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Joanna Vieira Noronha

Joanna Vieira Noronha

S.J.D. 2018

Teaching Assistant — Family Law; LL.M. Writers’ Workshop

jnoronha at


Engendering Parental Leave Law — A Comparative Analysis

Parental leave law exists in a particularly dense node of relationships between the state, families, and the market. Resources and responsibilities are allocated by cultural norms as well as by law, with policy-makers attempting to shift incentives and disincentives to promote their vision of family and work life. A close look at the legal structure around parental leave reveals a rich site for research, as we find evidence of political perspectives on parenting roles and work life. I argue that there are two main and inextricable axes of distribution: who shoulders the burden, and who foots the bill for the labor of having and raising children. If childcare is a fundamental and inevitable type of social production, it is crucial to analyze how the costs and benefits of such work are distributed, mapping carefully what they currently look like, as well as the normative ideas around what they should become. This dissertation carries out this analysis through the lens of comparative law, by examining family leave policies in Canada and the USA. It aims to contribute to the scholarly debate around parenting labor, the gendering of work, and anti-discrimination law. It will also further policy discourse by identifying the critical choices that animate current policy designs, proposing a distributional analysis framework, and offering a model for policy reform.


  • Harvard Law School, S.J.D. 2018
  • Harvard Law School, LL.M., 2011-2012 (requirements fulfilled, degree waived)
  • PUC Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Master of Laws, 2010
  • Rio de Janeiro State University, Brazil, LL.B., 2007

Teaching and Research Interests

  • Family Law
  • Contracts
  • Anti-Discrimination Law
  • Feminist Legal Theory
  • Law, Institutions, and Development
  • Human Rights

Representative Publications

Fields of Research and Supervisors

  • Law, Gender, and Sexuality with Professor Janet Halley, Harvard Law School, Overall Faculty Supervisor
  • Law, Institutions, and Development with Professor Michael Trebilcock, University of Toronto Faculty of Law
  • Legal Philosophy with Professor Duncan Kennedy, Harvard Law School

Academic Appointments and Fellowships

  • Harvard Law School, Teaching Assistant—Family Law, Professor Halley, Spring 2017
  • Harvard Law School, Graduate Program Fellow, Teaching Assistant, LL.M. Writers’ Workshop, 2015-2017
  • Harvard Law School, Graduate Program Fellow, Graduate Forum Coordinator, 2013-2015
  • Harvard Law School, Graduate Program Fellow, LL.M. Advisor, 2012-2013
  • Harvard Law School, Summer Academic Fellow, 2012 and 2016
  • McGill University, Echenberg Human Rights Fellowship, 2010
  • University of Toronto, Research Assistant to Prof. Michael J. Trebilcock, 2010-2011
  • Canadian Bureau for International Education, Emerging Leaders of the Americas Program (ELAP Grant), 2009-2010
  • FGV Law School, Rio de Janeiro, Teaching Assistant and Tutor, 2009

Additional Information

Languages: Portuguese, English, French, Spanish

Last Updated: July 18, 2017