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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

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

Gina Schouten

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198813071.003.0005

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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