Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 1998

Publication Title

Hastings Women's Law Journal


women, legal education, legal history, constitutional jurisprudence, suffrage movement


This article will suggest that legal education has failed to represent the significant contributions of women in our American legal heritage within its curriculum. It urges that an acknowledgment of the feminine contribution must now be included within the curriculum of law schools in such a way that the contribution is incorporated within traditional substantive courses rather than select courses dealing with primarily "women's issues." Focusing on the Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries, this article highlights the achievements and legal battles of women which were integral to the overall development of legal theory in our country. It discusses some of the history that has been left out, offers various reasons why such history has been left out and suggest reasons for its inclusion. The article also considers the perpetuated stereotypes of women's roles during the previous century. It will point out various instances in which male efforts to "protect" women resulted in oppression rather than benefit and, in doing so, set the stage for a male-constructed and male-dominated legal system. This article suggests that this system resulted in the trivialization of females' roles within American legal history, and correspondingly, within American legal education. It is this author's contention that to allow this perpetuation in legal education is not only doing a disservice to female students, but is an inaccurate portrayal of history, which harms all students and diminishes the integrity of legal education.