[UPDATE] Conference Recap Part II: Now with video!
Many thanks to YLS third-year and conference volunteer Mytili Bala for the following summary of Judge Nancy Gertner's keynote address.
Judge Gertner’s Keynote Address, March 27, 2009
The first wave of feminism sought to treat women the same as men, insofar as women are like men: they asserted that women would be willing to work as hard as men, put in the same number of hours as men, and to some extent resist having children like men. In contrast, the second wave of feminism sought to recognize that women and men are different, but that these differences should not call into question women’s professional lives. This second wave of feminism has clearly failed in reaching this ideal; we now realize that work is not family-friendly, and family is not work-friendly. Workplace flextime opportunities have only reinforced traditional roles in the workplace: after children, women work less while men work more.
Amidst this backdrop, Lisa Belkin’s free choice theory (that women opt out because of the pull of motherhood) and the “mommy myth” (articles artificially heightening the complexity of motherhood) obscure the problem of inequality rather than address it. Dialogue of women leaving the workforce should be discussed using the rhetoric of public obligation rather than private choice.
VIDEO LINK: http://ylsqtss.law.yale.edu:8080/qtmedia/ylw/OptOutKeynote032709_s.mov