Many of the theories discussed in the previous chapters neglect or even ignore the position of women in society, and how they are treated by the law, the legal system, and other aspects of social, economic, and political life. Feminist writers have, in various ways, sought to correct this imbalance or prejudice. This chapter examines several key elements of feminist legal theories, and explores the origins of feminism; legal feminisms (liberal feminism, radical feminism, postmodern feminism, and difference feminism) and their impact on legal philosophy. It discusses the enormous literature on the subject, and its criticism of conventional jurisprudence.
While orthodox legal theory has purported to be gender-blind, it often neglects or in some instances even ignores the position of women. This silence has been criticized by feminist theorists who have placed discrimination against, and the subordination of, women firmly on the jurisprudential agenda. It is a development that has had an enormous impact on legal education. It extends also to almost every branch of the law and legal system. This chapter examines the key elements of feminist legal theory, including the following: the origins of feminism; and legal feminisms (liberal feminism, radical feminism, postmodern feminism, and difference feminism).