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Extreme Speech and Democracy$
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Ivan Hare and James Weinstein

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199548781

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199548781.001.0001

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Religious Speech that Undermines Gender Equality

Religious Speech that Undermines Gender Equality

(p.357) 18 Religious Speech that Undermines Gender Equality
Extreme Speech and Democracy

Carolyn Evans

Oxford University Press

The struggle for gender equality has often been in direct conflict with religious teachings and other forms of speech enunciated by religious leadership. This chapter addresses the issue of religious speech that offends the value of gender equality and the question of how a liberal state should respond to such speech. It develops an argument that attempts to take seriously the legitimate claims of both religious speakers and women who are committed to gender equality, while also acknowledging that these two groups are not mutually exclusive. The chapter commences with some examples of religious hate speech that is harmful to notions of gender equality. It then outlines two models of speech (one liberal and one religious) and explains why neither gives adequate support to religious women who live in communities where religious speech that undermines gender equality is commonplace. Drawing on both religious freedom principles and feminist theory, the chapter argues that the liberal state should respond to religious speech that promotes gender inequality by the adoption of certain policies that empower women inside religious communities, enabling transgressive speech and refusing to give legitimacy to women-hating speech (even if not directly banning it).

Keywords:   gender equality, religious freedom, hate speech, feminist theory, religious speech

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