A World Fit for Children is a World Fit for Everyone: Ecogenerism, Feminism, and Vulnerability

50 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2010

See all articles by Barbara Bennett Woodhouse

Barbara Bennett Woodhouse

Emory University School of Law; University of Florida Levin College of Law

Date Written: March 4, 2010


This article explores the relationship between feminist theory and ecogenerist theory. Ecogenerism is a child-centered, ecologically grounded jurisprudence inspired by feminist methods and the ecological approach of developmental psychology. The author argues that feminism and child-centered jurisprudence need not be seen as antagonistic. Their methods and goals are not in tension but rather complementary. Women and children are both embedded in a larger political and social environment that can be shaped to meet their shared needs or to ignore them. To illustrate this, the author compares the ecology of early childhood in the United States and in Italy. She shows how family supportive structures and attention to both children’s and women’s rights benefits both women and children. She draws upon Martha Fineman’s work on “The Vulnerable Subject,” in which Fineman argues that vulnerability not autonomy is the most universal aspect of human experience. Viewed through the lens of our shared vulnerability, the task of law is to mitigate harms and foster interdependency. Both feminism and ecogenerism demand a focus on those “positive human rights” necessary to create social and political environments that are friendly to both women and children.

Suggested Citation

Woodhouse, Barbara Bennett, A World Fit for Children is a World Fit for Everyone: Ecogenerism, Feminism, and Vulnerability (March 4, 2010). Houston Law Review, Vol. 46, No. 3, 2009, Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 10-95, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1564937

Barbara Bennett Woodhouse (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-4934 (Phone)
404-727-6820 (Fax)

University of Florida Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States

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