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The gender of authority in the legal academy

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Phillipa Weeks Staff Library

ANU College of Law

5 Fellows Road

The Australian National University, Acton 2601

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‘Herculean Obstacles and Intrepid Complainants’: The Sex Discrimination Complaint at Osgoode Hall Law School, 1987–94

PRESENTATION BY PROFESSOR MARY JANE MOSSMAN

This paper examines a legal challenge about systemic sex discrimination in an Ontario law school in the late 1980s in relation to the appointment of a new Dean. Arguably, the decision reflected Margaret Thornton’s view about the ‘hegemonic masculinity’ of many academic institutions towards the end of the 20th century – perhaps especially in Ontario where women began to enter the legal profession in large numbers (and the legal academy in small numbers) only in the 1970s. The paper describes the context of the human rights complaint and its impact at Osgoode and beyond, as well as my personal reflections in the ‘eye of the storm’ (with apologies to Patrick White).

Discussion

LED BY PROFESSOR MARGARET THORNTON

Although legal academic cultures are generally accorded scant attention in the Anglo-Australian legal tradition, feminist legal scholars have been particularly interested in the reflexive project. In discussing Mary Jane’s paper, this comment interrogates the gender of authority in the contemporary legal academy. How have things changed for women? Reference will be made to interviews recently conducted with Australian women law professors.

CHAIRED BY PROFESSOR KIM RUBENSTEIN.

Meet our guest speaker over lunch from 12 – 12.30 pm

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Phillipa Weeks Staff Library

ANU College of Law

5 Fellows Road

The Australian National University, Acton 2601

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