Women in Law: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

Women in Law: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

Women in Law: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

Women in Law: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

Synopsis

Forty-three women who have made major contributions to the law through their work in the legal profession, scholarly legal research, and political activism directed at socio-legal reforms are profiled in this bio-bibliographical sourcebook. The women featured are from countries and regions with a Western legal tradition, including North America, Europe, Israel, Japan, the Philippines, and Africa. Each profile contains extended biographical information and details significant achievements and contributions to the law made by each woman, followed by references.

Forty-three women who have made major contributions to the law through their work in the legal profession, scholarly legal research, and political activism directed at socio-legal reforms are profiled in this bio-bibliographical sourcebook. The women featured are from countries and regions with a Western legal tradition, including North America, Europe, Israel, Japan, the Philippines, and Africa. Each profile contains extended biographical information--their family backgrounds, education, and career development--and their significant achievements and contributions to law. The women featured include a number of those who were path-breakers like Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and Bertha Wilson, the first woman to sit on the Canadian Supreme Court. Scholars like Margaret Somerville (Canada) and Beverly Blair Cook (U.S.), and political activists like Helene St DEGREESDocker (Germany) and Leah Tsemel (Israel) are also included. The introduction to the work presents a comprehensive and historical overview of the role of women as citizens, scholars, lawyers, judges, office holders, and activists, and also provides a review of the scholarship on women in law.

Excerpt

Women were largely excluded from public life until the twentieth century, and still the extent of their access to political and legal prominence varies according to geography, culture, religion, and tradition. Few now in the Western world would deny that women have assumed their places in a variety of significant professions and public positions. in this book we seek to highlight the accomplishments of some 43 women who, through the vehicle of law, have made a difference. Some were trained as lawyers, whereas others used the law to attain other political goals. Often the political agendas they championed were not restricted to issues related to their sex; some sought broader social change. Like the male of the species, some women have achieved infamy, while others found fame. Those whom we have chosen to feature in this book are, in our opinion, of the heroic variety.

Although our scope was restricted to nations in the Western legal tradition, that did not prove to be very limiting. Because the reach of European colonialism was wide, its legal tradition was transported to Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas. Only those parts of the world dominated by Marxist legal doctrine, some parts of Asia, and sections of Islamic Asia are beyond our scope. the women selected are disproportionately from some countries because, in part, of the differential progress made by women in certain nations. the disparity also reflects our inability to locate or interest specialists from some regions. This is particularly true of South Asia, South and Central America, Australia and New Zealand, the Mediterranean, and Scandinavia.

A male friend of mine, when wishing to provoke a polite argument, will ask me: “Why were there never any great women composers, painters, writers, sculptors, etc.?” Even if he is referring to eras preceding this century, his premise is flawed. There were women who contributed to the arts: Artemisia Gen-

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