Privacy Was Focus of 12th Feminist Legal Theory Conference

“Applied Feminism and Privacy” was the theme of this year’s 12th Feminist Legal Theory Conference on April 22 and 23, presented by the Center on Applied Feminism.

As always, current events provided an impetus for the conference theme. Our nation is at a critical time for a broad range of privacy issues. State-level abortion bans have put a spotlight on the importance of decisional privacy to women’s equality. Across America, advocates are fighting for reproductive justice and strategizing to preserve long-settled rights.

At the same time, our informational privacy is increasingly precarious. Data brokers, app designers and social media platforms are gathering and selling personal data in highly gendered ways. As a result, women have been targeted with predatory marketing, intentionally excluded from job opportunities, and subject to menstrual tracking by marketers and employers. In online spaces, women have been objectified, cyber-stalked, and subject to revenge porn.

With regard to physical privacy, the structural intersectionality of over-policing and mass incarceration impacts women of color and other women. And while a man’s home may be his castle, low-income women are expected to allow government agents into their homes — and to turn over reams of other personal information — as a condition of receiving state support. In addition, families of all forms are navigating the space of constitutionally protected family privacy in relation to legal parentage, marriage and cohabitation, and child welfare systems.

The first session examined menstrual justice and activism across employment, homelessness, education and data privacy, and in school and carceral settings. Panelists included Center co-directors Margaret E. Johnson, associate dean for experiential education and professor of law, and Michele E. Gilman, Venable Professor of Law. 

This year’s keynote speaker was Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center. 

13th Feminist Legal Theory Conference

Save the date for the 13th Feminist Legal Theory Conference scheduled for April 8, 2022. Themed “Applied Feminism and ‘The Big Idea,'” this year’s conference aims to capture, develop, and disseminate cutting edge theorizing around issues of gender equity and intersectionality.

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