Yes, we do. Reports of the demise of the patriarchy (and its companions – misogyny, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and gender hierarchy) have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, gender injustice remains pervasive.
Sometimes its effects are subtle, as when a man seems somehow less of an up-and-comer after he changes his work schedule to accommodate his child’s daycare needs, or when a woman like Charlotte starts to be evaluated by different standards than her male co-workers, after she has the audacity to fill a “man’s job.”
Sometimes its effects are blatant and shocking, as when an undocumented immigrant like Leticia is raped by her boss under threat of deportation, or when women like Gretchen, Barbara, and Lisa are fired from their driving jobs expressly because they are women, or when students are bullied to the point of suicide because other students think “they’re so gay.”
But subtle or shocking, most forms of gender injustice are never remedied. The victims are never compensated and the wrongdoers never punished.
This is particularly true when the victims are low-wage earners, since damages under our civil rights laws tend to correlate with the victim’s earnings. Low-wage workers generally receive lower monetary damages awards than high-wage earners, which means their cases are less likely to find representation from a contingent fee lawyer. Immigrant victims are in a similar bind, since language barriers make it difficult to find a lawyer and add to case costs.
Granted, it’s impossible for every victim of gender injustice to have access to legal assistance. But making more lawyers available, on a nonprofit basis in targeted cases, is a surely a step in the right direction.