Introduction to the symposium on gender equality and cultural justice



Baumeister A (2008) Introduction to the symposium on gender equality and cultural justice. Res Publica, 14 (3), pp. 145-146.

First paragraph: The contributions in this symposium stem from a workshop on 'Gender Equality and Cultural Justice', which formed part of the workshop series 'Toleration and the Public Sphere' organised under the auspices of the Association for Legal and Social Philosophy and funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council under their Diasporas, Migration and Identities programme. The workshop brought together academics, practitioners and policy-makers to evaluate recent debates surrounding the potential tensions between a commitment to the norm of gender equality and demands for cultural justice, with a view to exploring the possibility of moving beyond a simple gender/culture dichotomy. While established cultural practices frequently discriminate against women, for many women their cultural heritage is not just a symbol of oppression, but also a source of value and meaning. Even where women are critical of established cultural practices, they often have simultaneously a wide variety of reasons for continuing with the practice ranging from the protection of their social identity and sense of self to practical and strategic advantages, such as protecting the standing of their community and the privileges this entails. Indeed to fail to take seriously demands by minority women for the accommodation of practices and norms that do not sit well with mainstream conceptions of gender equality may itself undermine these women's rights, most notably the key feminist goal of a right to self-determination.

Res Publica: Volume 14, Issue 3

Publication date30/09/2008

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Dr Andrea Baumeister
Dr Andrea Baumeister

Senior Lecturer, Politics