Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Feminist Legal Studies
Scholars usually date the inception of feminist legal studies—variably called feminist legal theory or feminist jurisprudence—to the early 1970s, when women's rights advocates first mounted an organized campaign in the courts against sex discrimination. Linked to the increasing number of women professors in U.S. law schools, the field developed rapidly and established close links with allied intellectual movements, most notably critical race theory and gay and lesbian studies. Feminist legal theory shares an interdisciplinary focus with women's studies, but concentrates on understanding and critiquing the law's treatment of women and the role of law in constructing the meaning of gender in the larger culture. In its early stages, during the 1970s, legal feminists emphasized women's similarity to men. In this Equality Stage of legal feminism, practitioners and scholars directed their efforts toward dismantling the intricate system of sex-based legal distinctions that had confined women to the private sphere of home ...