March 10, 2010
Woodhouse: "A World Fit for Children is a World Fit for Everyone: Ecogenerism, Feminism, and Vulnerability "
This article explores the relationship between feminist theory and ecogenerist theory. Ecogenerism is a child-centered, ecologically grounded jurisprudence inspired by feminist methods and the ecological approach of developmental psychology. The author argues that feminism and child-centered jurisprudence need not be seen as antagonistic. Their methods and goals are not in tension but rather complementary. Women and children are both embedded in a larger political and social environment that can be shaped to meet their shared needs or to ignore them. To illustrate this , the author compares the ecology of early childhood in the United States and in Italy. She shows how family supportive structures and attention to both children’s and women’s rights benefits both women and children. She draws upon Martha Fineman’s work on “The Vulnerable Subject,” in which Fineman argues that vulnerability not autonomy is the most universal aspect of human experience. Viewed through the lens of our shared vulnerability, the task of law is to mitigate harms and foster interdependency. Both feminism and ecogenerism demand a focus on those “positive human rights” necessary to create social and political environments that are friendly to both women and children.
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