The Rights of Women
Reclaiming a Lost Vision
410 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 , 21 b&w illustrations
Paperback | 9780268200824 | July 2021
Hardcover | 9780268200817 | July 2021
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268200831 | July 2021
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268200800 | July 2021
Erika Bachiochi offers an original look at the development of feminism in the United States, advancing a vision of rights that rests upon our responsibilities to others.
In The Rights of Women, Erika Bachiochi explores the development of feminist thought in the United States. Inspired by the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft, Bachiochi recovers an all but forgotten intellectual history that asserts a moral vision of women’s rights and argues for a reawakening of this tradition as an alternative to modern feminism’s focus on autonomy.
Bachiochi proposes a philosophical and legal framework for rights that stems from political theory, women’s studies, and constitutional law and builds on the communitarian tradition of feminist thought as seen in the work of Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Jean Bethke Elshtain. Drawing on the insight of prominent figures such as Victoria Woodhull, Frances Willard, Florence Kelley, Betty Friedan, Pauli Murray, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Mary Ann Glendon, this book is unique in its treatment of the moral roots of women’s rights in America and its critique of the movement’s current trajectory. In addition to exploring how Glendon’s dignitarian vision is particularly reminiscent of Wollstonecraft’s, Bachiochi offers a crucial corrective to the irreconcilable tensions that exist in Justice Ginsburg’s deeply influential autonomy-focused approach.
This smart and sophisticated application of Wollstonecraft’s thought will serve as a guide for how we might better value the culturally essential work of the home and thereby promote authentic personal and political freedom. The Rights of Women will interest students and scholars of political theory, gender and women’s studies, feminist legal theory, and all readers interested in women’s rights.
Erika Bachiochi is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a senior fellow at the Abigail Adams Institute where she founded and directs the Wollstonecraft Project. She is the editor of Women, Sex, and the Church: A Case for Catholic Teaching and The Cost of “Choice”: Women Evaluate the Impact of Abortion.
“Bachiochi’s account of the history of feminism in the United States offers a critique that is soundly based in a Catholic vision of the human person and a Catholic notion of the primacy of the family as the incubator of moral society.” —Elizabeth R. Schiltz, co-editor of Feminism, Law, and Religion
“The Rights of Women brilliantly articulates what should be a central concern and debate for feminists today.” — Helen M. Alvaré, author of Putting Children’s Interests First in U.S. Family Law and Policy