The Exponent, a blog for and about Mormon women, had a very interesting post last week called “Women Judges, Women’s Presence: How the Inclusion of Women Changes Things,” which discussed Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, the subtle influence of a woman’s presence, and the potential correlation to women in a faith community.
Referring to an NPR article, How Women Changed The High Court … And Didn’t, the writer pulls out a remarkable observation:
“But the point I wanted to focus on was this: the reporter addresses the question of whether female judges judge differently than male judges. A study of more than 7000 decisions shows that men and women do not judge differently – except in one area: sex discrimination. Women judges are 10% more likely to rule in favor of the plaintiff.
Likewise, in three judge panels which contain at least one women, the men were 15% more likely to rule in favor of the sex discrimination plaintiff than on three judge panels which contain only men.
That last statistic was the most startling to me. A woman judge’s mere presence – just her presence – influences the male judges decisions in this area.”
Apparently, a woman’s mere presence is enough to encourage the consideration of decisions in a different way. The author goes on to wonder how this might affect the administrative meetings of her church, an interesting consideration for the Evangelical church as well, in which women are frequently excluded from key leadership decisions. We’ve already noticed how that played out on Wall Street. Culture is recognizing the value of gender balance. Isn’t it about time the Church – men and women sharing the image of God – did too?