Gender and the constitution : equity and agency in comparative constitutional design /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Irving, Helen, author.
Imprint:Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Description:1 online resource (viii, 264 pages) : digital, PDF file(s).
Subject:Women -- Legal status, laws, etc.
Women's rights.
Constitutional law.
Format: E-Resource Book
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Hidden Bibliographic Details
Varying Form of Title:Gender & the Constitution
ISBN:9780511619687 (ebook)
9780521881081 (hardback)
9780521707459 (paperback)
Notes:Title from publisher's bibliographic system (viewed on 05 Oct 2015).
Summary:We live in an era of constitution-making. New constitutions are appearing in historically unprecedented numbers, following regime change in some countries, or a commitment to modernization in others. No democratic constitution today can fail to recognize or provide for gender equality. Constitution-makers need to understand the gendered character of all constitutions, and to recognize the differential impact on women of constitutional provisions, even where these appear gender-neutral. This book confronts what needs to be considered in writing a constitution when gender equity and agency are goals. It examines principles of constitutionalism, constitutional jurisprudence, and history. Its goal is to establish a framework for a 'gender audit' of both new and existing constitutions. It eschews a simple focus on rights and examines constitutional language, interpretation, structures and distribution of power, rules of citizenship, processes of representation, and the constitutional recognition of international and customary law. It discusses equality rights and reproductive rights as distinct issues for constitutional design.
Other form:Print version: 9780521881081
Review by Choice Review

Constitutions are seldom neutral in either their designs or consequences. Irving's broadly comparative study shows in considerable detail how women both win and lose freedom and influence through seemingly "neutral" constitutional rules. Although examples from English-speaking nations predominate and subnational constitutions are virtually ignored, Irving's grasp of primary source materials is impressive, and she manages to develop insights into aspects of gender issues that have generally eluded less focused students of constitution building. Aside from a rather extensive--and insightful--discussion of federalism, Irving (Univ. of Sydney, Australia) offers far less on the effects of structures other than language. Her analysis of election rules, for example, gives relatively little attention to the political consequences of various voting systems, and the relative merits of parliamentary and presidential systems are ignored. At the same time, Irving's legal background helps to introduce subjects that all too seldom appear in the comparative constitutions literature. Her discussion of the legal concept of standing, for example, is both fascinating and unique. Interestingly, there are virtually no references here to the comparative politics literature, yet it is to students of comparative constitutions that the book may have its greatest appeal. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections. E. V. Schneier emeritus, City University of New York City College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review