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Justice and Gender
by Deborah L. RHODE
Harvard University Press, 1989
Paper: 978-0-674-49101-4 | Cloth: 978-0-674-49100-7 | eISBN: 978-0-674-04267-4
Library of Congress Classification KF4758.R48 1989
Dewey Decimal Classification 342.730878

This is the first book to provide a comprehensive investigation of gender and the law in the United States. Deborah Rhode describes legal developments over the last two centuries against a background of historical and sociological changes in women's activities and attitudes toward these new developments. She shows the way cultural perceptions of gender influence and in turn are influenced by legal constructions, and what this complicated interaction implies about the possibility-or impossibility-of using law as a tool of social change.

Table of Contents:


Part One: Historical Frameworks

1. Natural Rights and Natural Roles
Domesticity as Destiny
The Emergence of a Feminist Movement
Nineteenth-Century Legal Ideology: Separate and Unequal
2. The Fragmentation of Feminism and the Legalization of Difference
The Postsuffrage Women's Movement
Separate Spheres and Legal Thought

Part Two: Equal Rights in Retrospect

3. Feminist Challenges and Legal Responses
The Growth of the Contemporary Women's Movement
Governmental Rejoinders
Liberalism and Liberation
4. The Equal Rights Campaign
Instrumental Claims
Symbolic Underpinnings
Political Strategies
Requiems and Revivals
5. The Evolution of Discrimination Doctrine
The Search for Standards
Separate Spheres Revisited: Bona Fide Occupational Qualifications
Definitions of Difference

Part Three: Contemporary Issues

6. False Dichotomies
Benign and Invidious Discrimination in Welfare Policy: Elderly Women and Social Security
Special Treatment or Equal Treatment: Pregnancy, Maternal, and Caretaking Policy
Public and Private: Social Welfare and Childcare Policies
7. Competing Perspectives on Family Policy
Form and Substance: The Marital-Nonmarital Divide
Lesbian-Gay Rights and Social Wrongs
Equality and Equity in Divorce Reform
Text and Subtext in Custody Adjudication
8. Equality in Form and Equality in Fact: Women and Work
Occupational Inequality
The Legal Response
Employment Policy and Structural Change
9. Reproductive Freedom
The Historical Legacy
Adolescent Pregnancy
Reproductive Technology
10. Sex and Violence
Sexual Harassment
Domestic Violence
11. Association and Assimilation
Private Clubs and Public Values
Different But Equal
Conclusion: Principles and Priorities
Differences over Difference
Differences over Sameness
Theory about Theory
Legal Frameworks


Reviews of this book:
Rhode's work is impressive in its scholarship and its range...a compelling account.
--Josephine Shaw, International and Comparative Law Quarterly

Reviews of this book:
The definitive treatment of the American legal system's struggle to deal with issues pertaining to gender...The strength of Rhode's analysis, however, is not its historical aspect but its probing view of modern gender issues...The focus is always on the deeper forces that have led to gender disadvantage...There is much to be learned from reading this volume.
--Victoria J. Dodd, Bimonthly Review of Law Books

Reviews of this book:
A comprensive journey through the history of law and gender...The book is important in a number of ways...[It] paints in stark, irrefutable colors the irrational prejudices that have served to justify legal determinations limiting equality...[I]t has the audacity to ask the law to turn on itself and work more justly.
--Sheila James Kuehl, California Lawyer

Reviews of this book:
Encyclopedic.. . Thorough, carefully nuanced ... [Rhode] gives all sides their fair due on every issue she takes up... A valuable resource for many years to come.
--Susan 0kin, Law and Social Inquiry

Justice and Gender breaks the impasse created by legal and theoretical debates over 'sameness' and 'difference.' Deborah Rhode's brilliant analysis of gender and the law in the United States from the nineteenth century to the present argues persuasively for theories rooted in careful contextual analysis and for a legal emphasis on gender disadvantage rather than gender difference. This book offers a new vantage point from which to think about the role of law in building a just society.
--Sarah M. Evans, University of Minnesota

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