How to drive gender equity from a legal researcher's perspective

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Tue Mar 1 2022

Author: Guest contributor

In honor of International Women's Day (March 8th) we're highlighting the expertise and experience of Anne Wagner, Editor in Chief of the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law. Plus, explore Springer Nature's SDG5 hub for more discussions around gender equality.

Please tell us about the nature of your work

In our everyday lives, we experience law as a system of signs. Representations of legality are visually and verbally manifested in the materiality of things we see, read and spatially experience. Methodologically, aesthetics of legality semiotically emerge as examples of visual jurisprudence, and illustrate the constitutive waltz between social governance, formal law, and materiality. In the spirit of the rhizome, the visual chaos of the Banyan tree reminds us of the variety of a root system revealing multiple facets, similar to our present-day society. With its aerial roots, the Banyan like Law has keenly adapted to environmental conditions. Therefore, in my research we can envision the evolving development of the relationship of law equally disorganized, entangled, and spontaneous. The research that I have been conducting for over 20 years now consists of the analyses of several fields of analysis (law, sociology, legal philosophy, legal semiotics, amongst others) and their intertwining, which is the hallmark of the society in which we live (research scopes from LVJ with my co-editor Pr. Sarah Marusek).

Does your work intend to directly address ways in which we can advance gender equity? If so, in which ways?

Legal semiotics is a discipline dealing with Law, Culture and Visual Studies, which is also a field of research conducting analyses on gender, with already online publications on gender-based (mis)communication, communication in the feminine form,  as well as two on-going research projects over gender equity in legal settings, visual disappearance of women from society, and how women are seen, ‘used’, or ‘abused’ in social media platforms. The main aim of my projects is to throw the bases of gender inequity and how various other actors (politicians, lawyers, artists, amongst others) express their concerns and ways of solving these issues.

What are the short and long-term goals of your work?

My work is based on communication strategy that I build around four founding pillars.

  • Social and cultural innovation by strengthening the specific assets and mutual needs of knowledge for a better interpretation and interpenetration of different cultures.
  • National and international recognition allowing to establish, or even renew the dialogue between different scientific communities, policy-makers, practitioners and ordinary citizens.
  • A better mastery of the use of investigative tools to provide a foundation and a long-term visibility on interdisciplinary fields.
  • Learning, dissemination and even propagation of knowledge and know-how with new curricula and proposals of Ph.D.

What do you think is the most productive way that researchers can engage policy-makers? What has your experience been with policy engagement?

The best way is to have policy-makers actively participate in my research projects by giving their practical and pragmatic viewpoints on the axes under consideration. This is what I have been working on for more than 10 years, involving altogether different communities, i.e. policy-makers, judges, jurists, lawyers, artists, and researchers. It is an experience rich in exchanges and that makes it possible to move the lines from both researchers and professionals. We are all complementary and in no way in competition.

What does public engagement look like in your field and how important do you think it is for researchers to make a societal impact with their work?

In my field of research, it is highly important to have a public engagement because it allows to go beyond a research perspective and to allow every citizen to have a better grasp of the possible impacts on our society. The ultimate goal would be that the different perspectives raised by experts are read, and even taken in consideration by ordinary citizens to alleviate and appease tensions within our society, esp. the digital society.

On the road to gender equity, which barriers needs breaking?

As far as gender equity is concerned, it would be necessary to have a better control over the digital society in order to have a healthier environment, respecting privacy and gender issues.

How can progress on gender equity translate to progress in science and research?

Progress on gender equity goes hand in hand with progress in science and research; both are intertwined and can only improve our society and wellbeing.

Explore Springer Nature's SDG5: Gender Equality Hub.

About Anne Wagner

Anne Wagner

Anne Wagner is a research associate professor at Lille University, ULR 4487 - CRDP - Centre de Recherche Droits et perspectives du droit, F-59000 Lille, France. Her main research interests lie in visual jurisprudence, legal semiotics, visual studies, language and law, law and the Humanities. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law (Springer), and she is the Law Book Series Co-Editor of “Visual Jurisprudence and Law (Springer). She is the President of the International Roundtables for the Semiotics of Law (IRSL). 


Author: Guest contributor

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