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Cultural Relativism and Improving the Lives of Women - Essay Example

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This essay discusses that cultural relativism dictates that the contravention of women’s rights is justified in the advancement of tradition, social cohesiveness, religion, moral codes or some other cultural value. There is an underlying reluctance to part with social and cultural traditions…
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Cultural Relativism and Improving the Lives of Women
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Download file to see previous pages However, as demonstrated by the overwhelming number of reservations to CEDAW there is an underlying reluctance to part with social and cultural traditions.4 This study assesses the problem of cultural relativism as a barrier to improving the lives of women by reference to the weakness of the implementation and enforcement mechanisms of CEDAW.
Cultural relativism takes the position that there is no universally accepted standard for judging all cultures. This is especially unfair to feminists who attempt to draw attention to all forms of gender discrimination and oppression among diverse cultures.5 Cultural relativism is characterized as a “doctrine” that recognizes that there are some moral codes and social institutions are different and are “exempt from legitimate criticism by outsiders” and such a doctrine is “supported by notions of communal autonomy and self-determination”.6
There are two diametrically opposed views on cultural relativism. One view is referred to as radical cultural relativism and this view holds that culture provides the only validity for proffering a moral rule. The other view is radical universalism which takes the position that culture is not relevant for validating moral rules because they are “universally valid”.7
…people are categorized and identified by social identity, especially as it is expressed in religious, ethnic, or tribal terms. These group-based identities often help determine our position in the social and political hierarchy of a society and also condition people’s attitudes and perceptions toward us as we go about our daily business.8
For a number of women, they derive their respective identities from their experiences within specific settings that are dominated by males. Even so, the way that they perceive themselves emanates from how women are treated and quite often they confront levels of discriminatory treatment within their social settings. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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