Feminist legal theory, also known as feminist jurisprudence, is based on the belief that the law has been fundamental in women's historical subordination. The project of feminist legal theory is twofold. First, feminist jurisprudence seeks to explain ways in which the law played a role in women's former subordinate status. Second, feminist legal theory is dedicated to changing women's status through a rework of the law and its approach to gender. It is a critique of American law that was created to change the way women were treated and how judges had applied the law in order to keep women in the same position they had been in for years. The women who worked in this area viewed law as holding women in a lower place in society than men based on gender assumptions, and judges have therefore relied on these assumptions to make their decisions. This movement was based in the 1960s and 1970s. It was crucial to allowing women to become their own people through becoming financially independent and having the ability to find real jobs that were not available to them before due to discrimination in employment. 
The term feminist jurisprudence was coined in the late 1970s by Ann Scales during the planning process for Celebration 25, a party and conference held in 1978 to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first women graduating from Harvard Law School. The term was first published in 1978 in the first issue of the Harvard Women's Law Journal. This feminist critique of American law was developed as a reaction to the fact that the legal system was too gender-prioritized and patriarchal.
In 1984 Martha Fineman founded the Feminism and Legal Theory Project at the University of Wisconsin Law School to explore the relationships between feminist theory, practice, and law, which has been instrumental in the development of feminist legal theory.
The foundation of the feminist legal theory was laid by women who challenged the laws that were in place to keep women in their respective places in the home. A driving force of this new movement was the need for women to start becoming financially independent.
Women who were working in law started to focus on this idea more, and started to work on achieving reproductive freedom, stopping gender discrimination in the law and workforce, and stop the allowance of sexual abuse.
Each model provides a distinct view of the legal mechanisms that contribute to women's subordination, and each offers a distinct method for changing legal approaches to gender.
The liberal equality model operates from within the liberal legal paradigm and generally embraces liberal values and the rights-based approach to law, though it takes issue with how the liberal framework has operated in practice. This model focuses on ensuring that women are afforded genuine equality including race, sexual orientation, and gender—as opposed to the nominal equality often given them in the traditional liberal framework—and seeks to achieve this either by way of a more thorough application of liberal values to women’s experiences or the revision of liberal categories to take gender into account. For example, when black women are only provided legal relief when the case is against her race or gender.
The difference model emphasizes the significance of gender discrimination and holds that this discrimination should not be obscured by the law, but should be taken into account by it. Only by taking into account differences can the law provide adequate remedies for women’s situation, which is in fact distinct from men’s. The difference model is in direct opposition to the sameness account which holds that women’s sameness with men should be emphasized. To the sameness feminist, employing women’s differences in an attempt to garner greater rights is ineffectual to that end and places emphasis on the very characteristics of women that have historically precluded them from achieving equality with men.
The sameness feminist also argued that there was already special treatment for these so-called "differences" in the law, which is what was oppressing women. The idea of there being differences between the sexes lead to the classical thought that feminist legal theory was trying to get rid of. It forced women to prove that they were like men by comparing their experiences to those of men, all in an attempt to gain legal protection. This all only led to women trying to meet norms that were made by men without questioning why these were accepted as the norm for equality.
The dominance model rejects liberal feminism and views the legal system as a mechanism for the perpetuation of male dominance. It thus joins certain strands of critical legal theory, which also consider the potential for law to act as an instrument for domination. This theory focuses on how male dominate females, but it also talks about other groups being oppressed such as how legal aid is not often offered to the transgender population. Also, any white female would have good legal representation compared to minority groups.
In the account of dominance proposed by Catharine MacKinnon, sexuality is central to the dominance. MacKinnon argues that women's sexuality is socially constructed by male dominance and the sexual domination of women by men is a primary source of the general social subordination of women.
