The Debate Of Feminists And Cultural Relativists

1712 Words7 Pages
Based on Western philosophical traditions, human rights are understood to be universal and objective (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948), an understanding that poses unique challenges when imagining human rights in the 21st Century. Over the last fifty years, critique of human rights discourse has evolved into discrete areas, which include feminism and cultural relativism. Feminists and cultural relativists often take opposing positions, with cultural relativist views seen as dominant over feminist discourse (Byrnes 1992). Not surprisingly, this creates tension between the two and limited their ability to collaborate and create more inclusive human rights discourses.
This essay will outline the position of feminists and cultural relativists and demonstrate the similarities between them, namely the common ground of human rights discourse. It is my contention that both can work together to make inclusive changes to the way they interpret and understand the human rights violations of women and work to assure the protection of women’s human rights. This essay will suggest that there is enough common ground between these two approaches to provide a solid foundation where feminists and cultural relativists can combine their insights to create a more inclusive, adaptable critique of the mainstream international human rights discourse. Working together, they can have a greater impact on international human rights discourse and the actualization of the human rights of
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