Human Rights: A Feminist Perspective


Binion, Gayle. 1995. “Human Rights: A Feminist Perspective.” Human Rights Quarterly 17 (3): 509–26.

Author: Gayle Binion


This paper explores the ways in which human rights might be understood if women's experience were the foundation for the theorizing and enforcement. The argument is not that there is but one feminist perspective -- indeed the title suggests that there might be many. Rather, it is argued that, if one works from the life experiences most common to women, the principles of human rights that would emerge would not necessarily reflect the universe of such rights as they are commonly understood by liberal nation states. While the prototypic "human rights" case involves the individual political activist imprisoned for the expression of his views or political organizing, forms of oppression that do not fit the Bill of Rights model of liberty are rarely recognized in international understandings or national asylum laws. These forms would include, inter alia, issues related to marriage, procreation, labor, property ownership, sexual repression, and other manifestations of unequal citizenship that are routinely viewed as private, nongovernmental, and reflective of cultural difference.

Keywords: international law, human rights, feminism

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, International Law, International Human Rights, Rights, Human Rights

Year: 1995

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