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Unpublished Paper
Exploring A New Paradigm for Women's Rights
ExpressO (2010)
  • Rebecca E. Zietlow

Nearly forty years after the Supreme Court recognized gender as a suspect class under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and almost half a century after the 1964 Civil Rights Act guaranteed women the right to work free of sex discrimination, women still find found gender equality to be an elusive goal. The persistent gender gap in wages and the continued prevalence of domestic violence are two indications that the predominant model of equality law, based in the Equal Protection Clause, is simply not adequate to address women’s inequality in our society.

The book GENDER EQUALITY: DIMENSIONS OF WOMEN’S EQUAL CITIZENSHIP, presents an alternative paradigm for women’s rights, that of equal citizenship. The book asks whether women are entitled to essential positive rights that are necessary to enable the belonging of women as full citizens in our society. The distinguished authors assembled in this book explore women’s citizenship from a variety of perspectives, from social citizenship rights to considering sexual reproductive freedom as a right of citizenship.

The essays in this book prompt the reader to question whether liberal autonomy is a workable model for women’s rights. Because many of the issues confronted by women today are caused by deeply rooted societal inequality, obtaining autonomy is simply inadequate for most women in our society. Considering citizenship as a model of rights highlights the role that the community plays in creating the conditions necessary for women’s participation in the political and economic realm. The most valuable contribution of this book is that it prompts us to theorize what these rights should be, using the paradigm of expanding citizenship rights.

  • gender,
  • equality law,
  • civil rights,
  • feminist theory
Publication Date
March 31, 2010
Citation Information
Rebecca E. Zietlow. "Exploring A New Paradigm for Women's Rights" ExpressO (2010)
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