About half of the students at any law school identify as women. But significantly less than 50% of their tenure-track professors identify as women, and significantly less than 10% of their professors identify as women of color.
Over the last several decades, there have been significant strides in gender equity in academia. Between 1996 and 1999, 26% of tenured or tenure-track faculty identified as women, while 68% of non-tenure-track faculty identified as women. By 2007-2008, the percentage of tenured or tenure-track faculty who identify as women rose to 30%; by 2013-2014, the percentage rose to 35%. The most recent data from the ABA (2018) suggest that it is now around 38%, while the percentage of non-tenure-track faculty who identify as women has remained between 60 and 70%.
Yet there remain persistent gender disparities in academia. Academic conferences routinely feature panels that are overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, male, and law school curricula and casebooks still feature work by mostly male authors. The most cited law faculty are overwhelmingly male, and the media frequently relies on men as experts while featuring only occasional women voices. And these disparities are several times worse for women of color.
Yet women know law–and they deserve to be heard and featured for it. That’s why several faculty members at the University of Michigan Law School, with the school’s support, created Women Also Know Law.
Women Also Know Law offers a searchable database of women and non-binary people who have academic appointments in law (or who are seeking academic appointments in law). The database is publicly available for everyone to use, including conference organizers, syllabi authors, casebook editors, journalists, and whoever may be looking to find someone with academic expertise or academic aspirations in law. And our social media feed celebrates the accomplishments, expertise, and knowledge of women in the law.
As the political scientists behind Women Also Know Stuff put it, women know stuff. Ask them.