Since its origins over two thousand years ago, western political theory has been almost entirely written by men. For the most part, these men simply ignored women. When they deigned to notice us, it was usually to justify our exclusion from public affairs and our confinement to the home; only a few saw us as political beings worthy of serious consideration. Even today, many male political theorists seem to see the interests and concerns of half the human race as politically unimportant and theoretically uninteresting, and many either ignore the existence of ongoing gender-based inequalities and injustices, or treat these as marginal issues, irrelevant to mainstream political theory. In contrast, most feminist political theory sees women and their situation as central to political analysis; it asks why it is that in virtually all known societies men appear to have more power and privilege than women, and how this can be changed. It is therefore engaged theory, which seeks to understand society in order to challenge and change it; its goal is not abstract knowledge, but knowledge that can be used to guide and inform feminist political practice.
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