The rights of women in fundamentalist Muslim countries has become a cause celebre for many North American women; however, the problem of how to balance respect for women'srights and respect for cultural differences remains in dispute, even within feminist theory. This paper explores how U.S. feminists who are serious about supporting the struggles of women across cultural borders might best adjudicate the seeming tension between women'srights and cultural autonomy. Upon examining 4 representative approaches (...) to this problem, the paper argues that the seeming choice between respect for women'srights and respect for cultural differences is a false one and that both goals are advanced when global-minded U.S. feminists build on the insights of marginalized cultural groups to reflect critically on their own moral authority and their own communities' complicity with other women's oppression. (shrink)
This article examines women’s rights to property in marriage, upon divorce, and upon the death of a spouse in Uganda, highlighting the problematic aspects in both the state-made (statutory) and non-state-made (customary and religious) laws. It argues that, with the exception of the 1995 Constitution, the subordinate laws that regulate the distribution, management, and ownership of property during marriage, upon divorce, and death of a spouse are discriminatory of women. It is shown that even where the relevant statutory laws (...) are protective of women’s rights to property, their implementation is hindered by customary law practices, socialization, and the generally weak economic capacity of many women in the country. The article delves into the even weaker position of women’s rights to matrimonial property at customary and religious laws. In many homes, wives provide labor to support their husbands without having a stake in the use or monetary benefit from it. Under Islamic law regulating intestate succession to property, the entitlements for widows fall short of the constitutional standards on equality and non-discrimination. Polygyny is widely practiced by Muslims implying that the widows share the one eighth whenever there are children or one fourth in cases when there are no children. Radical reforms such as adopting an immediate community property regime instead of the present separate property regime are inevitable if women’s rights to property are to advance. (shrink)
The article discusses the problems of development of women’s political rights in Lithuania in the legal historical aspect starting from the 16th century, when some property and individual rights were enshrined in the first codifications of the laws of the Great Duchy of Lithuania. The aim of the article is to show that women’s struggle for political equality and suffrage at the end of the 19th and at the turn of the 20th century correlates with the movement for (...) re-establishment of the independent State of Lithuania. As a result in Lithuania equal suffrage and political rights were ensured from the very beginning of independence. In 1905 the Great Seimas of Vilnius recognized the principles of equality of women and men and declared the principles of equal general election to the Seimas (parliament); women’s suffrage, as one of the elements of legal equality, became constitutionally entrenched already in the first temporary Constitution of the State of Lithuania in 1918. At the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century women’s rights have been further developed, moreover, the first woman was elected as President of the Republic in the national elections in May 2009. (shrink)
Identity politics and citizenship are often envisaged in dichotomous terms, but cosmopolitan theorists believe commitments to “thin” universal values can be generated from divergent “thick” positions. Yet, they often gloss over the ways in which the nexus of thick and thin is negotiated in practice—a weak link in the cosmopolitan argument. To understand this nexus better, we turn to women’s rights organizations (WROs) in polarized Turkey to show that women affiliated with rival camps (e.g., pro-religious/pro-secular, Turkish/Kurdish, liberal/leftist) can mobilize (...) over issues like empowerment, violence against women, and education. However, thick readings of these issues inflect upon collaboration. This has spurred pro-religious and Kurdish women to develop strategies that flag their specific concerns. As such, mutual recognition along cosmopolitan lines appears possible—and is reinforced through iterative encounters—but is not necessarily negotiated between equally empowered agents and entails complex processes of contestation and concession-making. (shrink)
This article argues that women’s human rights were and are being violated in Afghanistan regardless of who governs the country: Kings, secular rulers, Mujahideen or Taliban, or the incumbent internationally backed government of Karzai. The provisions of the new constitution regarding women’s rights are analysed under three categories: neutral, protective and discriminatory. It is argued that the current constitution is a step in the right direction but, far from protecting women’s rights effectively, it requires substantial revamping. The (...) constitutional commitment to international human rights standards seems to be a hallow slogan as the constitution declares Islam as a state religion which clearly conflicts with women’s human rights standards in certain areas. The Constitution has empowered the Supreme Court to review whether human rights instruments are compatible with Islamic legal norms and, in case of conflict, precedence will be given to Islamic law. Keeping this in view, it is argued that Afghanistan’s ratification of the Women’s Convention without reservations has no real significance unless Islamic law dealing with women’s rights is reformed and reconciled with international women’s rights standards. (shrink)
