Human rights for women: an argument for 'deconstructive equality'

Nash, Kate. 2002. Human rights for women: an argument for 'deconstructive equality'. Economy and Society, 31(4), pp. 414-433. ISSN 0308-5147 [Article]


Download (174kB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

The status of universalism has been much debated by feminists at the end of the twentieth century. Poststructuralist feminism is readily positioned in these debates as antagonistic to normative universalism. It is criticized as such: how is injustice to be judged and condemned if contestation and the openness of ungrounded universalism are the only ideals? This paper is a "sub-philosophical" enquiry into the normative commitments to equality implicit in poststructuralist feminism and its relationship to "actually existing" human rights for women as they have been re-worked by the international feminist movement. It argues that poststructuralist feminism can be used to provide support for one possible understanding of equality encoded in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. It addresses feminist concerns over universal rights as androcentric and ethnocentric, arguing that extending human rights to women is compatible with poststructuralist commitments to anti-essentialism and anti-foundationalism and required by the model of "deconstructive equality" implicitly shared by CEDAW and poststructuralist feminism.

Item Type:



international feminism; poststructuralist feminism; human rights; equality; ethnocentrism.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



August 2002Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

19 Oct 2007

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:28

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)