Equality and the Uniqueness of the Individual. Towards Just Gender Relations

Herta Nagl-Docekal


The paper addresses the asymmetrical gender relations which have shaped all spheres of life,  arguing that in both the public and private domains just relations cannot be accomplished unless the uniqueness of the individual is duly acknowledged. Examining the background for the persistent discrimination of women, Part I discusses the  naturalistic fallacy implied in traditional gender norms, the fatal correlation of ‚women‘ and ‚nature‘, and the ‚feminization of poverty‘. Part II focuses on the ways in which philosophical conceptions such as ‚autonomy‘ and ‚equality‘ have been, and still are, important tools for elaborating legislative measures – on the national as well as the international level – that aim at abolishing gender discrimination. Participatory equality is one case in point. Emphasizing that legislation represents but one element of what is needed in order to achieve fully reciprocal gender relations, Part III argues that the understanding of intimate human relations needs to be re-considered. Hegel’s portrayal of ‚love‘ that is based upon mutual recognition of individuals in their unique personality, and his conception of ‚we‘ prove relevant here.


feminist theory, gender norms, embodiment, participatory justice, feminization of povery, love, individual distinction, Hegel


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Copyright (c) 2014 Pro-Fil

Published by the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.
ISSN: 1212-9097