Exposing food violences – hunger,malnutrition, and poisoning from environmentalmismanagement – requires policy action thatconfronts the structured invisibility of theseviolences. Along with the hidden deprivation offood is the physical and political isolation ofcritical knowledge on food violences and needs,and for policy strategies to address them. Iargue that efforts dedicated on behalf of ahuman right to food can benefit from thetheoretical analysis and activist work of theinternational Women'sRights are Human Rights(WRHR) movement. WRHR focuses on women andgirls; the food (...)rights movement operates onbehalf of all people, with an emphasis on thepoor. Both attend to the protection of bodilyintegrity against physical and psychicviolences. Both cope with bodily violences thatare socially privatized and spatiallysegregated from public institutions of relief,that is, they are tacitly omitted from publicdiscourse and purview. Most typically, but notexclusively, these violences unfold in privatehousehold space. Both rights movements mustmobilize political rights to demand economicand social rights and security. I introduce theUnited Nations' early Declaration (1948) andCovenant (1966) language on the human right tofood and review problems of household accessand grassroots engagement that are ``writteninto'' this early documentation. An abbreviatedoverview of the WRHR movement describes how thepublic/private and economic/political rightsdichotomies have been critiqued andre-formulated. A case study set in Polandacross the transition from (more) communist to(more) capitalist political economies attemptsto illuminate the discussion through agrounded example. (shrink)
Following the “Encountering Human Rights” conference in January 2007, Emily Grabham interviewed Tania Pouwhare, a women’s rights activist working at the Women’s Resource Centre in London. Their discussion engaged with the professionalisation of activism, funding constraints and New Labour policies and their impact on immigrant women. Against a background of financial insecurity and huge demand for their services, many women’s organisations in the United Kingdom struggle to use human rights law to advance women’s rights. Nevertheless, the (...) rhetoric of human rights remains powerful within women’s activism, and law remains relevant as a potential form of ‘direct action’ and “another way of making a really big fuss”. (shrink)
The discourse of multiculturalism provides a useful means of understanding the complexities, tensions, and dilemmas that Asian and other minority women in the U.K. grapple with in their quest for human rights. However, the adoption of multiculturalist approaches has also silenced women’s voices, obscuring, for example, the role of the family in gendered violence and abuse. Focusing on the work of Southall Black Sisters, and locating this work within current debates on the intersection of government policy, cultural diversity, and (...) feminist activism, this article examines, and critiques, the Labour government’s current “multi-faith” agenda for its impact on Black and minority ethnic women in the U.K. (shrink)
This review of Irene Oh's The Rights of God focuses on women'srights in Islamic theory and practice. Oh suggests that religious establishments, and the texts they disseminate, often press believers to recognize and reject social problems, such as racial and gender discrimination. Islamic scholars and texts have played a more ambiguous role in efforts to recognize women'srights within Muslim states. Modernist intellectuals have used Islamic texts to support the advancement of women's (...) class='Hi'>rights, but members of the more conservative religious establishment have typically curbed or rejected these efforts. Muslim women themselves have established various responses to the question of Islam's compatibility with women'srights. While some embrace the value and compatibility of both, others reject the propriety of either Western conceptions of rights, or the Islamic tradition, as harmful for women. Muslim reformers and feminists have much to learn from comparative studies with other faith communities that have undergone similar struggles and transformations. (shrink)
Significant improvements in human rights and democracy have been made since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations in 1948. Yet, human rights, especially women'srights, are still being violated in many parts of the developing world. The adverse effects of such violations on women's and children's health are well known, but they are rarely measured. This study uses cross-national data from over 145 countries to estimate the impact (...) of democracy and respect for human rights on various measures of women's health while controlling for confounding socio-economic factors such as income, education, fertility and healthcare. It finds that democracy and regards for human rights contribute positively to women's health outcomes, as do socio-economic variables. (shrink)
The land of chimeras -- Rousseau's half-being -- Navigating the land of chimeras with our only star & compass -- John Locke's other half being -- Nature does nothing in vain -- The foundation of almost every social virtue -- In a word, a better citizen.
