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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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Citizenship and Gender Hierarchies in Political Liberalism

Citizenship and Gender Hierarchies in Political Liberalism

(p.142) 5 Citizenship and Gender Hierarchies in Political Liberalism
Liberalism, Neutrality, and the Gendered Division of Labor

Gina Schouten

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the work of liberal feminists Christie Hartley and Lori Watson. Hartley and Watson argue that political liberalism can approve gender-egalitarian interventions on the grounds that gender inequality threatens citizenship. I agree with Hartley and Watson that the liberal concept of citizenship is the key to justifying progressive gender-egalitarian political interventions. I argue, however, that their argument establishes only that a hierarchal gendered division of labor threatens citizenship. This is problematic because the gendered division of labor is not essentially hierarchal, and morally objectionable harms inhere in its non-hierarchal components. Moreover, the policy initiatives licensed by a hierarchal diagnosis of the gendered division of labor could exacerbate the harms that inhere in its non-hierarchal features. Hartley and Watson’s argument may offer a partial reconciliation of liberalism and feminism, but on its own it could further entrench the injustice of the gendered division of labor.

Keywords:   Liberal legitimacy, legitimacy, citizenship, political liberalism, Christie Hartley, Lori Watson, gendered division of labor, hierarchies, relational egalitarianism, feminism

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