April 17, 2014
Professor Saru Matambanadzo has been named Tulane Law School’s first Gordon Gamm Faculty Scholar.
Professor Saru Matambanadzo has been named Tulane Law School’s first Gordon Gamm Faculty Scholar, an award made possible by a gift from retired trial lawyer Gordon Gamm (L ’70) and his wife, Grace.
The faculty scholar position is designed to give early-career Tulane law professors resources to expand their research and engagement with other scholars and the broader public.
“I am deeply grateful to Gordon and Grace for making this critical support available for scholarly engagement,” Dean David Meyer said. He said Matambanadzo was an ideal choice because her work “is creative and interdisciplinary and offers real payoff in conceiving new avenues for understanding and combatting discrimination.”
With support as the Gamm Scholar, Matambanadzo plans to organize a roundtable of leading scholars from across the country to examine the development of anti-discrimination measures that are based on employment contracts and workplace policies, going beyond statutes and basic constitutional guarantees.
Gamm, who comes from a family of Tulane lawyers, practiced in Kansas City, Mo., and Boulder, Colo. He developed a unique legal perspective through his study of comparative law at Tulane and has represented all of the world humanist organizations, including in the U.S. Supreme Court. Gamm established the Bragg Symposium on Humanism in Kansas City and the Boulder International Humanist Institute, which have brought in speakers from a wide range of fields, including journalism, anthropology, evolutionary biology, economics, religious criticism and law.
Matambanadzo, who joined the Tulane Law faculty in 2010, graduated from Harvard Law School and holds a Ph.D. from UCLA in Women’s Studies. Her publications include articles on legal sex, legal personhood and the newest edition of West’s “Sex Discrimination in a Nutshell” (forthcoming 2014). She is presently researching a study of pregnancy discrimination law.
She said the Gamm award comes at a special time in her field: 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling outlawing racially segregated public schools, and it’s the 50th anniversary of key anti-discrimination laws, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, whose Title VII bans employment discrimination, and the Economic Opportunity Act, cornerstone of the War on Poverty.
“I hope to use the generous gift from the Gordon Gamm Faculty Scholar award to host a symposium looking backward and forward on over a half-century of legal reforms designed to foster equality,” Matambanadzo said.
Such an award, she said, “creates a fantastic opportunity for young scholars” to travel to symposia to present their work, host conferences at Tulane and obtain hard-to-find research materials.
In partnership with the Newcomb College Institute, and with research help from Tulane 2L Anthony Johnson, Matambanadzo recently completed the first phase of a project studying the gender gap in the leadership of publicly traded Louisiana companies.
Analyzing U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings for 50 corporations, she found that fewer than 10 percent of the highest-paid executives at publicly traded companies in Louisiana are women. The study indicated that women are underrepresented in leadership positions, regardless of which factor is considered. The data showed low percentages of women in management roles: 7.2 percent of board members elected by shareholders; 13.6 percent of executives listed in publicly available documents; and 8.4 percent of executive officer positions. And, of the 191 top-paid executives, just 9 percent were women.