chapter  1
14 Pages

Equality, difference, subordination: the politics of motherhood and women’s citizenship

ByCarole Pateman

The feminist movement and feminist scholarship are frequently seen as divided between the advocates of equality on the one side and the advocates of sexual difference on the other. Some feminists are presented as demanding equality in the sense of the identical treatment of women and men, and others as demanding that the distinctive characteristics and activities of women should be given special consideration, and it appears that women are forced to choose, and have always been forced to choose, between the two. As Joan Scott has commented:

When equality and difference are paired dichotomously, they structure an impossible choice. If one opts for equality, one is forced to accept the notion that difference is antithetical to it. If one opts for difference, one admits that equality in unattainable.1