Parity and Procedural Justice

Essays in Philosophy 7 (1):4 (2006)
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In this paper I briefly set out Susan Moller Okin’s liberal feminist position and then rehearse a number of criticisms of Okin which together suggest that dismantling the gender system and adopting the principle of androgyny would not be compatible with liberalism. This incompatibility appears to vindicate an extreme feminist critique of liberalism. I argue that nevertheless a liberal feminism is possible. The liberal feminist ought to adopt the principle of parity, that is, guaranteed equal representation of both sexes in parliament, rather than the requirement of androgyny. Parity follows from a conception of procedural justice, for it provides a mechanism which guarantees that the interests of both sexes are fairly represented in the legislature. Parity may also go some way to alleviating the tensions which exist between feminism and multiculturalism.
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