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Why multiculturalism is good for women

Tuesday, January 24, 2023, 3:40 pm – 5:20 pm

This colloquium talk is planned as an in-person event. Registration is only required for non-CEU members. Please check the COVID safety rules here to enter the building.


This paper has two aims. One is to show that the question of whether multiculturalism as a political framework is bad for women is really a comparative question about whether multiculturalism fares better or worse than certain relevant alternatives: liberal nationalism, and cosmopolitanism. The other aim, which will be my focus, is to demonstrate why multiculturalism in important respects is better for minority women and feminist emancipatory and egalitarian ends than alternatives. To achieve the second aim, I build on existing multiculturalist arguments about how cultural membership is important for meaningful choice and for the participation in change – not least when it comes to choices about gender identity and roles. I will then argue that multiculturalism uniquely accounts for the de facto value minority women place on changes sought in terms of cultural identity. Finally, drawing on arguments in philosophy of science about the importance of diversity for knowledge production and for problem solving, I will argue that cultural diversity implied by multiculturalism is instrumental for the partly epistemic task of imagining and progressing toward more emancipatory and egalitarian societies. This shows why multiculturalism is not only relevant for members of minority cultures, but for members of all genders and cultures.

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