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Single Sex Law Schools?

An insightful (and concerned) colleague of mine has noted the paucity of female participants in this mobblog – and for her it reflects, more generally, the ways in which women’s voices are underrepresented in the law school community.  So let me throw up a surely controversial idea for discussion.  Is there a place for a single sex, women’s law school?   Might it have secondary effects on student participation, faculty-student interaction, and development of both analytical skills and community commitments?  Could it eventually lead to  increased numbers of women in leadership positions within both law and the legal academy?  Or perhaps…a more gender diverse legal blogitariat?

The folks from Smith College certainly would think so:

In a recent study by Indiana University’s Center for Postsecondary Research, far more students at women’s colleges reported having regular interaction with faculty members than those at coed institutions. They also reported with greater frequency that their colleges helped them learn more about themselves, hone their quantitative analysis skills and develop a desire to help their communities.

4 thoughts on “Single Sex Law Schools?”

  1. I appreciate the concern regarding women’s presence. I do, however, want to clarify something about this mobblog. There are four women who have posted and in my opinion done a great job here. They are Ann Bartow, Christine Hurt, Orly Lobel, and Nancy Rapoport. In addition, folks should know that five more women were asked to offer their views, but they all had too many other commitments.

  2. I don’t in any way want to suggest that the mobblog organizers have fallen down in their efforts to create a diverse community of bloggers in this mobblog. As Deven’s comment indicates, this is far from the case. Rather, I wanted to make the case that female voices are generally underrepresented – in blogs, classrooms, and elsewhere in the legal academy – and that one possible way to address that situation might be to try out single sex education.

  3. Dan, do you think you it would be ok for men to have their own law school, or Jews? Would that be part of the institutional diversity you would welcome?

  4. The whole notion of single-sex schools is very complicated and there are two very different questions at issue. First, do such schools promote educational values we hold dear? Second, are they consistent with our broader social and constitutional commitments. As to the former, I suspect we could do some empirical work to get some insights. On the latter, all we have are the same debates we’ve been having for years. But to be intellectually honest, I think one must concede that the analysis for single sex male schools, or single race white schools, is a bit different than for schools targeted at empowering groups that have been historically marginalized. But if your question is whether school segregation of any sort makes me a bit uncomfortable, the answer is easy: yes.

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