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Liberalism, Neutrality, and the Gendered Division of Labor$
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Gina Schouten

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198813071

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198813071.001.0001

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The Challenge of Liberal Legitimacy

The Challenge of Liberal Legitimacy

Chapter:
(p.63) 2 The Challenge of Liberal Legitimacy
Source:
Liberalism, Neutrality, and the Gendered Division of Labor
Author(s):

Gina Schouten

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198813071.003.0002

There are a few “easy fixes” or “work-arounds” that may appear to dispel the tension between the gender-egalitarian political agenda and a commitment to politically liberal legitimacy. First, we might argue that those who oppose gender egalitarianism are unreasonable, and thus fall outside the justificatory community that liberalism is committed to respecting. Second, we might argue that gender-norm-compliant choices are non-voluntary, and so need not be respected within liberal political institutions. Finally, we might argue that the gendered division of labor violates basic liberties, and so can be politically remediated on those grounds, even if the means of remediation are controversial. This chapter addresses each possibility and shows why they are not promising fixes. The main goals are to show that the problem is genuine and cannot be easily dispelled by some tempting quick fixes, and in so doing to clear the way for consideration of more promising solutions.

Keywords:   reasonableness, voluntariness, basic liberties, liberal legitimacy, legitimacy, gender egalitarianism

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