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Appears in Collections:Law and Philosophy Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Are Feminism and Competition Compatible?
Author(s): Cawston, Amanda
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Keywords: feminism
Issue Date: 25-Jan-2016
Date Deposited: 18-Jul-2016
Citation: Cawston A (2016) Are Feminism and Competition Compatible?. Hypatia, 31 (1), pp. 204-220.
Abstract: Contemporary feminist interest in the persistent underrepresentation of women in top professions suggests an implicit approval of the competition required to achieve these posts. Competition, however, seems to be in tension with feminist opposition to domination and oppression. This paper outlines the dimensions of this tension and examines three attempts to resolve the incompatibility. The first two try to separate the undesirable elements of competition from the positive by way of the competitiveness/competition and the challenge/scarcity distinctions. I argue that these distinctions fail to alleviate worries about competition, particularly in the context of the professions. Meanwhile the third reconciliatory attempt offers a pragmatic argument for compatibilism based on the value of women’s participation in the professions (and their associated competitions). While this pragmatic argument has some merit, I argue it significantly overestimates the amount of competition acceptable for feminist participation. The end result is that, within the context of the professions, competition remains fundamentally in tension with feminism.
DOI Link: 10.1111/hypa.12222
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Cawston, A. (2016), Are Feminism and Competition Compatible?. Hypatia, 31: 204–220. doi: 10.1111/hypa.12222, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

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