning to academia, Professor Cooper practiced as a Skadden Fellow and Staff Counsel at the ACLU AIDS Project in New York City and as a Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest and Constitutional Law at Gibbons, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger and Vecchione. She additionally clerked for the Honorable Anne E. Thompson, of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Professor Cooper earned her J.D. from the New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden Scholar.