Feminists from the postmodern camp have deconstructed the notions of objectivity and neutrality, claiming that every perspective is socially situated. Anti-essentialist and intersectionalist critiques of feminists have objected to the idea that there can be any universal women’s voice and have criticized feminists, as did Black feminism, for implicitly basing their work on the experiences of white, middle class, heterosexual women. The anti-essentialist and intersectionalist project has been to explore the ways in which race, class, sexual orientation, and other axes of subordination interplay with gender and to uncover the implicit, detrimental assumptions that have often been employed in feminist theory. This model is about dismantling white feminism and First wave feminist and about building on actual equality for all regardless or gender, race, sexual orientation, class, or disability.
Feminist legal theory produced a new idea of using hedonic jurisprudence in order to achieve the equality they were looking for. Hedonic jurisprudence was developed to show that women's experiences of assault and rape were a product of there being laws that treated them as less human and gave them less rights than men. This made it so given examples were not just describing possible scenarios, they were actually showing that these events happen. Feminist legal theorists then came to rely on actually showing experienced based stories to show how the law ignores the interests and disrespects the existence of women.
The Feminism and Legal Theory Project is a project aimed at addressing issues relating to women and law. It was founded in 1984 by legal theorist Martha Fineman, a pioneer in feminist legal theory. The project nurtures scholars from around the world, bringing them together to study and debate a wide range of topics related to feminist theory and law. The project began at the University of Wisconsin Law School to provide a forum for interdisciplinary feminist scholarship addressing important issues in law and society. In 1990, the project moved to Columbia Law School, and in 1999, to Cornell Law School. Since 2004, the project has been part of Emory University School of Law, where Fineman holds a Robert W. Woodruff Professorship. The project has resulted in the publication of several books on feminist legal theory. Fineman has been its director since 1984.One of the hallmarks of the Feminism and Legal Theory Project is its quarterly, interdisciplinary workshops. Scholars from around the world converge to participate in "uncomfortable conversations" and theorize solutions to systemic legal issues. 2013 marks the beginning of the 30th year of operation for the Feminism and Legal Theory Project, and a special retrospective series of workshops reflecting on the past 30 years of feminist legal theory. Workshops over the 2013-2014 academic year will treat sex and reproduction, the family, violence, and workplaces.Feminist interventions in the philosophy of law
Feminist interventions in the philosophy of law concern the examination and reformulation of traditional legal systems in order to better reflect the political, social, and economic concerns of women---which also includes various other minority and ethnic groups. Though it draws heavily from feminist legal theory, feminist interventions in the philosophy of law differs from the more common feminist jurisprudence as it also seeks to explain the justification that a government has in interfering with the lives of its citizenry. Accordingly, then, feminist interventions in legal philosophy specifically addresses the relationship and rationale between a judicial system’s exercise of power and its effects on female citizens. While particular views vary greatly, most feminist interventions in the philosophy of law operate under a belief that many contemporary legal systems are predicated on patriarchal notions of masculinity that result in a system of deeply-rooted bias and inequality.Feminist political theory
Feminist political theory is a diverse subfield of feminist theory working towards three main goals:
To understand and critique the role of gender in how political theory is conventionally construed.
To re-frame and re-articulate conventional political theory in light of feminist issues (especially gender equality).
To support political science presuming and pursuing gender equality.Feminist political theory encompasses a broad scope of approaches. It overlaps with related areas including feminist jurisprudence/feminist legal theory; feminist political philosophy; female-centered empirical research in political science; and feminist research methods (feminist method) for use in political science the social sciences. Indeed, one scholar notes that, insofar as almost all versions of feminism involve "demonstrating the ways in which politics, understood as power relations, is present in our everyday lives," one could reasonably "describe feminist theory as a whole as a kind of political philosophy." What frequently distinguishes feminist political theory from feminism broadly is the specific examination of the state and its role in the reproduction or redressing of gender inequality. In addition to being broad and multidisciplinary, the field is relatively new, inherently innovative, and still expanding; the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy explains that "feminist political philosophy serves as a field for developing new ideals, practices, and justifications for how political institutions and practices should be organized and reconstructed."Feminist theory
Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical, fictional, or philosophical discourse. It aims to understand the nature of gender inequality. It examines women's and men's social roles, experiences, interests, chores, and feminist politics in a variety of fields, such as anthropology and sociology, communication, media studies, psychoanalysis, home economics, literature, education, and philosophy.Feminist theory focuses on analyzing gender inequality. Themes explored in feminism include discrimination, objectification (especially sexual objectification), oppression, patriarchy, stereotyping, art history and contemporary art, and aesthetics.Frances Olsen
Frances Elisabeth Olsen (born February 4, 1945) is a professor of law at UCLA and a noted member of the school of Feminist Legal Theory. She teaches Feminist Legal Theory, Dissidence & Law, Family Law, and Torts. Her areas of research interest include legal theory, social change, and feminism.
