Must Feminists Support Entrenchment of Sex Equality? Lessons from Quebec
CONSTITUTING EQUALITY: GENDER EQUALITY AND COMPARATIVE CONSTITIONAL LAW, Susan Williams, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2009
18 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2008 Last revised: 29 Apr 2015
Date Written: September 29, 2008
Must feminists support entrenchment of sex equality? Although an affirmative response might appear self-evident, recent events in the Canadian province of Quebec might give feminists pause. The issue was not whether the province should entrench its first sex equality provision; the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms prohibited sex discrimination from its inception in 1975. Tensions arose among Quebec feminists over the proposal to add a second sex equality provision to the Quebec Charter. They did not articulate their tensions in terms of competing visions of sex equality: discrimination versus equality. Instead, the dominant theme was conflicting constitutional rights: sex equality versus religious freedom. Accordingly, an analysis of Quebec's experience may be instructive for feminists who are interested in issues of constitutional design in other jurisdictions.
Keywords: sex equality, feminists, Quebec, Canada
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