This paper explores conceptual and practical linkages between women and food, and argues that food security cannot be realized until women are centrally included in policy discussions about food. Women's special relationship with food is culturally constructed and not a natural division of labor. Women's identity and sense of self is often based on their ability to feed their families and others; food insecurity denies them this right. Thus the interpretation of food as a human right requires that (...) food issues be analyzed from a gender perspective. For example, the paper asks how the rights to food intersect with the rights of women and other human rights; what the policy implications of these intersecting rights are; and how their integration will contribute to the effort to view all human rights as mutually reinforcing, universal, and indivisible. The second half of the paper speculates on the significance of distinctions between the right to be fed, the right to food, and the right to feed for understanding the relation between gender and food. (shrink)
During the past decade, women’s and human rights ‘language’ has moved from the margins to the ‘mainstream’ of international law and politics. In this paper, the author argues that while feminists and human rights activists criticise the ‘mainstream’s interpretation of women’s and human rights, ‘we’ do not question what becoming part of the mainstream and the cosmopolitan classes has meant for us. Drawing on examples of how women’s and human rights arguments have been used in the (...) post-conflict state-building process in Afghanistan, the author attempts to show how international women’s rights and human rights advocacy campaigns planned by well-meaning humanitarians in Western capitals can backfire when implemented in politically complex environments. (shrink)
In this article I apply the insights of hermeneutic realism to a practical-theological ethics that addresses the international crisis of families and women’s rights. Hermeneutic realism affirms the hermeneutic philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer but enriches it with the dialectic of participation and distanciation developed by Paul Ricoeur. This approach finds a place for sciences such as evolutionary psychology within a hermeneutically informed ethic. It also points to a multidimensional model of practical reason that views it as implicitly or (...) explicitly involving five levels---background metaphysical visions, some principle of obligation, assumptions about pervasive human tendencies and needs, assumptions about constraining social and natural environments, and assumed acceptable rules of conduct. The fruitfulness of this multidimensional view of practical reason is then demonstrated by applying it to practical-theological ethics and the analysis of four theorists of women’s rights---Martha Nussbaum, Susan Moller Okin, Lisa Cahill, and Mary Ann Glendon. Finally, I illustrate the importance and limits of the visional dimension of practical reason by discussing the concept of “Africanity‘ in relation to the family and AIDS crisis of Eastern Africa. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that a global bioethicsis possible. Specifically, I present the viewthat there are within feminist approaches tobioethics some conceptual and methodologicaltools necessary to forge a bioethics thatembraces the health-related concerns of bothdeveloping and developed nations equally. Tosupport my argument I discuss some of thechallenges that have historically confrontedfeminists. If feminists accept the idea thatwomen are entirely the same, then feministspresent as fact the fiction of the essential``Woman.'' Not only does ``Woman'' not exist,``she'' obscures important racial, ethnic,cultural, (...) and class differences among women. However, if feminists stress women'sdifferences too much, feminists lose the powerto speak coherently and cogently about genderjustice, women'srights, and sexual equality ingeneral. Analyzing the ways in which the ideaof difference as well as the idea of samenesshave led feminists astray, I ask whether it ispossible to avoid the Scylla of absolutism(imperialism, colonialism, hegemony) on the onehand and the Charybdis of relativism(postmodernism, fragmentation, Balkanization)on the other. Finally, after reflecting uponthe work of Uma Narayan, Susan Muller Okin, andMartha Nussbaum, I conclude that there is a wayout of this ethical bind. By focusing onwomen's, children's, and men's common humanneeds, it is possible to lay thefoundation for a just and caring globalbioethics. (shrink)
