‘forty acres and a mule’ for women: Rawls and feminism

Politics, Philosophy and Economics 4 (2):233-248 (2005)
This article assesses the development of Rawls’s thinking in response to a generation of feminist critique. Two principle criticisms are sustainable throughout his work: first, that the family, as a basic institution of society, must be subject to the principles of justice if its members are to be free and equal members of society; and, second, that without such social and political equality, justice as fairness is as meaningful to women as the unrealized promise of ‘Forty acres and a mule’ was to the newly freed slaves. Key Words: Rawls • political liberalism • feminism • religion • public-private • social contract.
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