paper aims to produce a workshop discussion about the similarities between the
two criticisms of international human rights, which are made by cultural
relativism, on the one hand, by feminists, on the other hand. The broad
contours of such criticism will emerge in subsequent discussion and therefore Oonagh
Reitman proposed initial brief explanation as follows. This paper explains how
two of the criticisms appear to oppose each other in the realm of international
human rights of women.
relativist criticism, intent Oonagh Reitman criticism made of the claim that
human rights are universal, human rights are possessed only by virtue of being
human and the substance, form and interpretation are not subject to variations
Cultural relativism consists in withdrawing the claim, arguing instead that the
source of human rights is a culture, and as a culturally diverse, so are
(non-universal) human rights of their dictation2.
criticism of human rights found in practice, those who hold human rights are
men, not women, and gender equality, and freedom from discrimination for women,
given a low priority in the international arena3.
Part 1 consists of the exposition of cultural relativism argument made in the
field of “human rights” of women by way of a description of the
location of the intersection and the disagreement between the feminist critique
and relativist. This section also shows the cultural relativism seem to have
negative effects on the realization and enforcement of women’s human rights,
which actually happened in explaining the difficulties feminist with
relativism, which in turn, may partly explain vigilance relativist feminism.
There is a clear tension between the feminist and cultural relativist critique
hegemonic ideology of human rights and the consequences of each position. Part
2, is unfortunate and it is not necessary, in that there are important
similarities between them. Parallel then noted between the two branches of
criticism suggests the possibility that they may operate together and not
contradict each other, to achieve progress in their respective goals,
especially the concern clear them for the dignity and wellbeing of women,
including women belonging to a culture where relativism claimed want to protect
( “women of culture”, for want of a better acronym). In part 3,
Oonagh Reitman hesitate to propose an outline of what he calls
1 Donnelly, J, 1989 Universal
Human Rights in Theory and Practice. Ithaca: Cornell. p.109-110, in Oonagh
2 Coomaraswamy, 1994 in Oonagh Reitman
3Bunch 1990 and 1995 in Oonagh Reitman.