Monday, October 10, 2022
New Article: The State, the UDHR, and the Social Construction of Family in Human Rights: The Case of the Scarborough 11
Abby S. Willis, Mary C. Burke, Davita Silfen Glasberg, The State, the UDHR, and the Social Construction of Family in Human Rights: The Case of the Scarborough 11, Societies Without Borders, Volume 16 Issue 1 (2022). Abstract below.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) declares in Article 16(3) that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to the full protection by society and the state.” However, the UDHR does not define family, but rather presumes it is defined by traditional heteronormative marriage in a nuclear family. The failure of the UDHR to consider a more expansive view of family leaves the definition of family centrally in the hands of the state, and affects the ability of all but traditional nuclear family forms to access other human rights. We add to the scholarship on the role of the state in defining and maintaining family and family inequality through an examination of the case of the Scarborough 11, an intentional family sued by the city of Hartford, CT for violations of residential zoning ordinance based on family. This case challenges hegemonic constructions of family and illustrates the limits of the UDHR to protect all families. The case demonstrates the importance of the related questions: 1) how legal definitions of family create the capacity for local residents to understand non-nuclear families living among them, 2) whether the end-goal of this problem should be to expand the state’s definition of family or remove that power from the state in total (a question of reform vs. abolition) and, 3) what might a case concerning white middle-class professionals’ struggles to thrive tell us about boundary maintenance and the struggles of the poor to survive?
October 10, 2022 in Books and articles, Universal Declaration of Human Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
The Ongoing Rollback of Human Rights For Women
The rights guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are quickly being eroded in the United States.
In an assault on women, the Trump Administration has announced proposed changes that will severely curtail women’s autonomy.
The administration announced that it is reviewing rolling back a rule that mandates employers who provide health insurance to cover birth control. Closely held businesses employers were found exempt from the mandate in the Hobby Lobby decision based upon religious freedom. This executive order expands the exemption to all employers who decline to cover birth control upon grounds of conscience, that is religious grounds. This action, under cover of religious freedom, greatly expands employer choice while further limiting women's reproductive choices. The disdain and disregard in which this administration holds women has never been subtle. This latest assault particularly affects poor women. In completing the cover sheet that will accompany the rollback, the administration responded “no” to the query as to whether the change would be economically significant.
The administration has demonstrated its inability to understand circumstances of those who live outside of the white, wealthy circles in which the president confines himself. Women of the 1% are unlikely to experience adverse consequences of this rollback. While wealthy women are more likely to enjoy expansive health benefits, the out of pocket cost of birth control will not force them to make difficult budget choices. Forcing lower income women to choose between food and birth control or transportation to work and birth control, removes from them one of the few “choices” they have. The economic impact is significant.
While attending the January Women’s March, I saw an older woman carrying a sign pronouncing “I’m too old to be demonstrating against this *s__t* ” I get it. We thought we had won this battle in the 70’s. Mad Men is back.
May 31, 2017 in Reproductive Rights, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Women's Rights, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)