Some of the most profound questions of justice and equality involve the ways in which the private lives of individuals intersect with modern notions of gender, sexuality, and family. Debates rage in legislatures and the courts about laws regarding issues such as adoption, reproductive rights, domestic violence, surrogacy, employment discrimination, and sexual harassment and assault.
As societal norms evolve, how does the law respond to changing definitions of the family, protect minors, and ensure the rights of women and LGBTQ+, transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming persons?
Columbia Law School pioneered the study of gender and sexuality law in the 1970s, when Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’59 became the Law School’s first female full-time tenured professor and introduced the first-of-its-kind Sex Discrimination seminar. Today, students can take a wide variety of courses covering the cultural, political, and historical contexts of LGBTQ+ rights, queer theory, and sexual rights claims in domestic and international contexts along with courses on family law.
Participate in impact litigation efforts, legislative work, and community advocacy projects in the Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic, the first in the nation when it was established in 2006.
Attend programs sponsored by the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, a respected think tank that develops innovative approaches to issues facing identity-based social movements and frequently produces amicus briefs for the U.S. Supreme Court and other jurisdictions in precedent-setting cases.
Edit the student-run Columbia Journal of Gender & Law, which publishes works rooted in feminist inquiry.