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Amelioration and legal recognition: On sex, gender, and the legal recognition of gender identity

mary leng
Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 3:30 pm – 5:10 pm

Sally Haslanger (2000) offers an 'ameliorative' definition of the gendered term, 'woman', designed not to capture existing usage, but to capture a politically important category. Making use of resources of second wave feminism, she proposes an account of the category, 'woman', according to which women are that category of individuals who are oppressed owing to their (perceived or actual) female reproductive role. This means that being female is neither necessary nor sufficient to count as a woman, although there will be a substantial overlap between the category 'adult human female' and the category 'woman'.  Katharine Jenkins (2016) challenges Haslanger's account as failing to be appropriately inclusive, as it fails to categorise most (non-'passing') transgender people within their self-identified genders. However, realising that Haslanger's account does pick out a politically important category of people, rather than replacing Haslanger's account with an alternative account based around gender self-identity, Jenkins advocates for the recognition of two separate and equally important gender categories (gender-as-class and gender-as-identity). This paper argues that if one accepts Jenkins' 'two categories' picture, this has important consequences for how gender should be recognised recognised in law. In particular, while there may be good reasons to provide legal recognition for gender identity, this should take place alongside separate legal recognition of sex (which is the basis for the class-based analysis of gender), rather than in place of this category.

The Rector of CEU announced that the University would be suspending all teaching, conferences, lectures and related activities at CEU until at least the 15th April, because of the corona virus crisis. This is in accord with the Hungarian government’s announcement that all universities in Hungary would be suspending classes and meetings. The talk will be organized through online platforms. If you are not a student of CEU Department of Philosophy and would like to join please send an RSVP.