Feminism and Family Leave

This Essay explores the dynamics between parental leave policies and the enforcement of legal equality in the United States and other jurisdictions. In so doing, it clarifies and redefines a feminist jurisprudence of family leave. A feminist approach to family leave should advance a substantive vision of gender equality, ‘a more egalitarian relationship at home and at work,’ in Justice Ginsburg’s words. Recent antidiscrimination challenges to parental leave policies in the United States and Europe advance the understanding that the law should always paternity and maternity leave should be equal in time and pay. This paper considers and critiques this proposition in light of the dynamics of leveling down maternity leave, which in turn may undermine women’s full participation in economic citizenship.

Gay Visibility and the Family

The question of family formation has emerged as the core of the struggle for gay rights, as evidenced by recent cases on same-sex marriage around the world. Long before the marriage debate, however, courts were already engaging with the relationship between homosexuality and family. This paper draws on theories of gay visibility to re-examine the Hong Kong case of Cho Man Kit v. Broadcasting Authority, and probes the ways in which the court's conceptualization of the family impacts upon its reasoning.


A handful of jurisdictions (California and Canada) have recently passed laws that allow a child to have three or four legal parents; other jurisdiction have reached similar results through judicial decisions. This paper considers legal and philosophical arguments for and against “poly-parenting” and suggests that these recent laws make good public policy sense for various reasons.