Study on Women of Color in Law School Excludes Native American Women

A recent study on women of color in Law School excluded Native American women from the analysis. The study, Women of Color - Study of Law Student Experiences, focused on Asian/Pacific Islander, Black/African-American, and Hispanic women/Latinas and was a collaboration between the Center for Women in Law and the National Association of Law Placement Foundation.

During a meeting between Native lawyers and professors and the study’s organizations, the authors of the study defended their analysis and concluded the study was completed. They offered to add in context highlighting the low number of female law student responses as an excuse as to why Natives were excluded from the study. 

Native lawyer Angelique W. Eaglewoman was on the call with the study’s organizations to voice her concerns about the study and called the justifications for the survey an insult to Native American female law students, lawyers, and law professors. In an opinion piece for Indian Country Today, she called the study "shoddy," as it misrepresents women in color in law schools and offered the suggestion that it be immediately withdrawn, as it infers that Native women are "statistically insignificant." 

“There was an opportunity to provide insight into our struggles and not only was the opportunity missed, but it became weaponized when the study organizers offered excuses and the refusal to acknowledge the harm of rendering Native American women invisible in a national legal study of this type,” she said in her article.

She called the law school experience for Native women devastating due to the lack of attention to Native American legal issues and their relationship with the local, state, and federal governments. “We often experience isolation and depression in dealing with lack of understanding, course offerings, or representation of our peoples and legal issues in law school curricula.”

She continued, “To say that Native American women are marginalized, invisible and regularly excluded is not an overgeneralization, but the reality we face on a daily basis.”

The Realist Woman’s take:

I don’t understand how a study on women of color could be conducted without the inclusion of Native women. Angelique W. Eaglewoman is right, the study is misleading. You either include all women of color, or you don’t and you make that known in the title of your study. 

How hurtful for Native women who work hard as law students to be ignored, dismissed, and excluded. The organizers of the study are only doing what our government has always done to our Native Americans, which is to treat them as others who don’t matter. They matter. They always have mattered. But this study very clearly and unapologetically says they don’t. It’s awful.

woman looking away wearing hoodie

The study’s organizers see nothing wrong with their report