Six key scholars present a feminist critique of the theory of human rights. The title of this volume, Womens’ Voices, Womens’ Rights, might be taken innocently to indicate its contents: a set of lectures given by women on the rights of women, on the failure to achieve those rights, and on the reasons and remedies for those failures. However, it also implies that womens’ rights are not simply the extension to all members of the community of the agreed-upon rights of men. Is to speak in a woman’s voice to speak in a different voice? Each lecture explores the values of Western societies, and the sources of the oppression of women within them, while many also provide a political contribution to the argument over the international context in which womens’ status seems to be under constant threat. The lectures rest on a shared commitment to the dignity, humanity, and unique individuality of each human persona tenet that underpins the human rights movement, provides the moral impetus for feminism and, indeed, is the motivating force behind Amnesty International’s campaigning on behalf of political prisoners world-wide. Ultimately, the contributors show us that to speak from the perspective of women, to adopt a woman’s voice, is to enrich our understanding of the rights of all.
Table of Contents
Introduction (Alison Jeffries); The Feminist Critique of Liberalism (Martha Nussbaum); Womens Rights: Whose Obligations? (Onora ONeill); Are Women Human? (Marilyn French); Women Are Like Cold Mutton: Power, Humiliation, and a New Definition of Human Rights (Naomi Wolf); Each Man in His Cave (Michle le Doeuff); Womens Rights in Todays Political Climate (Shere Hite with comments by Alison Jeffries and Sarah Ansari)
Alison Jeffries, Chris Miller