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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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(p.1) Introduction
Liberalism, Neutrality, and the Gendered Division of Labor

Gina Schouten

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the tension between liberalism and feminism. I begin by explaining how the ideal of gender equal sharing of caregiving and paid labor remains elusive. I then introduce the concept of liberal legitimacy, the ideal of mutual respect that it aspires to realize, and the neutrality constraint that systematizes that aspiration. One goal of the Introduction is to help readers begin to feel the pull of the guiding question: How can controversial progressive exercises of political power that aim to further a controversial progressive ideal of gender justice be made consistent with the liberal ideal of mutual respect? A second goal is to set the stage for the answer I will try to defend. I provide a brief outline of the rest of the book, define key terms, and explain my use of Rawls’s theory of political liberalism.

Keywords:   liberalism, legitimacy, liberal legitimacy, feminism, gender, caregiving, mutual respect, neutrality, John Rawls, political liberalism

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