Feminist Legal Theory
Reza Banakar and Max Travers eds. An Introduction to Law and Social Theory, Hart, 2002, 135-154.
27 Pages Posted: 30 May 2015
Date Written: February 1, 2002
Feminist engagement with law has taken a variety of forms over the years. Through litigation, campaigns for legal reform and legal education, feminists have engaged explicitly with law and the legal profession. In taking on the provision of specialist advice and services, women’s groups have played a role in making law more accessible to those in need. By subjecting legal concepts and methods to critical analysis, feminists have questioned the terms of legal debate. A commitment to challenging gender disadvantage unites the individuals and organisations who engage in some or all of these activities. But feminists do not agree on the explanations for gender disadvantage or on the priorities for countering it. As a result feminism is a very diverse body of thought and action. Some of these differences are political; some are contextual. But they all point to the futility of treating feminism as if it had one main objective. Therefore, the aim of this chapter is to clarify some of the key ideas which have arisen from feminism’s encounter with law.
Keywords: feminist legal theory, gender, sexuality and law, socio-legal studies, legal humanities
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