A Tension Between Ideas About Basic Rights
Stapleton English, L.
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This thesis explores whether a state can guarantee its citizens gender equality and give preference, through policy and law, to specific ways of interaction between genders. Abstracted from the phenomenon of femonationalism, civic integration policies in the Netherlands are examined under the framework of public reason as a means of doing so. To grasp the way in which these policies came to be, a historical embedding is given, which includes notable events and policies as well as pivotal figures in the political shift of the Netherlands to the right. To demonstrate the problematic nature of the civic integration policies and programmes, which may not appear, prima facie, as insidious, the notion of the culturalization of citizenship is presented. By explaining public reason - via John Rawls, Jürgen Habermas and Akeel Bilgrami - in contrast to civic integration policies, the policies are shown to be unjust. However, through the case of Shirin Musa, the benefits of state intervention are illustrated, with the complexities shown through Rawls and his comments on the family. In conclusion, this thesis finds that states can only guarantee citizens gender equality to the extent that they can prove that, should there be forms of gender discrimination, they are involuntary. Should values of a comprehensive doctrine - religious or irreligious - clash with fundamental tenets of a state, those values should be placed second, such as gender equality in the face of gender discrimination. As illustrated through civic integration policies and programmes, this thesis contends that the Dutch state does attempt to give preference, through policy and law, to specific ways of interaction between genders. The result of this is a violation of the idea of public reason, insinuative of the implementation of unjust policy.