The main objective of this collection of papers is to explore ideas of generation and transformation in the context of postdependency discourse as it may be traced in women’s writing published in Bengali, Polish, Czech, Russian and English. As we believe, literature does not have merely a descriptive function or a purely visionary quality but serves also as a discursive medium, which is rhetorically sophisticated, imaginatively influential and stimulates cultural dynamics. It is an essential carrier of collective memory and a (...) significant indicator of group identity. Along with philosophy, literature explores the intellectual and emotional, aesthetic and ethical components of our lives, and, while focusing on a single feeling or unique event or phenomenon, aspires to capture the universal attributes of human experience. Hence, we intend to juxtapose interpretations of literature originating in very different cultural milieus, such as the Central East European and South Asian,with the literary treatment of the philosophical dilemmas that challenge authors of various nationalities in times of great political, economic and social upheaval and transformation following long periods of dependency and suppression, caused either by colonial and imperialist domination or by communist ideology. (shrink)
Human trafficking is both a human rights violation and the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. This article examines cross-border trafficking of girls and women in Nepal to India. It gives a brief explanation of what is meant by trafficking and then looks at the reasons behind trafficking. In Nepal, women and children are trafficked internally and to India and the Middle East for commercial sexual exploitation or forced marriage, as well as to India and within the country (...) for involuntary servitude as child soldiers, domestic servants, circus entertainment, and factory workers. Nepal and India are both signatories to international conventions and bound by domestic law to combat trafficking, and yet, this scourge continues. There are many laws in place, both in Nepal and India, which regulate the trafficking and prostituting of girls and women. This article looks at how effective these laws and regulations actually are and will look at the reasons for the continuation of trafficking. Despite the formal recognition of girl trafficking as a major problem and the existence of laws to curtail it, trafficking continues. The major problem with Nepal’s and India’s domestic laws is in the lack of enforcement. Finally, this article will look at ways to fight trafficking and make the governments of India and Nepal more effective in their fight against trafficking. (shrink)
The opposition of ‘culture’ and ‘rights’ is not uncommon in feminist legal discourse. This article argues that such an approach is fraught with danger as it creates an extremely restrictive framework within which African women can challenge domination; it limits our strategic interventions for transforming society and essentially plays into the hands of those seeking to perpetuate and solidify the existing structures of patriarchy. Drawing examples from a parallel research on Gender, Law and Sexuality, I propose that a more (...) critical and interpretative approach to these two concepts may present a different perspective to portrayals of ‘tradition’ as constraining and/or fixed often displayed in mainstream feminist legal thinking. (shrink)
The “fathers’ rights” movement represents policies that undermine women’s reproductive autonomy as furthering the cause of gender equality. Khader argues that this movement exploits two general weaknesses of equality claims identified by Luce Irigaray. She shows that Irigaray criticizes equality claims for their appeal to a genderneutral universal subject and for their acceptance of our existing symbolic repertoire. This article examines how the plaintiffs’ rhetoric in two contemporary “fathers’ rights” court cases takes advantage of these weaknesses.
Book Information Multicultural Jurisdictions: Cultural Differences and Women'sRights. By Ayelet Shachar. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge. 2001. Pp. xiv + 193. Hardback, Aus.$140. Paperback, $48.95.
