Erin L. Han

Document Type

Book Review

First Page



Ute Gerhard's book, Debating Women's Equality, emphasizes the continuing importance of equality to the women's rights movement. Gerhard tackles the feminist equality-versus-difference debate and concludes that both concepts are vital to women's efforts to achieve status that is both equal with men but uniquely female at the same time. She directs her theories to the feminist movements in Europe, and concludes that women must primarily use law to claim their rights. This Book Review tests the applicability of Gerhard's Western feminist theories to the anti female circumcision movements in Africa, and particularly focuses on the limitations of law as a method for claiming women's rights in circumcising communities. Through this analysis, this Review illustrates the limited applicability of Western feminism to the experiences and goals of African feminists and suggests alternate, non-legal approaches to eradicate the practice of female circumcision in Africa.