Comparative Constitutional Design and Legal Culture
Studies in Comparative Law and Legal Culture series
Edited by Günter Frankenberg
Chapter 4: Gender structures and constitutional law
In the last four decades, countries around the world have drafted new constitutions and created new government institutions and laws. As a matter of fact, more than half of all written constitutions in the world were made after 1974. From a traditional perspective, there is a convergence in global constitution-making processes. According to this view, most contemporary constitutions include a similar vocabulary and basic values such as fundamental freedoms, human rights, and separation of powers. In addition, and due to international trends and treaties which are a product of globalization, most constitutions have included gender equality provisions. Günter Frankenberg in the introduction to this book describes this mainstream interpretation of constitution-making in the following terms: What reads like one of the many narratives of globalization focuses on the fact that the modern constitutional idiom, though always geared toward and entangled in a specific local or regional and historical context, has proliferated worldwide, with liberal constitutionalism holding a hegemonic position. This (not all that innocent) narrative may be referred to as the globalization of the modern idiom creating a “global constitution.” … However, in its flat, one-dimensional version, this narrative has very little to say about how such globalization happens, what happens when globalization happens, and whether it is challenged by globalization – alternatives to the liberal-western paradigm. An example of this style of analysis is Kristin Van der Leest in her study: “Engendering Constitutions: Gender Equality Provisions in Selected Constitutions.”
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