Women's Voices, Women's Rights: Oxford Amnesty Lectures 1996

Women's Voices, Women's Rights: Oxford Amnesty Lectures 1996

Women's Voices, Women's Rights: Oxford Amnesty Lectures 1996

Women's Voices, Women's Rights: Oxford Amnesty Lectures 1996

Synopsis

Womens Voices, Womens Rights explores a range of themes including liberal political theory, religion and economic theory, equal enjoyment of rights, matrimony, women and fundamentalist religion.

Excerpt

The title of this volume, Women's Voices, Women's Rights, might be taken innocently to indicate its contents: a set of lectures given by women on the rights of women, on the failure to achieve those rights, and on the reasons and remedies for those failures. However, it might also imply that women's rights are not simply the extension of the agreed rights of men to all members of the community but that, as Michèle le Doeuff suggests in her lecture, to experience is to know. In other words, the "lived in" experience of being female results in a distinctive account of the nature of rights and the applicability of the language of rights to the status of women as equally valuable social, political, and economic agents. Women, therefore, might be expected to give a distinctive critique of the theory of rights that depends on their difference from men.

That seemingly simple couplet thus disguises a wealth of methodological and theoretical debate that goes to the heart of feminist analysis, and it takes us with feminists and others to the site of some of the richest critique of the liberal political theory that has driven the human rights movement. In line with the two possible readings of the volume's title, some of the criticism contained in the lectures is internal, located in the incoherence that focusing on the experience of women lays bare. Other criticisms are more far-reaching, suggesting that if the language of rights is to have significance for women, it must move beyond the liberal theoretical framework that engendered it. Always, however, the criticisms rest on a shared commitment to the dignity, humanity, and unique individuality of each human person -- a tenet that underpins the human rights movement, provides the moral impetus for feminism, and, indeed, is the motive force behind Amnesty International's campaigning on behalf of political prisoners worldwide.

Of the debates that we have already opened, the first concerns the alternative methodological stances that women have applied to the analysis of their status, that is, to the competing approaches to be found within . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.