STILL UNEQUAL by Lorraine Dusky


The Shameful Truth About Women and Justice in America
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 An extensively researched indictment of the sexism that still pervades our legal system. Journalist Dusky (author of The Best Companies for Women) looks at the discrimination women on all sides of the law face- -whether they are law students, partners or associates in top law firms, judges, mothers and ex-wives in family court, or survivors of rape and domestic abuse. Her portrayal of life for women in law school is drawn from a very small sample (about 70 women from 28 schools). But their shocking evidence, though largely anecdotal, is buttressed by other studies cited by the author--demeaning references to women in textbooks and constant devaluation of feminist ideas in the classroom, arrogant male professors who ignore female students--or fondle them without consent. Sexual harassment at law firms is even worse, Dusky shows. All of this reinforces the far more serious problems women have with the legal system: unfair custody, criminal, and marital laws--and interpretations of law. Dusky's tone is irritating at times; she condescends to the reader with rhetorical setups like ``You might think . . . you would be wrong,'' and she peppers her prose with overly obvious or sweeping statements like, ``Men find ways to keep women down.'' Sometimes, despite her sobering subject, she is funny; illustrating the silly and random ways that gender can pop up in legal codes, she points to an old Kentucky statute mandating that ``no female shall appear in a bathing suit on a highway unless she is escorted by at least two officers or armed with a club.'' Though her prose style occasionally grates, Dusky makes a persuasive and compelling case for change. This book should be required reading for all first-year law school students--and for any woman contemplating a legal career.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-517-59389-0
Page count: 496pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1996