Women 's Rights And Responsibilities

1175 Words5 Pages
In order to exercise legal rights and responsibilities, one must be a legal person. However, the legal person cannot be easily defined especially when one must consider the feminine gender. Although it is a fact that women are people with the same legal rights and responsibilities as men, several aspects of what is understood to be legal personhood conflicts with the unique characteristics of the female gender such as pregnancy. This reflects the deeply seated tradition of patriarchy within the law that is the largest concern of liberal feminists. It is not to be said that the law has remained unchanged over the course of history but rather that it has changed in a way that only includes women as ‘men’ and not as women. This is mostly…show more content…
In order to be considered a legal person, there are physical and conceptual requirements. The physical requirement to be a legal person is to be ‘born alive’. In R v Poulton (1832) 5 C & P 329 at 330, it is said that the fetus becomes a legal person when ‘the whole body is brought into the world.’ Conceptually, a legal person must be ‘…an enclosed, bounded and sovereign being…’ and a ‘…rational person…’ who can ‘…exercise autonomy over his own person…’ In other words; they must be capable of self-government. It is difficult to define legal personhood narrowly due to its interpretation being dependent on context and purpose but this is generally a universally accepted definition. The issue of the role in women within leLiberal feminists believe that ‘…female subordination is rooted in a set of customary and legal constraints that blocks women’s entrance to and success in the so-called public world…’ and they work hard to emphasize the equality of men and women through political and legal reform. It cannot be denied that there has been significant progression of the recognition of women as legal persons throughout the last century. Previous to the changes in the early 20th Century, women were purposely excluded from the concept of a legal person due to assumptions of their feminine disposition, which is often described as temperamental, and their publicly perceived lack of capacity for
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