Major changes have taken place in Muslim societies in general during the last decades. Traditional family and social organizational structures have come into conflict with the perceptions and needs of development and modern state-building. Moreover, the international context of globalization, as well as changes in intercommunity relations through immigration, have also deeply affected social and cultural mutations by facilitating contact between different cultures and civilizations. Of the dilemmas arising from these changes, those concerning women’s and men’s roles were the most (...) conflictive issues because of different interpretations and evaluations of historical, religious and/or cultural heritages. In the case of Morocco, for over 30 years, women’s and human rights NGOs have acted and advocated to promote women’s rights. The main disputes have concerned the distinction between what is within the requirements of Islam and what is the consequence of traditional social beliefs and practices. This ended nevertheless with the adoption by the Parliament of a new Family Law proclaimed in February 2004. This law was the result of a process of consultation and national debate, which made possible substantial progress in terms of proclaimed values of equality of rights between men and women, with the support of most national political and social leaders. Several lessons can be learned from the Moroccan experience. The crucial role of civil society, the political support of the state at its highest level, the working methodology of the Royal Advisory Commission and the final process for the adoption of the new code were from the most determinant parameters. In light of recent developments in some majority-Muslim countries, the future of women’s rights is a key issue of the so-called Arab spring. Muslim women’s challenges and struggles are not only ideological and legal battles, but they are also social and political struggles for which one of the major conditions is to prevent and prohibit the use of Islam as a political instrument. Muslim societies need to educate people properly and change their traditional representations and patterns of thought. To promote justice, equity and equality in general, as well as to protect women’s economic rights, they need appropriate economic and social policies. Then women can really promote, protect and benefit from the advances of their legal status. (shrink)
The Family Planning Association Northern Ireland (F.P.A.N.I.) has recently been successful in holding the state accountable for its duty to safeguard women’s reproductive health and welfare, and clarify the circumstances in which abortion is lawful. By demanding that the Minister for Health investigate abortion provision and produce abortion guidance, F.P.A.N.I. hope to improve the quality of abortion services and alleviate the situation of those women who are legally entitled to abortion in Northern Ireland but cannot access it there. This action (...) has challenged a public failure which impacts most negatively on those women who cannot easily escape its effects. Although the case succeeded in shaming the state for such a failure, the judicial review strategy could not challenge the legal ethos which denies women a say over their reproductive lives. This case commentary argues that pro-choice strategic litigation needs to positively and generally assert women’s reproductive rights at the same time as it seeks to accommodate the needs of the most vulnerable. (shrink)
Criticisms have been made against international laws and conventions on asylum and refugees, arguing that these have been based on a male model of definition, which have ignored women’s persecutions. This article will argue that recent developments in European asylum policy have the potential to deepen this discrimination and to further reduce the rights of female asylum seekers. Although there have been some positive developments in jurisprudence that have recognised that gender-specific persecution may be the basis for granting asylum, (...) these advances remain relatively sporadic and are undermined by the operation of random and discretionary exercises of power by bureaucrats and decision makers in many cases. Further, although new developments in asylum policy are in theory “gender neutral,” differences in the material circumstances of men and women who arrive to seek asylum may mean in effect that the implications of these policies are deeply gendered. (shrink)
The desire to formulate a viable treaty framework for women’s rights that will meet the challenges of the sociocultural peculiarities in Africa led to the emergence of the original draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women in the twilight years of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Without doubt, the recent adoption of the African Women’s Protocol by the Assembly of African Heads of State and Government in July (...) 2003 is a welcome development coming at a most opportune time. However, if the African Women’s Protocol is to serve its purposes in an effective way, it is absolutely necessary to articulate the normative and structural modalities that would secure the achievement of its stated ends. It is therefore in the quest for defining the strategic parameters of this new-fangled instrument that I analyze the normative promises as well as notable structural and conceptual limitations inherent in the African Women's Protocol with a view to identifying trajectories for its sustained relevance and viability. I address these concerns against the backdrop of the instrument’s provisions. (shrink)
