How to Solve the Gender Inclusion Problem

Abstract

The inclusion problem for theories of gender arises when those theories inappropriately fail to include certain individuals in the gender categories to which they ought to belong. The inclusion problem affects both of the most influential traditions in feminist theorizing about gender: social-position accounts and identity accounts. I argue that the inclusion problem can be solved by adopting a structured theory of gender which incorporates aspects of both social-position accounts and identity accounts. According to the theory I favor, an individual’s gender is determined by their gender identity if they have one; otherwise, it is determined by their social position. My structured approach to gender offers a more direct solution to the gender inclusion problem than alternatives recently advocated by Barnes (2020), Jenkins (2023), and others. It also points the way to a simple solution to inclusion problems that arise at the level of gendered language.

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Cameron Domenico Kirk-Giannini
Rutgers University - Newark

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