Document Type


Publication Date



Women face many barriers in the journey toward equality. Participants at American Association of Law Schools' ("AALS") recent "Workshop on Women Rethinking Equality" addressed the structural, and perhaps sometimes intentional, barriers constructed by societal forces and by the law against women's struggles for various types of equality. At the workshop, many of us pointed to all of the things "they," meaning others, should do to help dismantle these barriers and to help women forge equality. I agree many barriers remain that must be dismantled, and there is much "they" should do to rectify the generations of obstacles and limitations placed on women (even by the justice system itself). However, this essay suggests a different, or additional, approach. Rather than focusing on the many barriers to equality originating from others, this essay focuses on women's power to forge equality. Some of this power is cloaked, unharnessed, and underutilized. This essay is intended to challenge women to reconstitute the power of motherhood as a means of transforming not only families, but also law and society. This essay suggests the power of women to be mothering teachers and teaching mothers. Women have a choice, even an affirmative duty, to unharness their power to facilitate change and shape a status quo of equality.