Beyond the Limitations of the Impasse: Feminism, Multiculturalism, and Legal Reforms in Religious Family Laws in India
How do feminists harmonise cultural rights and gender equality in the governance of the family in multicultural and legally plural societies? Faced with the dilemma that advancing gender justice in the family by advocating uniform laws across religious differences would undermine minority rights in the context of growing Hindu nationalism in the 1990s, the Indian women's movement shifted ideologies and practice and pursued an assemblage of reforms in adjudicative and legislative processes, in the state and society. Women's groups pursued piecemeal legislative reforms in religiously neutral civil and criminal laws that affected the family, and supported by judicial actors, used legal innovation to advance women's rights in adjudication of religious family laws in state courts. They creatively and resourcefully built their own societal religio-legal adjudicatory forums and selectively engaged in conflict, cooperation, alliance-building, and communication with diverse religio-cultural and state actors to transform the content of gender-unequal religio-cultural laws in society.
Solanki, G. (2013). Beyond the Limitations of the Impasse: Feminism, Multiculturalism, and Legal Reforms in Religious Family Laws in India. Politikon, 40(1), 83–111. doi:10.1080/02589346.2013.765678