la fée verte wrote:
BlackSails wrote:Now custody in divorce cases on the other hand, those are almost always decided in favor of the woman.
Do you have a citation for that, BlackSails? Cos according to the a study of the court system in Massachusetts (first jurisdiction I found stats for):
New England Law Review, in 1990 wrote:We began our investigation of child custody aware of a common perception that there is a bias in favor of women in these decisions. Our research contradicted this perception. Although mothers more frequently get primary physical custody of children following divorce, this practice does not reflect bias but rather the agreement of the parties and the fact that, in most families, mothers have been the primary [*748] caretakers of children. Fathers who actively seek custody obtain either primary or joint physical custody over 70% of the time. Reports indicate, however, that in some cases perceptions of gender bias may discourage fathers from seeking custody and stereotypes about fathers may sometimes affect case outcomes. In general, our evidence suggests that the courts hold higher standards for mothers than fathers in custody determinations.
The whole thing is here: http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/Massachusetts_Gender_Bias_Study.htm
. I haven't read it all yet cos I'm in the middle of dying my hair, but it looks well worth a read.
Interesting that this so-called "study" from the Mass. SJC is now available online, a full two decades after it was first issued. When it was brand new in 1989, Tim Berners-Lee was just dreaming up the proposal that would eventually become the World Wide Web. Since the web didn't exist back then, it was much easier for politically-motivated government functionaries to do a "study" and then protect it from anyone who might want to critique it by making copies unavailable. The 1989 report on gender bias by the Mass. SJC's Gender Bias Commission was actually farmed out by the SJC to the Wellesley Centers for Women -- not an organization that would be likely to bring an impartial eye to the task of looking for gender bias. Then the SJC just put their name on the final version. Through persistence, I was eventually able to extract a copy of the report from the SJC, four years after the report was issued!
But by making it unavailable, the SJC had guaranteed that it could not be critiqued in a timely manner.
When I was finally able to get a copy, I telephoned Dr. Amy Koel, the researcher whose work was cited by the SJC study in support of the claim that fathers get custody in 70% fo cases. She told me her research showed no such result because her research wasn't designed to answer that question.
I wrote an analysis of how this falsehood was fabricated entitled "Misrepresentation of Gender Bias in the 1989 Report of the Gender Bias Committee of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court". You can read it at http://www.breakingthescience.org/SJC_GBC_analysis_by_mbr.pdf
It's horrifying how long a falsehood will persist once it gets out there. The truth never seems able to catch up. To quote Mark Twain (who was probably quoting somebody else), "A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on." Anyway, here's a brief summary of how I came to write the analysis I mentioned.
On June 23, 1989, an article on the front-page of the Boston Globe announced that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court had just released their report on a study they had commissioned on gender bias in the court system. In that same day's edition, columnist Bella English wrote, "In fact, the study found that when fathers seek custody, they obtain either primary or joint physical custody over 70 percent of the time." The obvious implication here is that if fathers seldom get custody, it's their own fault for not caring enough about their kids to fight for them.
The day after I read that the report had been released, I called the SJC's offices to request a copy of the report. Oddly, they told me that all copies of this brand new report had already been distributed, and it was no longer available. I called back every six months or so, hoping it had been reprinted. Four years later they finally told me it had been reprinted, and mailed me a copy. I've since heard speculation that someone else may have pried it loose under threat of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
With the report finally in hand, I quickly located the section where the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court's Gender Bias Committee wrote, "Refuting complaints that the bias in favor of mothers was pervasive, we found that fathers who actively seek custody obtain either primary or joint physical custody over 70% of the time." And I was finally able to start tracking the basis on which they made that claim.
It took a number of phone calls for me to locate the researcher whose study the SJC cited in support of their 70% claim. But I was eventually able to speak with her, and she told me that her data do not demonstrate court bias, and her research was never even designed to address the question. She also was kind enough to mail me a copy of her own published article on her study.
Based on that, I did my own analysis and found that the very same data cited by the SJC as evidence of court bias against mothers also shows that when mothers sought sole custody, the court granted the request at a rate 65% higher than it did when fathers made the same request.
Go to http://www.breakingthescience.org/SJC_GBC_analysis_intro.php#mbr_analysis
to read my detailed analysis or go to http://www.breakingthescience.org/SJC_GBC_analysis_by_mbr.pdf
to download a printer-friendly copy.
The SJC's claim regarding court bias in custody cases appears less like objective research than like an exercise in manipulating numbers to sound like they prove anti-woman bias. But it has been effective nonetheless. For the last two decades, it has been repeated in newspapers all across the U.S. and Canada, cited in Ann Landers' column, stated as fact in the National Center on Poverty Law's manual for lawyers. And it gets trotted out whenever anyone proposes that any state adopt a presumption in favor of joint custody.