Feminism and Cultural Relativism in Human Rights Discourse: Sex-determination Test in India

3145 Words 13 Pages
Feminism and Cultural Relativism in Human Rights Discourse: Sex-determination Test in India

ABSTRACT: Feminists and cultural relativists are highly critical of human rights even if their criticisms have taken two diametrically opposed sides. This has created a conflict between the two groups. In this paper, I summarize the views of feminists and cultural relativists and then show that there are many similarities between them despite their differences, for they share a common ground concerning human rights discourse. Based on the similarities, I believe that both must work together on this matter by making changes in an inclusive way with regard to human rights violations. This is true not only at the international level but also at
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In this paper, I intend to show that there is room for common ground between the feminists and cultural relativists though there are some differences between them and there is a need for the cooperation of feminists and cultural relativists on the basis of this common ground not only at the international level but also in the context of India. To achieve this objective, first, I make a general analysis of the views of feminists and cultural relativists in the context of human rights. Second, I explain briefly the similarities and differences between these two views. Third, I analyze the issue of sex-determination test in India as my case study, among many other human rights issues, to demonstrate that if cultural relativists and feminists do not work cooperatively within this common ground, it will not be possible to apply the reproductive technology of amniocentesis in a progressive way rather than in a regressive way as it is now which is creating greater discrimination against women. In the case of India, having laws are not sufficient if they cannot be enforced due to cultural bias. Along with laws, both feminists, promoting the concept of including women's rights within human rights system and genuine cultural relativists, who believe that culture and tradition cannot be outside the scope of human rights discourse, should

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