She was born in Chicago, Illinois, received a B.A. from Goddard College in 1968, a J.D. from the University of Colorado in 1971 (where she was the Notes and Comments Editor of the law review), and an S.J.D. from Harvard University in 1984. While in law school, Olsen did legal aid work for migrant farm workers in Colorado. After law school, she was a law clerk for Alfred Arraj, the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. In 1973, she represented Native Americans at Wounded Knee. She also established a public interest law firm in Denver, Colorado that handled feminist issues. From 1981 to 1983, while an S.J.D. student, she founded a legal academic women's group, the Fem-Crits, which spread across the country.
She has written more than 100 scholarly articles, co-authored Cases and Materials on Family Law: Legal Concepts and Changing Human Relationships, and edited two collections on feminist theory. Her article The Family and the Market, 96 Harv. L. Rev. 1497 (1983), is one of the most cited works in legal scholarship. She has taught courses in feminist legal theory at Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Berlin, Frankfurt, the University of Tokyo, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and at other universities in the United States, Chile, France, Italy, Japan, and Israel. She was a Fellow at Oxford University in 1987 and is a former Overseas Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge University. She has lectured throughout the world.Index of philosophy of law articles
This is an index of articles in jurisprudence.
A Failure of Capitalism
American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy
António Castanheira Neves
Arthur Linton Corbin
Bartolomé de las Casas
Biblical law in Christianity
Carl Joachim Friedrich
Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu
Critical legal studies
Critical race theory
Daniel N. Robinson
Declaration of Delhi
Dignitas (Roman concept)
Divine command theory
Duncan Kennedy (legal philosopher)
Emerich de Vattel
Ernesto Garzón Valdés
Ethical arguments regarding torture
Expounding of the Law
Eye for an eye
Feminist legal theory
First possession theory of property
Freedom of contract
Friedrich von Hayek
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
German Historical School
Giorgio Del Vecchio
Global Justice or Global Revenge?
H. L. A. Hart
Indeterminacy debate in legal theory
International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy
International legal theory
John Austin (legal philosopher)
John Macdonell (jurist)
Joseph H. H. Weiler
Juan de Mariana
Labor theory of property
Law and economics
Law and Gospel
Law and literature
Law as integrity
Law in action
Law of Christ
Law, Legislation and Liberty
Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy
Legal origins theory
Legal process (jurisprudence)
Legalism (Chinese philosophy)
Legalism (Western philosophy)
Letter and spirit of the law
Libertarian theories of law
Lon L. Fuller
Manuel de Lardizábal y Uribe
Monism and dualism in international law
Monopoly on violence
Natural order (philosophy)
New legal realism
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Paul Johann Anselm Ritter von Feuerbach
Philippe de Mornay
Philosophy of copyright
Prediction theory of law
Principles of Islamic jurisprudence
Public policy doctrine (conflict of laws)
R. Kent Greenawalt
Robert P. George
Roberto Mangabeira Unger
Rule by decree
Rule of Faith
Rule of law
Scepticism in law
State of emergency
State of exception
The Case of the Speluncean Explorers
The Concept of Law
The Golden Rule
Translating "law" to other European languages
Unitary executive theory
Wesley Alba Sturges
Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld
Zechariah ChafeeInternational legal theories
International legal theory comprises a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches used to explain and analyse the content, formation and effectiveness of public international law and institutions and to suggest improvements. Some approaches center on the question of compliance: why states follow international norms in the absence of a coercive power that ensures compliance. Other approaches focus on the problem of the formation of international rules: why states voluntarily adopt international legal norms, that limit their freedom of action, in the absence of a world legislature. Other perspectives are policy oriented; they elaborate theoretical frameworks and instruments to criticize the existing rules and make suggestions on how to improve them. Some of these approaches are based on domestic legal theory, others are interdisciplinary, while others have been developed expressly to analyse international law.Jewel Amoah
