Equity feminism

Equity feminism is a form of liberal feminism that advocates the state's equal treatment of women and men, without challenging inequalities perpetuated by employers, educational and religious institutions, and other elements of society.[1][2] The concept has been discussed since the 1980s.[2][3] Equity feminism has been defined and classified as a kind of classically liberal or libertarian feminism,[1] in contrast with social feminism,[4][5] difference feminism,[6] gender feminism,[7] and equality feminism.[3]


The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy refers to Wendy McElroy, Joan Kennedy Taylor, Cathy Young, Rita Simon, Katie Roiphe, Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Christine Stolba, and Christina Hoff Sommers as equity feminists.[1] Camille Paglia also describes herself as an equity feminist.[8][9] Christina Sommers, in particular, explored the topic of equity feminism in her book Who Stole Feminism? In this text, Sommers summarizes how the aim of equity feminism is to attain economic, educational, and political equality of opportunity.[10]

Steven Pinker, an evolutionary and cognitive psychologist, linguist, and popular science author, identifies himself as an equity feminist, which he defines as "a moral doctrine about equal treatment that makes no commitments regarding open empirical issues in psychology or biology".[11]

Distinctions have been made between conservative and radical forms of equity feminism.[12] Many young conservative women have accepted equity feminism.[13]


Anne-Marie Kinahan claims that most American women look to a kind of feminism whose main goal is equity.[14] Louis Schubert et al. claim "principles of equity feminism remain in the vision of the vast majority of women in the United States".[15]

See also


  1. "Liberal Feminism". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 18 October 2007. Retrieved 24 February 2016. (revised 30 September 2013)
  2. Black, Naomi (1989). Social feminism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN 9780801422614.
  3. Halfmann, Jost (1989). "Social change and political mobilization in West Germany". In Katzenstein, Peter (ed.). Industry and politics in West Germany: toward the Third Republic. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press. p. 79. ISBN 9780801495953. Quote: Equity-feminism differs from equality-feminism in the depth and scope of its strategic goals. A feminist revolution would pursue three goals, according to Herrad Schenk:
  4. Buechler, Steven M. (1 September 1990). "3: Ideologies and Visions". Women's Movements in the United States: Woman Suffrage, Equal Rights, and Beyond. Rutgers University Press. p. 118. ISBN 9780813515595. Equity feminism, whether liberal, Marxist or socialist, relies on male classifications…Social feminism, whether maternal, cultural or radical, appeals to female values
  5. Black, Naomi; Brandt, Gail Cuthbert (16 April 1999). "7: Towards a New Analysis". Feminist Politics on the Farm: Rural Catholic Women in Southern Quebec and Southwestern France. McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 200. ISBN 9780773518285. we found two strands, both of which we wanted to include as political: an equity feminism seeking equal rights…and women's collective action that looked more like a social feminism
  6. Kramarae, Cheris; Spender, Dale, eds. (16 April 2004). "Equality". Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women: Global Women's Issues and Knowledge. Routledge. p. 672. ISBN 9781135963156. There are two dominant strains within the equality debate: "equity feminism" and "difference feminism".
  7. Kuhle, Barry X. (January 2012). "Evolutionary psychology is compatible with equity feminism, but not with gender feminism: A reply to Eagly and Wood". Evolutionary Psychology. Sage. 10 (1): 39–43. doi:10.1177/147470491201000104. PMID 22833845.
    See also Eagly, Alice H.; Wood, Wendy (May 2011). "Feminism and the evolution of sex differences and similarities". Sex Roles. Springer. 64 (9–10): 758–767. doi:10.1007/s11199-011-9949-9.
  8. Paglia, Camille (2018). "The modern battle of the sexes". Free women, free men: sex, gender, feminism. Edinburgh: Canongate Books Ltd. ISBN 9781786892171. Quote: I am an equity feminist - that is, I believe in equality of the sexes before the law and the removal of all obstacles to women's advance in society. However, I oppose special protections for women, which had been sought from the start by some leading feminists... I represent the pro-sex wing of feminism that has turned the tide and that is close to winning the culture wars of the past fifteen years.... And I think that a younger generation of women are no longer in sympathy with the censorious, anti-pleasure wing of feminism.
  9. Smith, Rich (22 March 2017). "Who's worse: Camille Paglia, sanctimonious liberals, or my sniveling self? (blog)". thestranger.com/slog. SLOG. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  10. "Who Stole Feminism?". 18 October 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  11. Pinker, Steven (2002). "Gender". The blank slate: the modern denial of human nature. New York: Viking. p. 341. ISBN 9780142003343.
  12. Almeder, Robert F. (13 August 2003). "Equity Feminism and Academic Feminism". In Pinnick, Cassandra L.; Koertge, Noretta (eds.). Scrutinizing Feminist Epistemology: An Examination of Gender in Science. p. 183. ISBN 9780813532271. I defend the stronger or more conservative form of equity feminism…I identify these latter more radical forms of equity feminism with academic feminism
  13. Iannello, Kathleen (18 August 2010). "8: Women's Leadership and Third-Wave Feminism (in Part II: History of Women's Public Leadership, in Volume One)". In O'Connor, Karen (ed.). Gender and Women's Leadership: A Reference Handbook. SAGE Publications, Inc. p. 76. ISBN 9781412960830. The concept of equity feminism has taken hold among many younger conservative women
  14. Kinahan, Anne-Marie (3 August 2004). "One: Foundations: Women Who Run from the Wolves: Feminist Critique As Post-Feminism". In Prince, Althea; Silva-Wayne, Susan (eds.). Feminisms and Womanisms: A Women's Studies Reader. p. 120. ISBN 9780889614116. Most American women subscribe philosophically to that older "First Wave" kind of feminism whose main goal is equity… A First Wave, "mainstream," or "equity" feminist wants for women what she wants for everyone…equity feminism has turned out to be a great American success story.
  15. Schubert, Louis; Dye, Thomas R.; Zeigler, Harmon (2014). "13: Civil Rights: Diversifying the Elite: Women's Rights in the United States". The Irony of Democracy: An Uncommon Introduction to American Politics (17th ed.). p. 331. ISBN 9781305537491. The principles of equity feminism remain in the vision of the vast majority of women in the United States.

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