Battered Women and Feminist Lawmaking


You are viewing an older version of the Yalebooks website. Please visit out new website with more updated information and a better user experience:

Elizabeth M. Schneider

View Inside Format: Paper
Price: $39.00
Our shopping cart only supports Mozilla Firefox. Please ensure you're using that browser before attempting to purchase.

Also Available in:

Women’s rights advocates in the United States have long argued that violence against women denies women equality and citizenship, but it took a movement of feminist activists and lawyers, beginning in the late 1960s, to set about realizing this vision and transforming domestic violence from a private problem into a public harm. This important book examines the pathbreaking legal process that has brought the pervasiveness and severity of domestic violence to public attention and has led the United States Congress, the Supreme Court, and the United Nations to address the problem.

Elizabeth Schneider has played a pioneering role in this process. From an insider’s perspective she explores how claims of rights for battered women have emerged from feminist activism, and she assesses the possibilities and limitations of feminist legal advocacy to improve battered women’s lives and transform law and culture. The book chronicles the struggle to incorporate feminist arguments into law, particularly in cases of battered women who kill their assailants and battered women who are mothers. With a broad perspective on feminist lawmaking as a vehicle of social change, Schneider examines subjects as wide-ranging as criminal prosecution of batterers, the civil rights remedy of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, the O. J. Simpson trials, and a class on battered women and the law that she taught at Harvard Law School. Feminist lawmaking on woman abuse, Schneider argues, should reaffirm the historic vision of violence and gender equality that originally animated activist and legal work.

Elizabeth M. Schneider, Rose L. Hoffer Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, is a leading expert on gender discrimination, violence against women, and the law.

“This important book is ‘must’ reading for lawyers, political leaders, and medical and mental health professionals involved in responses to domestic violence. It demonstrates a rare combination of activist/lawyer savvy and theoretical curiosity and honesty.”—Martha Minow, Harvard Law School

Battered Women and Feminist Lawmaking is a magnificent analysis of law, social movement, and challenges confronting women and their advocates. Schneider vividly recounts the complex lessons of two decades of experience as one of the nation’s leading scholars, activist, and teacher on these difficult issues. This is a must-read for anyone concerned about social change, equality, or the law.”—Sylvia A. Law, Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law, Medicine and Psychiatry, NYU Law School

“This book provides an excellent overview of feminist perspective on wife battering. It is grounded in interdisciplinary approach to understand domestic violence as social and legal problems, which makes this book a require reading for students in law, public health, and social sciences to name a few, but also for lawyers, policy makers, and professionals alike whose commitment in working with battered women are firmly established.”—Atsushi Matsumoto, Bimonthly Review of Law Books

“This is an important book which, for the first time, tells how feminist lawyers brought the problem of abuse against women to public attention and how they have been and are still tackling it.”—Joan Zorza, Domestic Violence Report

“Provide(s) a historical and theoretical background as the feminist and battered women’s movements regroup in [U.S. v. Morrison]’s wake.”—Harvard Law Review

“A groundbreaking account of the evolution of domestic violence legal reforms. . . . Schneider’s comprehensive treatment of intimate violence will appeal to a wide audience. . . . Essential reading for all who are interested in the subject. . . . [A] magisterial work.”—Julie Goldscheid and Mary McGowan Davis, JURIST’s Books-on-Law (

Battered Women and Feminist Lawmaking, by Elizabeth M. Schneider is indeed a groundbreaking work that adds much to the dialogue about the scourge of domestic violence and the matter of battered women. . . . Much more needs to be done and this book helps point the way.”—Cynthia G. Hawkins-Leon, Law and Politics Book Review

“Schneider blends theory and practical experience; her analysis is intelligent and persuasive and brings new understanding to the problem. . . . Essential for academic, law, and larger public libraries.”—Library Journal

Battered Women & Feminist Lawmaking is a work of great depth and moment. Undoubtedly, it will impact the continued development of laws to protect and liberate battered women. . . . Experiencing this book is one way to ensure that the plane of women’s rights does take off, soon.”—Peter Glick, New York Law Journal

Batterred Women and Feminist Lawmaking compiles a wide array of legal research into a comprehensive and readable text that hsould be of interest to a wide variety of scholars and activists. It is a significant contribution to the growing literature on women and violence.”—Sally J. Scholz, Violence Against Women

“Feminism . . . should have some relationship to ordinary women’s lives, and a commitment to rethinking masculine culture. . . . [Schneider] reminds us of the power that feminism has when it is trained on these goals. . . . Her argument is sound and her feminist vision . . . promising.”—Liza Featherstone, Washington Post Book World

Battered Women and Feminist Lawmaking reminds us of the power that feminism has when it is trained on these goals. . . . Elizabeth Schneider details the history of U.S. feminist activism against domestic violence.”—Liza Featherstone, Washington Post Book World

“Thoughtful. . . . We are lucky to have Elizabeth Schneider, and fortunate that she has made her work . . . accessible to us in this admirable book.”—Mimi Wesson, Women’s Review of Books

“Elizabeth Schneider has long been notable for her original thinking and her contributions to cutting edge litigation in the field of domestic violence. In this wonderful new book, she shows us how law develops out of lived experience and how domestic violence is sustained by economic insecurity. She has her own distinctive interpretation of the O.J. Simpson case. Schneider makes it clear that if women are to claim equality, they will have to be able to count on safety first.”—Linda Kerber, author of No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship 


Winner of the 2000 Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers Book Award in the Legal category
ISBN: 9780300094114
Publication Date: January 11, 2002
336 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4