Baltimore Law’s 12th Feminist Legal Theory Conference, April 22-23, to Focus on Applied Feminism and Privacy

“Applied Feminism and Privacy” is the theme of this year’s 12th Feminist Legal Theory Conference at the University of Baltimore School of Law, April 22-23.

As always, the Center on Applied Feminism’s conference focuses on the intersection of gender and race, class, gender identity, ability, and other personal identities. Keynote speaker will be Fatima Goss Graves , president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center.

Our nation is at a critical time for a broad range of privacy issues. State-level abortion bans have put a spotlight on the importance of decisional privacy to women’s equality. Across America, advocates are fighting for reproductive justice and strategizing to preserve long-settled rights.

Margaret Johnson
Associate Dean Margaret E. Johnson

At the same time, our informational privacy is increasingly precarious. Data brokers, app designers, and social media platforms are gathering and selling personal data in highly gendered ways. As a result, women have been targeted with predatory marketing, intentionally excluded from job opportunities, and subject to menstrual tracking by marketers and employers. In online spaces, women have been objectified, cyber-stalked, and subject to revenge porn.

With regard to physical privacy, the structural intersectionality of over-policing and mass incarceration impacts women of color and other women. And while a man’s home may be his castle, low-income women are expected to allow government agents into their homes – and to turn over reams of other personal information — as a condition of receiving state support. In addition, families of all forms are navigating the space of constitutionally protected family privacy in relation to legal parentage, marriage and cohabitation, and child welfare systems.

In this conference, speakers will explore such questions as: Is privacy dead, as often claimed? If so, what does this mean for women? How can privacy reinforce or challenge existing inequalities? How has feminist legal theory wrestled with privacy and what lessons can we draw from past debates?

Venable Professor of Law Michele Gilman
Venable Professor of Law Michele E. Gilman

What advocacy will best advance privacy protections that benefit women? How do emerging forms of surveillance impact women? Can intersectional perspectives on privacy lead to greater justice? Who defines the “right to privacy,” and what do those understandings mean for women? How is privacy related to other values, such as autonomy, anti-subordination, vulnerability, justice and equality?

The session on Thursday, April 22, from 4 to 6:30 p.m., will examine menstrual justice and activism across employment, homelessness, education and data privacy, and in school settings. Panelists will include Center co-directors Margaret E. Johnson, associate dean for experiential education and professor of law, and Michele E. Gilman, Venable Professor of Law. Register for Thursday’s sessions here.

Topics for Friday, April 23, from 9 to 3:30 p.m., include Controlling Personal Data in The Digital Age and Protecting Decisional Autonomy To Shape Identity And Families. Breakout sessions will be included to address such topics as reproductive justice and data privacy as social justice. Register for Friday’s sessions here.

The conference is offered entirely on Zoom and all are welcome to participate.

About University of Baltimore School of Law

The University of Baltimore School of Law provides a rigorously practical education, combining doctrinal coursework, intensive writing instruction, nationally renowned clinics and community-based learning to ensure that its graduates are exceptionally well prepared to practice law.
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