Evolving Images of Gender and Equality: A Feminist Journey

23 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2009  

Martha Albertson Fineman

Emory University School of Law

Abstract

This chapter, which will be included in Transcending the Boundaries of Law, M.A. Fineman, Ed (Routledge 2010) brings a historical and analytic gaze on the concept of equality in the US legal system. Beginning with the establishment of Portia Law School for women and court decisions like Muller v. Oregon, I discuss the tension between seeking equality as sameness of treatment and seeking positive improvements in the lives of women. While women have officially attained legal equality with men, in terms of being able to vote, practice a profession, and own property among other things, the benefits of citizenship are still distributed in highly unequal ways. In part this is because as a nation Americans value autonomy over equality and thus sacrifice substantive equality in the name of greater independence, ignoring the realities of our shared states of episodic dependency and constant vulnerability.

Keywords: feminist, legal theory, vulnerability, Muller v. Oregon

Suggested Citation

Fineman, Martha Albertson, Evolving Images of Gender and Equality: A Feminist Journey. New England Law Review, Vol. 43; Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 09-73. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1516609

Martha Albertson Fineman (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-712-2421 (Phone)

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