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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 Mal-Distribution Strategy

The Mal-Distribution Strategy

(p.92) 3 The Mal-Distribution Strategy
Liberalism, Neutrality, and the Gendered Division of Labor

Gina Schouten

Oxford University Press

This chapter critiques the prevailing strategy for defending gender-egalitarian political interventions as legitimate exercises of political power compliant with the neutrality constraint. According to this strategy, the gendered division of labor constitutes or causes unjust distributions of goods, and gender-egalitarian interventions can be legitimate means to remedy those unjust distributions. This strategy is appealing because of its apparent promise of justifying gender-egalitarian policies without making any judgments as to the relative value of gender-egalitarian and gender-inegalitarian lifestyles. I argue that, despite its appeal, this strategy is inadequate. First, the distributional strategy is not compliant with the neutrality constraint in the way that its proponents have claimed; second, independently of liberal legitimacy, the injustice of the gendered division of labor is not best diagnosed as distributional.

Keywords:   distributive justice, distributive injustice, gender egalitarianism, liberal legitimacy, legitimacy, neutrality constraint, redistribution, equal opportunities

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