Political Science Answer Writing Practice - Week 1 - Question 2
90 Days Political Science Answer Writing Practice Question 2 for 04-Dec-2017
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04-Dec-2017 - Question 2
Discuss Feminist Theory of the State.(2016)
The feminist theory of the state is a critic of existing theories of the state. Historically liberal feminists believed that the state would be able to bring meaningful reforms to uplift the status of women. The earlier focus of suffragettes movement to demand greater political rights and participation of women was based on this concept.
However, even after Universal adult franchise, women still continued to suffer and couldn t emancipate themselves. There was a criticism by the socialist feminist on the Capitalist model of society which makes exploitation of subjugated classes possible by the dominant class. The solution according to them, therefore, was to end Capitalism, after which all of women problems would end. Engels was a proponent of this idea.
After the mid 20th century, however anew radical trend emerged in feminism. The state was seen as an instrument of regulation of public sphere as well as an instrument of power. The liberal, Marxist and other theories of the state according to feminists, forget one underlying fact that is every culture and society has long subjugated women.The state is nothing but a manifestation of this ingrained patriarchy. In this context, the concept personal is political is invoked, in a sense that dominance of man over woman is not confined to public sphere but extends to all aspects of life, including sexual relations. Kate MIllet in her work Sexual Politics has redefined politics as power-structured relationships .
In public sphere, the fight over scarce resources in the context of women being a deprived section, results in disproportionate occupancy of men in the position of power. Women were deprived right to property, to an extent that only 1% of total property on earth is owned by women. The role of the state in protecting women against male violence, reproductive rights and changes in power structure within the family is long discussed as a possible solution.
Zillah Eisenstein has argued in her seminal work that the legitimacy of the liberal state created on the notion that all of its positions is open to all section, including women doesn t consider the ground realities and the actual share of power enjoyed by women. In post-colonial societies in third world countries, women face a double whammy of lack of welfare activities in absence of governance architecture and increased violence due to instability.
The exclusion of women from state power has wider implications in terms of destruction of nature. Women are considered better protector of nature and fundamental agent to ensure sustainable development. Women empowerment, in this case, is foundational to achieve sustainable development.