Copyright (c) 1997 University of San Francisco School of Law
University of San Francisco Law Review
SYMPOSIUM: IN HONOR OF PROFESSOR TRINA GRILLO: LEGAL EDUCATION FOR A DIVERSE WORLD: ESSAY: Gender and Invisible Work: Musings of a Woman Law Professor
31 U.S.F. L. Rev. 993
By Susan B. Apel *
WHEN I FIRST HEARD of the published results of the American Bar Association's study of women in legal academia, 1 I made a note to myself that read "Illusive Equality - send for." It was not until I saw the title in print that I realized I had misheard the first word, which, of course, is not illusive, but elusive. Both terms accurately depict the relative status of women faculty in law schools. In thinking about my mistake, however, it occurred to me that part of the elusiveness is the illusive nature of equality and its measurements. We judge by what we see; what we do not, or cannot see, is by definition not regarded or accounted for in our assumptions.
Women now constitute 28% of law school faculties. 2 Of tenured law school faculties, only 16% are women, 3 slightly above the ratio of women partners in law firms (12.9%). 4 Law school administration remains overwhelmingly male; a mere 8% of law school deans are women. 5 The numbers are, unfortunately, the good news. While not terribly encouraging, numbers are by definition quantifiable, easily measured, and as the very existence of the preceding statistics indicate, a subject of study and concern. Numbers help to chart our progress or lack of it. No doubt someone, and probably several someones, will await next year's statistics, compare them to the previous year, and form an opinion about the status of women in legal academia. The optimists ...
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