In this article I put forward three lines of argument. Firstly, the current debate on trafficking in human beings focuses narrowly on exploitation in the sex industry. This has produced a stand-off between moralists and liberals which is detrimental to developing strategies to combat trafficking. Moreover, this narrow focus leads to missing out the large numbers of women who are trafficked into other industries. It also masks some of the root causes of trafficking. In this article I therefore compare the (...) practice of trafficking for prostitution with forced labour in other industries in order to show that the sole focus on trafficking for prostitution is detrimental to the efforts to combat trafficking. This analysis is based on recent research and reports on its methodology as well as its outcomes. Secondly, I relate these findings in the article to the agenda for the women'srights debate. The women'srights literature has looked separately at the sex industry and labour migration. In the light of our research outcomes, it makes sense to have a much more intimate exchange between these areas, in order to discern the central role of root causes like globalization, patriarchy and other forms of discrimination. Thirdly, whereas a dichotomy between universalism and particularism has produced its own trenches in this field, I propose a balanced approach which addresses all forms of violence against women, including the central area of exploitation of migrant women in any sector or domestic context. (shrink)
This study examines recent French bioethics laws governing the uses of new reproductive and genetic technologies (NRGTs)—including in-vitro fertilization, surrogate motherhood, prenatal diagnostics, sex selection, and cloning—in light of feminist claims to women'srights, especially a woman's right to reproductive freedom. To this end, the study explores two interrelated questions: First, to what extent have French feminists supported NRGT development and treatment? Second, to what extent do French national bioethics debates, laws, and policies reflect feminist reactions to NRGTs? (...) The investigation of these questions is informed by recent theories of state feminism that show how national policy debates are gendered by particular sets of feminist ideas, and how policy choices resulting from these debates turn some of these ideas into law (McBride Stetson and Mazur 1995). Some of the most pressing feminist concerns in this area include women's loss of control over their bodies and fertility, women's exploitation and commercialization of their bodies, and women's health risks from NRGTs. The analysis of pronouncements by French feminist writers, researchers, and policy-makers reveals a multiplicity of feminist stances on NRGTs, showing keenly how feminists contest what constitutes effective feminist public policies to illuminate the fact that these policies are subject to shifting political contestations, rather than the reflection of a fixed set of feminist ideas. While contemporary French feminists grapple with the potential merits and dangers of NRGTS, the study shows that feminists generally seem to support NRGTs, as long as French law protects women's reproductive autonomy. Seen in this light, France's strong sense of the right to procreate through facilitation of access to NRGTs is not a contradiction of France's strong social and legal support for women's reproductive freedom, but rather enables French lawmakers to regulate NRGTs more effectively. (shrink)
This paper is about conflicts of rights, and the particularly difficult challenges that such conflicts present when they entail women’s equality and claims of cultural recognition. South Africa since 1994 has presented a series of challenging—but by no means unique—circumstances many of which entail conflicting claims of rights. The central aim of this paper is, to make sense of the idea that the institution of traditional leadership can be sustained—and indeed given new, more concrete powers—in a democracy; and (...) to explore the implications that this has for women’s equality and equal human rights. This is a particularly pertinent question in the South African context, and I think it is worth reiterating from the outset that there is a distinct impression that women’s equality is always “up for grabs” when other, perhaps more powerful interests, come into play, in a way that would be unacceptable for other aspects of identity, and therefore signifiers of equality. It would be inconceivable, for example, to countenance a claim for a hierarchical racial arrangement in a given community, no matter how deeply culturally entrenched that arrangement was, and regardless of how much support it (ostensibly) had from the community concerned. I think therefore that we are obliged to ask difficult questions about the new legislation on traditional leadership, and to put it under the microscope of political theory in assessing the claim that this is one way of recognizing people’s rights and freedoms in a new democracy. (shrink)
The publication in 1869 of Mill's Subjection ofWomen gave rise to philosophical and political responses beyond Western Europe on the relationship between Westernization and women'srights in developing, colonial, and post-colonial countries. Through the first comparative study of the Subjection of Women alongside the forewords to six of its earliest non-Western European editions, we explore how this book provoked local intellectuals in Russia, Chile, and India to engage its liberal utilitarian, imperial, Orientalist, and feminist ideas. By showing how (...) Mill's Western European biases and instrumental reasoning establish problematic rhetorical models for women'srights arguments, we are able to explore the ethical dimensions of women'srights issues in the context of cultural and political imperialism. Most importantly, this reception history illustrates how cross-cultural and culturally sensitive dialogue on women'srights can push us beyond Western bias and imperialism in advocating for the end of women's subjection around the globe. (shrink)
Despite being neighbouring countries, Bolivia and Argentina appear to be a world apart in terms of economics, international relations, and women’s rights. Historically, women’s rights have been fairly similar in both countries, but while one country seemingly made “progress,” the other country appeared to be stagnating. By exploring violence against women, and the current state of contraception and abortion laws it becomes apparent that “progress” does not necessarily bring about social change.
