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Gender Parity and Multicultural FeminismTowards a New Synthesis$
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Ruth Rubio-Marín and Will Kymlicka

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198829621

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829621.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 30 November 2020

Democratizing Against the Grain

Democratizing Against the Grain

(p.46) 2 Democratizing Against the Grain
Gender Parity and Multicultural Feminism

Anne Phillips

Oxford University Press

Equality in representation and decision-making is crucial to gender equality; it can also help address concerns about cultural bias in the framing of supposedly universal rights. Yet achieving this equality is proving an uphill struggle in self-proclaimed democracies supposedly committed to egalitarian principles. In systems of authority that define themselves against what they perceive as the overly conflictual practices of democracy, or that explicitly endorse a hierarchy, there is not even that language of political equality and democratic legitimacy in which to make the case. This chapter demonstrates the dependence on this language in most of the arguments deployed to promote greater representation of women and minority groups, and warns against excess confidence in contexts where the self-image takes a different form. One implication is that there is sometimes a trade-off between pressing for women’s participation in every decision-making arena and arguing for non-negotiable constitutional guarantees of gender equality. The chapter draws on material from South Africa.

Keywords:   gender, culture, descriptive representation, legal pluralism, South Africa

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