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Feminist Perspectives on Human Rights

Laura Parisi


Comment on this article   Feminist critiques of human rights seek to dismantle several hierarchies present in the human rights regime. By critiquing the basic assumptions of human rights as they were formulated in 1945–8, feminists have revealed that these definitions are inadequate, that men and women have different relationships with the state, and that rights are not fixed and immutable. Rather, they are historically, socially, culturally, and economically contingent. This essay explores feminist contributions to the human rights discourse in several ways. The first half of the essay chronicles and analyzes the evolution of the “women's rights are human rights” discourse as well as the development of the notion of the indivisibility of rights. The second half of the essay looks the feminist debates with regards to women's human rights in three issue areas or contexts: globalization, democratization, and culture. The essay concludes with a discussion of the current challenges with regards to data collection in measuring the achievement of women's human rights. Although there are multiple feminisms, the terms feminist and feminism are used in a broad sense in this essay to connote a shared goal of seeking to re-articulate human rights in an effort to achieve gender equality, even though theoretical entry points into the discourse and resulting strategies may vary widely among ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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