Edited by Helen Irving
Chapter 8: Gender equality, interpretation, and feminist pluralism
How do commitments to gender equality intersect with approaches to constitutional interpretation? An important element of feminist approaches to law is an emphasis on understanding contexts. When one considers the wide range of contexts in which questions of constitutional interpretation arise, it follows that there is no single answer to what ‘feminist interpretation’ would be. The answer depends on the context, including the particular constitution at issue. Section 8.2 of this chapter argues that there are at least four general principles, which most feminists can share, that should inform the choice of interpretive theory. Section 8.3 evaluates several major approaches to constitutional interpretation. Finally, Section 8.4 suggests that multi-valenced practice-based forms of interpretation, which include a focus on relationships (among people and institutions), will often be a way of pulling together strands of interpretive approaches that enable advancement of gender equality in the context of the broader demands of interpretation in constitutional democracies.
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