LAW AND GENDER JUSTICE: THE DISJUNCTURE BETWEEN FORMAL EQUALITY AND REAL EQUALITY
Keywords:disjuncture, structural inequalities, patriarchal interpretation by legal agents, unequal social structures
Radical and socialist feminists have for long been apprehensive about whether merely offering liberal models of citizenship, rights and equality would be sufficient. They warn that ‗formal‘ politics might leave structural inequalities unaddressed. Initial years of feminist theorizing in India was marked by the demand for specific legislations to protect the rights of women. However, over the years, feminist engagement with law became a frustrating experience and women themselves refused to engage with the law especially in cases of domestic abuse. In their experience, laws which could empower women often became a disempowering process inviting scorn and derision. Despite de jure equality, laws often confer discriminatory treatment to women as a result of their patriarchal interpretation by legal agents and the presence of unequal social structures which frustrate women‘s attempts to access legal help. Thus, laws and the ideology underpinning them and their actual workings seem disconnected. This can best be described as a disjuncture between formal and real equality. In this context, this paper with some concrete examples of women-friendly laws in India seeks to analyze and understand the implications of the above for feminist politics.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2018 Author(s)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.