Penelope Andrews’ book From Cape Town to Kabul: Rethinking Strategies for Pursuing Women’s Human Rights is classified as ‘Research Essential’ by Baker & Taylor YBP Library Services. It generates challenging and complex questions about the achievement of gender equality.
The author examines and compares gender inequality in societies undergoing political, economic and legal transformation, and looks at two countries – South Africa and Afghanistan – in particular. These two societies serve as counterpoints through which the book engages, in a nuanced and novel way, with the many broader issues that flow from the attempts in newly democratic societies to give effect to the promise of gender equality. Developing the idea of ‘conditional interdependence’, the book suggests a new approach based on the communitarian values which underpin newly democratic societies and would allow women’s rights to gain momentum and reap greater benefits.
‘This book is written with passion for and deep experience of struggles for women’s rights in different parts of the globe. Professor Andrews deals with the vexed issue of the role of local cultures in defining women’s rights in both South Africa and Afghanistan. She departs from the traditional western feminist goal of autonomy for women and argues instead for recognition of women’s “conditional interdependence”. This book is bold and insightful, a rich comparative analysis, with a transformational purpose.’ Hilary Charlesworth, The Australian National University, Australia
‘Andrews asks the hard questions that should cause us to re-examine our assumptions about the freight attached to the language of human rights, political and legal strategies for achieving substantive equality, and the contestation within the feminist discourse and legal theory. Beautifully written, this book is a fabulous resource for academic institutions and communities.’ Val Napoleon, University of Victoria, Canada
‘The author analyses the obstacles to achieving gender equality in two very different countries and concludes that there is not “a one size fits all” solution. The book is a fascinating read. And its message is timely: we cannot give up, we must continue to seek ways to meet the challenge of gender inequality.’ Kate O’Regan, Justice of CCT of South Africa
‘In this fascinating read, the author addresses the critical complexities of women’s rights in transitional societies. Developing the intriguing concept of “conditional interdependence”, she challenges feminist conceptualizations based primarily on personal autonomy. Whether in her native South Africa or Afghanistan, progress occurs only with the support of the community of women AND men.’ Adrien K. Wing, University of Iowa College of Law, USA
About the Author: Penelope Andrews is Professor of Law and Dean at Albany Law School, New York. She is the co-editor of Post-Apartheid Constitutions: Perspectives On South Africa’s Basic Law (Ohio University Press, 2001) and Law and Rights: Global Perspectives on Constitutionalism and Governance (Vandeplas Publishing, 2008).