LAWGEM project, Multiplier Event No. 1 at Europa-Institut of Saarland University, 13. and 15. April 2021
Within the LAWGEM project, the Multiplier Event No. 1 (ME1) was held at Saarland University, on the 13th and 15th of April 2021. Due to the Corona pandemic this LAWGEM Multiplier Event had to be held online.
The multiplier event took place on two dates and was divided into a shorter German slot on the 13th of April and a longer English slot on the 15th of April. This allowed the people who only have a limited knowledge of English to participate and get in touch with the project as well. 78 participants took part in both events, of which 27 were external participants. Dissemination of gender competent legal knowledge and of the LAWGEM project was very successfully conducted through presentations of a couple of courses of the future Law and Gender master`s program, as well as through an analysis of a few particular topics relevant for gender equality in law and politics.
During the German event, Mareike Fröhlich introduced the project with its main activities and outputs to all participants. Thereafter, the event focussed on gender issues, especially the gender image in legal education (cf. agenda). Dr Dana Valentiner presented her own and several other analyses of German case problems designed for legal education and pointed out that they provide a specific gender image, depicting women in a detrimental position. She motivated the participants to question their own educational material under that assumption and change it to reflect a more modern, gender-neutral approach. This presentation was followed by Rechtsanwältin and Abogada Katharina Miller, who works as a lawyer in Madrid. She shared her experiences about the reconciliation of family and work as a partner in her own law firm, as the president of the European Women Lawyers Association, as well as a mother. She made clear that more engagement is needed, along with new forms of gender equality in the legal profession. Afterwards, a vibrant discussion took place in which the current situation was analysed from different perspectives, and can be summarized to the effect that the German constitution in Art. 3 (2) gives the mandate for action which can no longer be ignored, but needs to take into account other fundamental rights, such as the protection of the family as well as the personal freedom rights.
The English event was met with great interest. After the welcome by the German coordinator, Prof. Dr Thomas Giegerich, the Serbian head coordinator, Prof. Dr Dragica Vujadinović, introduced the project, its intellectual outputs and the main results. The consortium was very pleased that Ivana Jelić, judge at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, presented her understanding of the importance of gender-competent legal education. Subsequently, the event focussed on the presentation of the curriculum for the Law and Gender master`s study programme (intellectual output 1, IO1). Mareike Fröhlich presented the main structure and details of the curriculum which should serve as a model for national programmes. In addition, the following mandatory courses were presented: Feminist and Political Legal Theories by Prof. Dr Antonio Álvarez del Cuvillo of the University of Cadiz, Human Rights Law – Gender Perspective by Prof. Dr Tanasije Marinković of the University of Belgrade, International and European Law and Gender Equality by Prof. Dr Marco Evola of LUMSA University, and Feminist Judgements by Prof. Dr Ivana Krstić of the University of Belgrade. All presenters explained the syllabi and elaborated the gender dimension in the mentioned courses/fields of legal education and the differences between this approach and traditional teaching.
As a prelude to the panel discussion that ensued, Prof. Dr Marko Davinić explained the optional course on Public Law and Gender Equality. All courses were commented on by Judge Ivana Jelić and Prof. Dr Silke Laskowski of the University of Kassel. After a fruitful discussion and the conclusion that the future master’s programme must take into account the potential addressees and their needs, Prof. Laskowski gave a keynote presentation on the political participation of women in Germany. She analysed the underrepresentation of women with a political mandate in the different federal states of Germany, as well as the legal grounds for change. Based on these statements, the panelists provided an insight into the national situation in Sweden (Prof. Dr Maria Jansson of Örebrö University) and in France (Prof. Dr Philippe Cossalter of Saarland University) during the panel discussion, comparing the Swedish voluntary quota system with the mandatory quota laws in France. The moderator, Prof. Dr Thomas Giegerich, complemented the keynote with regard to the German situation and its European and international framework. Finally, Assoc. Prof. Dr Susanne Strand presented the results of the Empirical Survey Tool, which represents the LAWGEM intellectual output 2, IO2. Professor Strand pointed to two parts of the EST: the desk analysis and the questionnaire related to value statements on gender equality among the staff at all respective faculties. Her conclusion was that gender equality has been achieved to a certain extent, with some differences among partner universities; however, her final suggestion was that gender equality in the institutional framework, as well as in the mindset of academic staff, would have to be improved further on at all Consortium universities.
Although the events were held online, both received very good feedback. The blend of presentations of project results and academic discussion was rated as very interesting, but the timeline was deemed too ambitious. The participants would have welcomed more breaks and a shorter event.