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The Historical Importance of Law to Feminism and the Women Movement - Assignment Example

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The author concludes that law has been so historically important to feminism because it can be so difficult to be about positive change. Law appears, to many citizens, to be something natural – stemming from self-evident values – and so the male bias here has been particularly entrenched. …
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The Historical Importance of Law to Feminism and the Women Movement
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Download file to see previous pages Women began to criticize a system which had relegated them to the household and to the roles of wife and mother, and to demonstrate in support of laws and other measures which would allow them to extend their role, and to prove that they were at least the equals of men. At the same time, they criticized the ideologies which had outlined this restricted role for them, and female academics, in law but also in sociology, history, psychology, and other areas, attempted a fundamental revision of existing frameworks which were now held to be inadequate. However, the relationship between feminism and the law is more complex than a consistent attack of the one by the other. Some of the most important breakthroughs for the women’s movement have involved the establishment of legal precedents to ensure that progress is enforceable by law. Nevertheless, it is also true to say that the feminist critique of law has become more comprehensive over time, and what might be called ‘postmodern’1 feminism has refuted the legitimacy of the basic values which law claims to represent and defend.
There is a general consensus, outlined by Naffine2 and Cain3, among others, that the historical links between law, feminism and the women’s movement can be divided into three main phases. In general terms, the first phase was characterized by feminist concerns about the male domination of law and the legal professions and the ways in which men have operated a legal system designed to uphold the values of their own society and to perpetuate their power. The second phase broadened the attack, with feminists exploring the masculinity and masculine values which informs everything about law, and means that it is unable to take account of female values and experience, and does not operate for their benefit.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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