This article deals with the empirical example of how social subjects, in this case women, have appropriated the language of rights in order to demand social inclusion. Since there are many different points of view in feminist theory with regard to how to deal with the idea of women’s rights, this article is divided into three sections. In the first section, I focus on how some important normative contents about democracy and rights have already been accepted by (...) many different theorists who speak from critical perspectives. In the second section, I deal with how women’s struggles have gained consensus about the importance of defending the idea of rights for their own struggles to overcome their exclusion. In the third and last section, I turn back to the theoretical efforts by leading feminists, in order to show how these struggles from women all over the world can be thematized in our global scenario. (shrink)
Drawing on published materials from the Committee of Ministers, Assembly and expert working groups of the Council of Europe, this paper investigates the distinctive contribution made to the framing of women'srights over the last two decades by this regional organisation, which recent studies of the `Europeanisation' of public policies have largely neglected. Elements of congruence are identified between the major mobilising themes of second wave feminism and the Council's emphasis on protecting individual rights, and its sensitivity (...) to the incompleteness and shortcomings of `actually existing' democratic institutions and practices. The relative openness of its agenda-setting processes is also underlined. The Council's flag ship policies for women are shown to have centred since the mid-1980s on a `politics of presence' frame and the (contested) concept of `parity democracy', and the tensions between these and the more recent turn to gender mainstreaming are explored. But the paper also points to the Council's role in diffusing into the E.U. governance arena women's claims to equal participation and presence in the policy process, and notes recent French and U.K. legislation as testifying to the continuing salience of these claims at the national level. (shrink)
The recent global movement for women's human rights has achieved considerable re-thinking of human rights as previously understood. Since many of women'srights violations occur in the private sphere of family life, and are justified by appeals to cultural or religious norms, both families and cultures (including their religious aspects) have come under critical scrutiny.
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has recently handed down its judgement in the case of three women contesting the abortion law in the Republic of Ireland, which has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. Although the Court ruled that Ireland had to clarify the current law following the success of one of the three claims, the failure of the other two claims allows Ireland to continue to enforce its law, which (...) has an adverse effect on women's health. This paper, therefore, proposes an amendment to abortion legislation in the Republic of Ireland that would be compatible with safeguarding women's health, highlighting several circumstances in which the continuation of a pregnancy may have a detrimental impact on a woman's physical and/or mental health. (shrink)
Reclamation work denotes the process of uncovering the lost contributions of women to the philosophy of education, analyzing their works, making them accessible to a larger audience, and (re)introducing them to the historical record and canon. Since the 1970s, scholars have been engaged in the reclamation work, thus making available to students, professors, and researchers a rich and varied perspective for tracing the evolution of educational thought. This article shares the responses of undergraduate and graduate students to discussing the (...) reclamation work and canonical formation in their Philosophy of Education course. Two of the benefits most commonly cited by students involve learning a fuller, more accurate picture of history and ameliorating contemporary gender inequity. We assert that the traditional canon and syllabi for Philosophy of Education and Social Foundation courses could be enriched through the inclusion of works that trace the tradition of women's intellectual thought. (shrink)
Freedom of religious expression is to many a fundamental element of their identity. Yet the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights on the Islamic headscarf issue does not refer to autonomy and identity rights of the individual women claimants. The case law focuses on Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides a legal human right to freedom of religious expression. The way that provision is interpreted is critically contrasted here with the (...) right to personal autonomy and identity now developed by that court in interpreting Article 8 which contains a right to respect one’s private life. (shrink)
This essay examines why the recent recognition of human rights violations against women, as exemplified by Amnesty International's 1995 report on women, remains bound to the limitations of traditional approaches to human rights. The essay argues that despite Amnesty International's commitment to incorporating violations against women into its activities, it nevertheless upholds questionable assumptions about the gendered subject, gender relations within the family, and the relationship between the family and the state.
Recent research on women philosophers has led to more discussion of the merits of many previously forgotten women in the past several years. Yet due to the fact that a thinker’s significance and influence are historical phenomena, women remain relatively absent in âmainstreamâ discussions of philosophy. This paper focuses on several successful academic women in American philosophy and takes notice of how they succeeded in their own era. Special attention is given to three important academic women philosophers: Mary (...) Whiton Calkins, Ellen Bliss Talbot, and Marietta Kies. (shrink)
(2012). Is R.S. Peters' way of mentioning women in his texts detrimental to philosophy of education? Some considerations and questions. Ethics and Education: Vol. 7, Creating spaces, pp. 291-302. doi: 10.1080/17449642.2013.767002.
