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Teaching feminist perspectives on law

UKCLE PDF project

Project leader: Linda Mulcahy, Birkbeck College (e-mail:
Project summary: dissemination of information on feminist perspectives of teaching law
Completion date: May 2003
UKCLE funding: £5,000

There is an increasing interest in teaching law from feminist perspectives in law schools. This is suggested by the success of publications on feminist perspectives on law, such as the Cavendish book series, the Feminist Legal Studies journal and the regular appearance of articles with a feminist orientation in general law journals. In addition, law conferences now regularly feature streams organised around feminist issues.

Despite this general trend, many areas of the law have remained resistant to feminist analysis and not all academics are regularly exposed to this field of scholarship. It remains, for instance, relatively unusual to find a feminist critique of legal doctrine and phenomena in leading textbooks across subjects. Feminist insights may be increasingly acknowledged and investigated, but they remain marginalised.

The aims of the project were to:

  • identify key publications for use by academics and students interested in researching law from a feminist perspective
  • make these materials available to the academic community through the launch of a website

The Feminist Perspectives on Law website was launched at a conference organised by the Women in Legal Education (WILE) network at Cardiff University on 20 May 2003. The project team hoped to secure funding to enable the site to be updated at least once a year, and it was hoped that as members of academic networks began to use the site it would be possible to start to collect course outlines from feminist scholars and to publicise events.


The project team used several methods to collect materials focusing on feminist critiques of law:

  • use of existing networks (e-mail, subject association newsletters)
  • review of publishers catalogues and websites, including Butterworths, Kluwer, Cambridge, Cavendish, Hart, Longman, Oxford, Sweet & Maxwell, Routledge and Sage
  • review of materials held in library catalogues, including libraries with specialist collections on feminist materials (the Fawcett Library at London Metropolitan University) and general collections (London School of Economics, the universities of Kent, Lancaster, Liverpool, British Colombia, San Francisco, California, and Yale)
  • searches of specialist databases (Westlaw, LEXIS)
  • review of specialised listings and bibliographies (the women and law listings in the Annotated bibliography of English studies and Canadian feminist literature on law)
  • review of the bibliographies of key publications in the fields of law and feminism, including the Cavendish feminist perspectives series, the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law (1999) vol 11 no 1&2 (special issue with bibliography on Canadian feminist literature on law), Feminist Legal Studies, Feminist Review, Harvard Feminist Law Review, Law and Critique

Our initial search generated thousands of references, and a decision was made to focus as much as possible on the seminal texts in the field and the work of UK scholars. The materials were organised around the core subjects and key specialist courses taught in the majority of UK law schools, with a more generic cluster of publications around the topic of legal theory.

Last Modified: 4 June 2010