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18 Disp. Resol. Mag. 4 (2011-2012)
Women in Dispute Resolution: Parties, Lawyers and Dispute Resolvers - What Difference does Gender Difference Make

handle is hein.journals/disput18 and id is 78 raw text is: Women in Dispute Resolution:
Parties, Lawyers and Dispute
What Difference Does Gender Difference Make?
By Carrie Menkel-Meadow

Introduction: Gendered Justice?
What does it mean to talk about or study women
in dispute resolution when women play so
many different roles in dispute resolution-as
party-disputants, lawyer-representatives, witnesses,
experts, negotiators, mediators, arbitrators, special masters
and other forms of dispute handlers? Any dispute
involves many of these roles, now played by people of
both genders who interact with each other in different
substantive contexts, physical sites, and with a great
variety of gender composition in groups large and small.
In this essay I review how I, a feminist scholar and prac-
titioner in the fields of dispute resolution and gender and
law studies, have evolved, as has the underlying research,
from a firm conviction about existing gender differences
in dispute resolution behaviors to a more nuanced and
contextualized approach to the study and practice of
gender in dispute resolution. Gender may matter in
dispute resolution, but other factors, especially in such

an interactive field of behavior, may trump or smooth
out or make more complex any gender differences in the
pursuit of dispute resolution. In short, gender matters, but
context may matter more.
Twenty five years ago I wrote an article, Portia In a
Different Voice: Speculations on a Women's Lawyering
Process,' which controversially claimed that with the
addition of more women in the legal profession, legal
processes would be likely to change, and more use of
problem-solving, relational, contextual, and caring
methods of dispute resolution would alter the way in
which legal, social and economic problems would be
solved. This article, which adapted and applied the even
more controversial work of psychologist Carol Gilligan,2
argued for a different approach to legal problem solving
and dispute resolution based on notions of care and con-
nection for the parties engaged in disputes, the possibility
of less brittle and binary conclusions of right and wrong
and legal propriety, and a more mediated approach to
problem solving. The short-cut example of all this came


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