Schools of Feminist Jurisprudence

Feminist jurisprudence encompasses diverse perspectives aimed at understanding and addressing the systemic inequalities women face within legal systems. Among these perspectives, three significant schools of thought have emerged: Liberal Feminism, Radical Feminism, and Cultural Feminism.

Each of these schools offers unique insights into the nature of gender oppression and proposes distinct strategies for achieving gender equality within legal and social frameworks.

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1. Liberal Feminism

Originating from the 18th century, liberal feminism emphasises individualism and equality through legal and political reform. Advocates of this school argue that women face discrimination due to societal beliefs in their inferiority, leading to barriers to accessing opportunities in politics and economics. Liberal feminists advocate for gender-blind laws and equal treatment based on universal human rights principles. They seek to dismantle legal and social barriers that hinder women’s participation in public life.

Related: Rights Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

2. Radical Feminism

Radical feminism challenges the patriarchal structures that perpetuate male dominance and oppression of women. Viewing society as fundamentally patriarchal, radical feminists seek to abolish this system to liberate everyone from injustice. They critique the objectification of women, raise awareness about issues like rape and violence, and challenge traditional gender roles. Radical feminists argue that men, as a class, benefit from the oppression of women and advocate for a radical reordering of society to eliminate male supremacy.

3. Cultural Feminism

Cultural feminism diverges from liberal feminism by focusing on celebrating and valuing women’s differences from men. Rejecting the idea of assimilating women into patriarchal structures, cultural feminists advocate for changing institutions to accommodate and reflect values traditionally associated with femininity, such as empathy and nurturing. This perspective emphasises female attributes and advocates for independence and the creation of institutions that recognise and promote women’s unique contributions.


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The three primary schools of feminist jurisprudence offer distinct perspectives on the nature of gender inequality and strategies for achieving gender justice. While liberal feminism emphasises equality through legal reform, radical feminism challenges patriarchal structures, and cultural feminism celebrates women’s differences and advocates for institutional change. By understanding and engaging with these diverse perspectives, societies can work towards creating more inclusive and equitable legal systems for all individuals, regardless of gender.

On a related note:

Gayatri Singh
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