Legal Issues

Female Judges Matter: Gender and Collegial Decisionmaking in the Federal Appellate Courts

This report provides data to illuminate whether and how the presence of female judges on three-judge federal appellate panels affects collegial decisionmaking in a subset of gender-coded cases—those involving claimants alleging sexual harassment or sex discrimination.  An empirical analysis of 556 federal appellate cases decided in 1999, 2000, and 2001 reveals that judges’ gender mattered to case outcomes. Though plaintiffs lost in the vast majority of cases, they were twice as likely to prevail when a female judge was on the bench.

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