Gonzaga Law School Presents Human Rights Conference: Women’s Rights as Human Rights


October 30, 2020

On Monday, Nov. 9, 2020, the Center for Civil and Human Rights at Gonzaga University School of Law, in partnership with its Gonzaga in Florence program, will present the fourth annual Human Rights Conference. 


This year’s theme, “Women’s Rights as Human Rights,” will bring together nationally and internationally renowned scholars to discuss how gender intersects with culture, violence, and technology.  Renee Knake Jefferson, co-author of the book “Shortlisted: Women in the Shadows of the Supreme Court” and a professor of law at the University of Houston, will be the conference keynote speaker.


“We are extremely excited to host this year’s conference,” said Professor Jason Gillmer, the director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights.  “The conference coincides with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The topic gives us an opportunity to celebrate and assess the impact of that right, as we also confront some of the pressing issues facing women in the U.S. and across the globe today.”


The conference, which will be online from 8 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. PST, will consist of three panels, “Technology, Speech, and Misogyny,” “Gender, Intersectionality, and Culture,” and “Gender, Conflict, and Violence,” and Jefferson’s keynote address. Jefferson’s book, “Shortlisted: Women in the Shadows of the Supreme Court”, tells the story of nine women who were formally considered for a seat on the Supreme Court going back to the 1930s.  It also exposes the harms of shortlisting—the practice of adding qualified female candidates to a list but passing over them, which creates the appearance of diversity while preserving the status quo.   


“Current events vividly illustrate that even yesterday's progress can quickly become tomorrow's regression,” said Professor Brooks Holland, director of Global Legal Education at Gonzaga.  “This program will examine the significant challenges than remain for society fully to realize and protect human rights for women––economic equality and security, freedom and security for women in the digital realm, freedom from physical violence, reproductive health rights, and equality for women of color and lesbian and transgender women are only a few examples.”

Panel speakers include D. Wendy Greene, an activist, and professor at Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law, whose research and scholarship in “misperception discrimination” and “grooming codes discrimination” has been cited in laws banning discrimination based on race-based hairstyles.  Law lecturers from the U.K., Kim Barker of University of Stirling, and Olga Jurasz of Open University will also be addressing women’s rights online and the fight to combat misogyny in the digital age.  A complete list of speakers and their biographies are available on the conference website.


“While advances have occurred, women rights across the globe are still imperiled, especially in the areas of reproductive autonomy, economic inequities, violence against women in its myriad forms, and continued discriminatory treatment in both the public and private realms,” said Professor Mary Pat Treuthart, an affiliated faculty of the Center for Civil and Human Rights. “The opportunity to explore some of these issues with international scholars will be a highlight of this symposium.”


The conference is open to the community and conference organizers will be seeking to certify the conference for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits for attorneys.  There is no charge to register; those seeking CLE credits will be charged a small fee.


Visit the School of Law website for more information or to register for the conference.