From a legal and social perspective, the movement initiated the struggle of women to gain equality before the law, changing the structure of society as women ventured out into the workplace.
This essay will set out to demonstrate how the notion of equality as mooted by feminist theories may not necessarily be adequate to advance the interests of women and the material inequalities that they may suffer from. Fighting for women to achieve equality with men may not necessarily redress the inequalities and advance their interests, since this equality approach to feminism is overly concerned with the personal issues surrounding identity. It does not address the root causes of inequality, which may be built into the framework of the law itself, hence without a change in the framework of the law, it may not be possible to advance the interests of women.
This is the basic principle which must be addressed on the question of equal rights before the law for both men and women. Jurisprudence has remained a traditional male bastion with existing legal theories conditioned upon the premise of the “individual” as the philosophical basis for the legal system. Hence, the feminist movement itself and earlier struggles for equal rights by women were centered upon proving to the higher authorities that women deserved equal treatment, but this was still on the basis that they were individuals. The question that arises is – how relevant is such an approach in tackling the real issues women face and advancing their interests, when it is preoccupied with the subjective element associated with individual identity?
For example, MacLaughlin points out that the liberal perspectives of law as a fair and just system that protects is rights of all individuals is based upon treating all persons indiscriminately and this system stresses individualism4