Majority Norms, Multiculturalism, and Gender Equality


Song, Sarah. 2005. “Majority Norms, Multiculturalism, and Gender Equality.” The American Political Science Review 99 (4): 473–489.

Author: Sarah Song


Although many scholars have discussed the conflict that can arise between multiculturalism and gender equality, both critics and defenders of multiculturalism have largely overlooked a variety of interactive dynamics between majority and minority cultures that have important implications for the theory and practice of multiculturalism. Examining cases in the U.S. context, this essay argues for an interactive view of the dilemmas of gender and culture that is attentive to interconnections between majority and minority cultures. What is of particular concern for debates on multiculturalism is that the mainstream legal and normative frameworks within which minority claims for accommodation are evaluated have themselves been informed by patriarchal norms, which in turn have offered support for gender hierarchies within minority cultures. The interactive view defended here suggests the need to scrutinize both minority and majority norms and practices in evaluating the claims of minority cultures.

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Gender Equity Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2005

© 2024 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at