Jewel Amoah is a Feminist and Human Rights scholar, best known for her work as a human rights advocate and activist in Canada and Africa, who is now a part of the Faculty of Law at St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies. Through her work as an attorney and academic, Dr. Amoah has focused on equality rights for women and children, intersectionality, and international human rights. For two decades, Dr. Amoah has facilitated organizational change with regard to harassment, discrimination, workplace equity and human rights. Research interests include Feminist Legal Theory, Critical Race Theory and Legal Pluralism. Developed by Dr. Amoah, GRACE is an analytical tool demonstrating how the intersection of gender, race, age and culture impact access to equality rights for girls subject to customary law in South Africa.Joel Bakan
Joel Conrad Bakan (born 1959) is an American-Canadian writer, jazz musician, filmmaker, and professor at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia.Born in Lansing, Michigan, and raised for most of his childhood in East Lansing, Michigan, where his parents, Paul and Rita Bakan, were both long-time professors in psychology at Michigan State University. In 1971, he moved with his parents to Vancouver, British Columbia. He was educated at Simon Fraser University (BA, 1981), University of Oxford (BA in law, 1983), Dalhousie University (LLB, 1984) and Harvard University (LLM, 1986).
He served as a law clerk to Chief Justice Brian Dickson in 1985. During his tenure as clerk, Chief Justice Dickson authored the judgment R. v. Oakes, among others. Bakan then pursued a master's degree at Harvard Law School. After graduation, he returned to Canada, where he has taught law at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University and the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law. He joined the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law in 1990 as an associate professor. Bakan teaches Constitutional Law, Contracts, socio-legal courses and the graduate seminar. He has won the Faculty of Law's Teaching Excellence Award twice and a UBC Killam Research Prize.Bakan has a son from his first wife, Marlee Gayle Kline, also a scholar and Professor of Law at the University of British Columbia. Professor Kline died of leukemia in 2001. Bakan helped establish The Marlee Kline Memorial Lectures in Social Justice to commemorate her contributions to Canadian law and feminist legal theory. He is now married to Canadian actress and singer Rebecca Jenkins. His sister, Laura Naomi Bakan is a provincial court judge in British Columbia, and his brother, Michael Bakan, is an ethnomusicologist.Martha Albertson Fineman
Martha Albertson Fineman (born 1943) is an American jurist, legal theorist and political philosopher. She is Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law. Fineman was previously the first holder of the Dorothea S. Clarke Professorship of Feminist Jurisprudence at Cornell Law School and held the Maurice T. Moore Professorship at Columbia Law School.
Fineman is one of the most influential figures in feminist legal theory and critical legal theory and directs the Feminism and Legal Theory Project, which she founded in 1984. Much of her early scholarship focuses on the legal regulation of family and intimacy, and she has been called "the preeminent feminist family theorist of our time." She has since broadened her scope to focus on the legal implications of universal dependency, vulnerability and justice. Her recent work formulates a theory of vulnerability, in order to argue for a more responsive state and a more egalitarian society. She is a prominent progressive liberal thinker; she has been an affiliated scholar of John Podesta's Center for American Progress and has been described as a "close friend of the Obama administration."Only Words (book)
Only Words is a 1993 book by Catharine MacKinnon. In this work of feminist legal theory, MacKinnon contends that the U.S. legal system has used a First Amendment basis to protect intimidation, subordination, terrorism, and discrimination as enacted through pornography, violating the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment.Peter A. Allard School of Law
The Peter A. Allard School of Law is the law school of the University of British Columbia. The Faculty offers the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree as well as the Master of Laws (LL.M.), Master of Laws in Common Law (LL.M.C.L.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. The Faculty features courses on business law, tax law, environmental and natural resource law, indigenous law, Pacific Rim issues, and feminist legal theory.
