Global war against women: a subtle reason to smile

In yesterday’s New York Times, Adam Liptak’s Sidebar column told of an intriguing new study that has found “judges with daughters are more likely to vote in favor of women’s rights than ones with only sons.” Another Factor Said to Sway Judges to Rule for Women’s Rights: A Daughter –

It’s a fascinating article.  It makes me grin. Here’s how it begins:

 WASHINGTON — It was, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg later said, “such a delightful surprise.”

In a 2003 Supreme Court opinion, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist suddenly turned into a feminist, denouncing “stereotypes about women’s domestic roles.”

Justice Ginsburg said the chief justice’s “life experience” had played a part in the shift. One of his daughters was a recently divorced mother with a demanding job.

Justice Ginsburg’s explanation in 2009, though widely accepted, was but informed speculation. Now there is data to go with the intuition.

It turns out that judges with daughters are more likely to vote in favor of women’s rights than ones with only sons. The effect, a new study found, is most pronounced among male judges appointed by Republican presidents, like Chief Justice Rehnquist.

“Our basic finding is quite startling,” said Maya Sen, a political scientist at the University of Rochester who conducted the study along with Adam Glynn, a government professor at Harvard.

The standard scholarly debate about how judges decide cases tends to revolve around two factors: law and ideology. “Here, we’ve found evidence that there is a third factor that matters: personal experiences,” Professor Sen said. “Things like having daughters can actually fundamentally change how people view the world, and this, in turn, affects how they decide cases.”

Among women like me, it’s generally and fervently believed that we are, collectively, a force for reason and good. It’s why Emily’s List, the non-profit that raises money for women’s political campaigns, has become the default repository for my campaign contributions.

I want more women in our government. I believe that it’ll be a group of women who can shame (male) politicians into cutting their NRA leashes and acting on behalf of our contemporary civilization and its citizens by enacting gun control.

This article and the study it describes gives my beliefs a boost. Hurrah, ladies: you have changed our world for the better, even if it simply involves being your fathers’ daughters.


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