‘Feminism’, since the mid-19th century, has been associated with the view that women are systematically subjected to injustice and ought to have equal rights and rights to equality. The nature and causes of the injustices in question and the type of equality that women are due have evolved in line with general social developments in social structures and in feminist political theory. Liberal feminists have regarded justice as involving equal rights for women and men, first politically and then economically, and their great achievement has been to gain acceptance for the claim that there is no good reason to exclude people from basic civil, political, social and economic rights on the basis of gender and, more recently, that political and economic arrangements which disproportionately disadvantage women are unacceptable. The liberal feminist’s goal is equal rights in the sense of the same rights for men and women — so that gender is simply irrelevant in the distribution of benefits and burdens. Here the basic moral belief is that men and women are of equal worth. In this tradition feminist justice is about non-discrimination on the basis of gender, particularly in relation to equality of opportunity, both politically and in the workplace.
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