It was renamed from the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law in 2015 to honor a $30M gift from Peter Allard, an alumnus, which followed a 2011 gift from him of about $12M.Robin West
Robin West (born 1954) is the Frederick J. Haas Professor of Law and Philosophy and Associate Dean (Research and Academic Programs) at the Georgetown University Law Center. West's research is primarily concerned with feminist legal theory, constitutional law and theory, philosophy of law, and the law and literature movement.
West holds a B.A. and a J.D. (1979) from the University of Maryland and a masters in judicial studies from Stanford. West came to Georgetown after teaching at the University of Maryland Law School from 1986-1991, and at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law from 1982-1985.
West is best known for her work in the ethics of care and feminist legal theory. West has argued that the liberal view of people as autonomous individuals is only superficially true from a masculine perspective in her most famous work, "Jurisprudence and Gender." She has also published extensively on the concept of consent in sexual, legal, and institutional contexts.Rosemary Owens
Rosemary Joan Owens AO was the Dean of Law at the University of Adelaide Law School. She first started working at the University of Adelaide in 1987 as a tutor in the law school, becoming a Senior Lecturer in 1995, Associate Professor in 2005, and in 2008 she was appointed as a Professor of Law. She had previously performed the role of Associate Dean and replaced Paul Fairall upon his departure in 2008, remaining in the role until 2011.Rosemary Owens holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) with Honors (having been awarded both The Angus Parsons Prize and The Law Society of South Australia Centenary Prize), a Diploma of Education, and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons), majoring in history. All were awarded by the University of Adelaide. Her research interests include work-related law and feminist legal theory.In 2014 she was named an Officer of the Order of Australia.Ruth Halperin-Kaddari
Ruth Halperin-Kaddari (born 15 May 1966; Hebrew: רות הלפרין-קדרי) is an Israeli legal scholar and international women's rights advocate who is known for her work on family law, feminist legal theory, women's rights in international law, and women and religion. She is vice chair of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and has served on the committee since 2006. She is Professor of Law at the Bar-Ilan University and is the founding Director of the Ruth and Emanuel Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women. She is also involved in international academic collaborations on the theme of women, state, and religion, and participates in international litigations as an expert on Israeli family law. She was one of the first recipients of the U.S. Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award for her work on international women's rights in 2007. She was ranked as one of the world's hundred most influential people in gender equality policy in 2018.Sex segregation
Sex segregation (or sex separation) is the physical, legal, and cultural separation of people according to their biological sex. Sex segregation can refer simply to literal physical and spatial separation by sex without any aspects of discrimination. In other circumstances, sex segregation can be controversial. Depending on the circumstances, it can be a violation of capabilities and human rights and can create economic inefficiencies, while some supporters argue that it is central to certain religious laws and social and cultural histories and traditions. The term gender apartheid is used for to segregation of people by gender. The term "sex separation" is a more neutral term than "sex segregation", at least in the United States.
The term gender segregation is used in a similar way to sex segregation, even though sex and gender are not the same thing.Susan Boyd
Susan B. Boyd is a Canadian feminist legal scholar, the inaugural Chair in Feminist Legal Studies, and founder of the Centre for Feminist Legal Studies, and Professor Emerita at UBC. She conducts research in the fields of feminist legal theory, law and gender, law and sexuality, parenthood law, child custody law and law and social justice. In 2012, Professor Boyd was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, in recognition of her international reputation as a leading socio-legal scholar.Susan Moller Okin
Susan Moller Okin (July 19, 1946 – March 3, 2004), was a liberal feminist political philosopher and author.Women in law
Women in law describes the role played by women in the legal profession and related occupations, which includes lawyers (also called barristers, advocates, solicitors, attorneys or legal counselors), paralegals, prosecutors (also called District Attorneys or Crown Prosecutors), judges, legal scholars (including feminist legal theorists), law professors and law school deans.
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