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Gender Bias in the Courts: Implications for Battered Mothers and Their Children  

Author:  Molly  Dragiewicz, Ph.D..

Source: Volume 05, Number 01, Summer 2012 , pp.13-35(23)

Family & Intimate Partner Violence Quarterly

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In the courtroom, female litigants face not only a battle with an ex-partner who is trying to gain custody of their children but also face a far more sinister opponent: the deeply entrenched gender bias permeating the United States legal system. Gender bias impairs not only a woman’s chances of winning relief from her abuser but also limits the ability of her attorney, if female, to prove her case. In this article, Molly Dragiewicz provides compelling evidence for these assertions, demonstrating, through data coming from diverse sources, that the decks are indeed stacked against the average female litigant’s likelihood of obtaining justice and relief from a court system that professes equality under the law but in many cases delivers anything but. The oft-used moniker of the “good old boys’ club” is quite horrifyingly accurate when describing how women rank vis-à-vis men in what goes on behind the courtroom doors. Dr. Dragiewicz’s summary of the evidence ought to raise critical self-examination by our courts and their agents of the practices they use in adjudicating women’s custody cases in jurisdictions across the country.

Keywords: Masculine, feminine, custody determinations, credibility, Parenting Double Standards, Double Standards, impact on children

Affiliations:  1: Queensland University of Technology.

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