Gender Equality and the Protection of Motherhood in Global Constitutionalism

Journal of Law & Ethics of Human Rights, 12(1): 151-80 (2018).

30 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2018  

Julie C. Suk

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law; University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law Study Group

Date Written: June 15, 2018

Abstract

Most of the world’s constitutions contain clauses guaranteeing sex equality, and many also extend the special protection of the state to mothers. The constitutional protection of motherhood is undertheorized and neglected in global constitutional discourse, perhaps because jurisdictions like the United States view the special protection of women as contrary to gender equality. This Essay explores the feminist meanings and possibilities of constitutional mother- hood clauses, by focusing on Germany, where they originated in 1919. While motherhood clauses have had complex relationships with a range of feminist agendas, they solidified the notion that social reproduction was a subject for constitutional lawmaking. Addressing twenty-first century gender inequalities requires a more robust engagement of women’s disproportionate burdens in social reproduction. Having opened up a constitutional discourse around the challenges of social reproduction, motherhood clauses and gender equality guarantees can drive the search for new solutions.

Keywords: feminism, comparative constitutional law, gender equality, mother-hood, women, legal history

Suggested Citation

Suk, Julie C., Gender Equality and the Protection of Motherhood in Global Constitutionalism (June 15, 2018). Journal of Law & Ethics of Human Rights, 12(1): 151-80 (2018).. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3197425

Julie C. Suk (Contact Author)

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law ( email )

55 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10003
United States

University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law Study Group

Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

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