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Citizenship in BritainA History$
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Derek Heater

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780748622252

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748622252.001.0001

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Two issues of status

Two issues of status

(p.134) Chapter 5 Two issues of status
Citizenship in Britain

Derek Heater

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter begins with a discussion of women's citizenship. The basic feminist problem with citizenship is, briefly, as follows. The concept, status and practice were devised by men. Women have therefore inevitably found it difficult to become citizens in the fullest sense. Thus, they have three optional strategies for improving their civic condition. One is to insist on being treated exactly as men, to be absolutely equal in all aspects of citizenship. The second is the inverse of this attitude, namely, to argue that women's aptitude for and primacy in the private sphere should be recognised as the feminine citizenly equivalent of men's role in the public. Third, some feminist writers have reasoned that what is really needed is a fundamental rethinking of citizenship in order to construct a new synthesis that is, to use the jargon, gender neutral. The discussion then turns to the meanings of Empire and Commonwealth citizenship.

Keywords:   women's citizenship, Empire citizenship, Commonwealth citizenship, civic identity

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