In the 1970s, Janet Mary Riley, first female professor on Loyola University's law school faculty, played a key role in overturning the "head and master" provision of Louisiana's legal code. Riley's dawning consciousness of the need for reform resulted in part from her legal research, whereby she uncovered numerous cases of husbands' abuse of "head and master" power. Her training by Ursuline nuns and her exposure to the new rhetoric of women's equality and liberation were also influencing factors. Riley's was a long journey towards feminist consciousness, one in which religious devotion buttressed her commitment to gender equality.
Professor Allured discusses Riley's bruising but ultimately successful efforts to revise Louisiana law.
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