Gender Construction and the Limits of Liberal Equality
38 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2007
The article suggests a possible answer to the puzzling question how it is that despite the explicit promise of equality for women present in each and every western liberal democracy, the reality is that sex discrimination persists and is often even legitimated and protected, especially when it is based on religious and cultural motivations. As a basis for its argument the article employs the psychological theories of Carol Gilligan and Nancy Chodorow that describe the gendered construction of the self in western liberal societies, as well as the historical unfolding of the myths of Eve and Lilith, and the patriarchal origins and structure of liberal theory. The article argues that the failure of liberalism to deliver on its promise of equality for women is due both to the gendered structure of liberal theory and society and to the gendered construction of the self in western liberal societies, which is both shaped by and shapes the structures of these societies and the theories supporting them.
Keywords: Gender Construction, Women's Equality, Liberalism, Eve & Lilith, Patriarchy, Carol Gilligan
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