This paper discusses the significance of gender-based conflicts for thefailure of Gambian irrigated rice projects. In particular, it illustrateshow resource control of a gendered crop, rice, shifts from females to maleswith the development of pump-irrigated rice projects. Irrigation imposes aradically different labor regime on household producers, demanding thatthey intensify labor for year-round cultivation. Yet, the Gambian farmingsystem evolved for a five month agricultural calendar, in which women wereaccorded specific land and labor rights. The need to restructure familylabor, specifically skilled (...) female labor, to meet the cultivation demandsof pump irrigation is crucial for understanding the pattern of gender-basedconflicts in Gambian rice schemes. The case study illustrates thatirrigation involves more than technology transfer. Appropriate irrigationdemands sensitivity to the social structure of household production systems. The paper concludes by emphasizing the centrality of gender issuesfor improving food security in sub-Saharan Africa. (shrink)
Any defense of universal norms involves drawing distinctions among the many things people actually desire. If it is to have any content at all, it will say that some objects of desire are more central than others for political purposes, more indispensable to a human being's quality of life. Any wise such approach will go even further, holding that some existing preferences are actually bad bases for social policy. The list of Central Human Capabilities that forms the core of my (...) political project contains many functions that many people over the ages have preferred not to grant to women, either not at all, or not on a basis of equality. To insist on their centrality is thus to go against preferences that have considerable depth and breadth in traditions of male power. Moreover, the list contains many items that women over the ages have not wanted for themselves, and some that even today many women do not pursue – so in putting the list at the center of a normative political project aimed at providing the philosophical underpinning for basic political principles, we are going against not just other people's preferences about women, but, more controversially, against many preferences (or so it seems) of women about themselves and their lives. To some extent, my approach, like Sen's, avoids these problems of paternalism by insisting that the political goal is capability, not actual functioning, and by dwelling on the central importance of choice as a good. But the notion of choice and practical reason used in the list is a normative notion, emphasizing the critical activity of reason in a way that does not reflect the actual use of reason in many lives. (shrink)
Edith Stein, Husserl's brilliant student and assistant, devoted ten years of her life to teaching in a girls' secondary school, during which time she gave a series of lectures on educational reform and the appropriate education to be provided to girls. She grounds her answer to these questions in a philosophical account of the nature of woman. She argues that men and women share some universally human characteristics, but that they have separate and distinct natures. Her awareness of the rich (...) variety of different personality types and specific differences among individuals allows her to hold an essentialist view of the nature of woman without either stereotyping individual women or assuming that woman's nature is in any way inferior to man's. (shrink)
As the HIV epidemic continues to grow worldwide, women are increasingly and disproportionally affected. With the introduction of anti-retroviral medications that have been found to effectively prevent perinatal transmission of HIV, the approach to HIV testing in pregnant women has grown increasingly more controversial. In recent years, the model of voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) has come into question with opt-out testing now advocated for by the Centers for Disease Control and occurring widely in pregnancy. The benefits of opt-out testing (...) are numerous and may justify its use in replacing the VCT that many have come to see as insufficient. An ethical analysis of opt-out testing suggests it may be at odds with true informed consent and involve a degree of coercion that would not be allowed outside the prenatal setting. If opt-out testing is going to remain the standard of care then the ethical issues it raises must be made transparent. Strategies need to be designed for ensuring that HIV counseling and testing in pregnancy is done in accordance with ethical and reproductive rights principles. (shrink)
Feminist philosophy is now an established subdiscipline, but it began as an effort to transform the profession. Academics and activists worked together to make the new courses, and feminist theory was tested in the streets. As time passed, the "second wave" receded, but core elements of feminist theory were preserved in the academy. How can feminist philosophers today continue the early efforts of changing profession and the society, hand in hand with women outside the academy.
An illustrative comparison of human rights in 1948 and the contemporary period, attempting to gauge the impact of globalization on changes in the content of human rights (e.g., collective rights, women'srights, right to a healthy environment), major abusers and guarantors of human rights (e.g., state actors, transnational corporations, social movements), and alternative justifications of human rights (e.g., pragmatic agreement, moral intuitionism, overlapping consensus, cross-cultural dialogue).