Un-Veiling Equality: Disciplining the ‘Other’ Woman Through Human Rights Discourse

Ratna Kapur

in Islamic Law and International Human Rights Law

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199641444
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191741104 | DOI:
Un-Veiling Equality: Disciplining the ‘Other’ Woman Through Human Rights Discourse

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This chapter examines the faith that continues to inform human rights scholarship and advocacy in relation to gender equality. It argues that such faith obscures the gender and cultural assumptions on which the right to gender equality is based. The chapter is organized as follows. The first section examines the different approaches to equality and gender that have evolved in law and the meaning of equality that has informed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The second section looks at the limits of the different models of equality, focusing on the gender and cultural essentialism that informs these different models. The third section discusses how the complex and contradictory relations between gender, equality, and human rights play out in the context of Muslim women's rights in India and the Hindu Right's discourse on gender equality. The final section asks if it is possible to articulate Muslim women's rights to equality in human rights law without either reinforcing gender and cultural stereotypes or falling back into well worn and unhelpful binaries of us and them, here and there, universality and cultural relativism.

Keywords: human rights; gender equality; faith; Hindu; Muslim women; India; cultural relativism; universality

Chapter.  14442 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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