While men’s claims of gender bias in the family law system are acknowledged, this article focuses on how bias, whether implicit or explicit under the guise of unconscious attitudes or behavior, continues to place women at a systemic disadvantage. Although implicit bias also impacts outcomes in child abuse and neglect actions involving the state, the focus of this article is the impact of implicit bias in actions between women and men in the family courts, in particular those issues involved in the dissolution of the relationship and the family unit. First, the emergence of implicit social cognition theory will be explored in order to set the stage for understanding how bias continues to effect decision-making in the legal system. Next, this article explores the continued existence of gender bias against women in our society and the external and internal justifications for its persistence. This article will then discuss the persistence of gender bias in the family court system. Existing implicit bias science and research is then applied to the family court environment as a means to explain why and how bias against women continues to affect outcomes in family matters. Finally, although no strategies have been proven to have a long-term impact on eliminating implicit bias against women, this article looks to the findings of existing explicit and implicit bias research and scholarship as a means to discover techniques to eliminate the barrier implicit bias creates for a woman’s ability to obtain a just result in family matters.
Recommended CitationMichele N. Struffolino, The Devil You Don’t Know: Implicit Bias Keeps Women in Their Place, 38 Pace L. Rev. 260 (2018)
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/plr/vol38/iss2/2