Integrating Gender into Legal Education:  The Obstacles, Challenges, and Possibilities

Marcela Huaita Alegre

There are many ways to introduce the gender perspective into the teaching of law, such as offering specialized courses, including new contents in basic courses, developing legal theory, developing legislative proposals, and systematizing the case law. Each of these methods presents challenges and possibilities. The following is an effort to outline those challenges and possibilities. As we all know, when we speak of the gender perspective, we do not refer to an area of specialized knowledge different from other areas, but rather to a different reading of the various disciplines we study. As Alda would say, speaking of a gender perspective is somewhat like putting on eyeglasses with a different lens to review texts that have already been read and to approach disciplines already studied, trying to find in them the inequalities underlying the female-male relationship. The introduction of the gender perspective into the law follows these same premises. The goal is to clarify the position of women and men in the law, which is often not made explicit in doctrine, legislation, or case law. An initial difficulty that arises is the question of how best to introduce the gender perspective in a law school setting. There are at least two alternatives: creating a specialized course; or integrating this perspective into the general courses. The choice between these alternatives will depend on the human resources at hand, as well as the circumstances of each law school, and the professional mission of the university.

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