"Eve, Mary, Superwoman: How Stereotypes About Women Influence Judges" by Lynn Hecht Schafran

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December 2, 1985
Originally published in The Judge's Journal, Vol. 24, Issue 1, Winter 1985.

Published in The Judges Journal in 1985, this article explores three common, sexist stereotypes about women (Mary, Eve, and Superwoman) that arise in the courtroom. These gender stereotypes have the power to shape judicial attitudes toward women lawyers, victims, and litigants and can affect judicial decision-making.


"Mary, Eve, Superwoman: three female stereotypes have profound implications for the full and fair administration of justice. Justice Benjamin Cardozo wrote of the judicial process, "deep below consciousness are other forces, the likes and dislikes, the predilections and the prejudices, the complex of instincts and emotions and habits and convictions, which make the man, whether he be litigant or judge. " The deeply rooted stereotypes of women described in this article are among those· unconscious forces. Only by recognizing their existence and their power can judges move beyond Mary, Eve and Superwoman and treat women as individuals, rather than as emblems of their sex."

  • Fairness in the Courts


Lynn Hecht Schafran
  • National Judicial Education Program


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