Justice, Gender, and the Family

Justice, Gender, and the Family

Justice, Gender, and the Family

Justice, Gender, and the Family

Synopsis

This work is a feminist critique of modern political theory. The author sets out to show how the failure to apply theories of justice to the family not only undermines democratic values but has led to a major crisis over gender-related issues.

Excerpt

The injustice that results from the division of labor between the sexes affects virtually all women in our society, though not in all the same ways. A pervasive social problem, it is inflicting increasingly serious damage on children as well as women, and it is also destroying the family's potential to be the crucial first school where children develop a sense of fairness. This book is about that injustice and its detrimental repercussions.

A number of concurrent factors spurred me into writing the book, and writing it the way I did. While academic feminism is alive and well, and some of it is thoroughly and usefully engaged with issues important to most women, some feminist theory--especially in recent years--has fallen into the academic trap of becoming too arcane to be understood even by most educated people. At the same time, in the political climate of the United States in the 1980s, the impetus toward greater equality for women has not only become stalled but is, in some respects, being reversed. I, like many others who came to feminism in the 1960s and 1970s, have worried about what our primary focus should be and which directions we should now be taking. At the same time, my own life experiences have impressed on me the importance of taking up again the task I embarked on in Women in Western Political Thought, published ten years ago. My direct experience of the difficulties of being a fully participating parent while being a member of the workplace as currently structured has reinforced the conclusion I reached then: considerable reforms are essential if women are to be treated justly and to have anywhere near their fair share of influence on politics and society. And my continuing work as a political theorist has made me increasingly aware that major contemporary theorists of justice are not doing much better at confronting the issues of justice and gender than did the theorists of the past, whose ideas I critiqued in my first book. All these factors inspired me not only to write about justice, gender, and the family but to put . . .

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