Chip Taylor Communications

Subject: History

Europe and America in the Modern Age Series

Stanford University Professors James Sheehan and David Kennedy present in-depth lectures on the concept of liberalism as a theoretical framework for examining the interrelationships between the histories of Europe and America. Produced by the Stanford University Channel. Programs available on 20 individual Click for more

18. Women and the Dilemma of Difference

18. Women and the Dilemma of Difference

A persistent dilemma for American society has been reconciling its historically deferential attitude toward women with the fundamental liberal principle of equality. Much of this dilemma centers around the traditional role assigned to women as caretakers of the home and purveyors of beneficence and moral value. In this program Professor David Kennedy addresses the issue of gender from legal, economic, historical, and philosophical perspectives. As more and more women have entered the public work arena, American liberal society has been forced to reexamine the traditional roles assigned to women. Feminist intellectuals have not always agreed on how society should regard women, arguing, on the one hand, that women are innately equal to men and therefore should have equal access to the benefits of society, and on the other hand, that women are essentially different from men and should "fully realize their difference in society in such a way that will transform society." A modern perspective on this dilemma is that women have been expected to bear the "dual burden of the home and the work force," and that society's urgent obligation is to "lighten that burden by instituting family support systems." The gender issue has required liberal society to reevaluate its defining principles, to intrude into the private realm, to accommodate the changing roles of women and allow women to enjoy the full benefits society has to offer. 99/10DE SCA 55 min.

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