The contemporary debate on the term "gender justice" has various dimensions. There have been philosophical discussions on rights and responsibilities, human agency and autonomy; political discussions on democratization and right to vote; legal discussions on the access to justice. Typically, the term is used to denote mechanisms to promote women's position in society and their access to social parameters like health, literacy, education, occupation and economic independence. While the conventional attitude has been to assume the traditional patriarchal values as normal, more radical approaches have tried to subvert the norms and challenge political status quo. The term is increasingly being used in place of gender equality and gender mainstreaming as the latter terms have more or less failed to communicate (Goetz, 2007, p20). In essence, gender justice is the ending of inequalities between men and women as well as the process to bring about the change.
The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action at the Fourth United Nations General World Conference on Women in 1995 required member countries to ensure fundamental rights of both men and women in all areas.
It was recognized that there is a tendency of marginalization of "women's issues" as a separate and somewhat inferior status. Gender mainstreaming by which all strategies and policies by member countries would have a gender perspective was agreed upon (UNRISD, 2000).
The realization that economic and social rights were in fact linked with political and civil rights were also translated in the sphere of gender justice. The dichotomies of rights in the context of women's rights surfaced aggressively through the demands for mainstreaming of gender issues, that is the conviction that women's rights were no different from human rights in other spheres like health, education, freedom and justice. It was realized that without the right to legal claims, women could...