Dr. M.L.P. (Titia) Loenen is professor of Gender and Law
at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. At the moment she
is also Director of Research and Vice-Dean of the Faculty
of Law. She holds degrees in history and law from Leiden
University. Her dissertation (1992) dealt with the conceptualization
of equality and non-discrimination law in the United States
and the Netherlands. Dr. Loenen's research covers human
rights, equality theory, international, European and Dutch
non-discrimination law, and family law. Her research is
now focusing on gender and multicultural issues. Her work
takes a clear international and comparative interest which
has brought her as a Fulbright visiting scholar to New York
University Law School (Fall 1990), as a visiting lecturer
to the University of the Western Cape (South Africa, Fall
1995) and as Parsons Visiting Scholar to Sydney University
Law School (September 2001). Dr. Loenen is co-editor of
the Dutch journal of human rights, the NJCM-Bulletin, and
member of the editorial board of the South-African 'Democracy
and Development Journal'.
T. Loenen, Rethinking sex equality as a human right, Netherlands
Quarterly of Human Rights 12(1994)3, 253-270; also translated
in French and published as:
T. Loenen, L'égalité des sexes - Un droit
fondamental à repenser, in: Les femmes et la construction
Européenne. Les Cahiers du Grif, Bruxelles 1994,
T. Loenen & P. Rodrigues (eds), Non-discrimination
law: comparative perspectives, Kluwer Law International,
The Hague/London/Boston 1999.
T. Loenen, Family law issues in a multicultural setting:
abolishing or reaffirming sex as a legally relevant category?
A human rights approach, Netherlands Quarterly of Human
Rights 2002, p. 423-443.
T. Loenen, Human rights and substantive or inclusionary
equality, in: Report of the International Conference
on Fundamental Rights in a Pluralistic Society, Ministerie
van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties (Ministry
of Home Affairs), The Hague 2004, p. 79-89.
Gender, Multiculturalism and Human Rights in a Comparative
and International Perspective
The research project is part of a larger research program
exploring issues of gender, multiculturalism and human rights
in a comparative and international perspective. Is multiculturalism
indeed 'bad for women' as is sometimes averred? A human
rights focus is perceived as crucial, as human rights provide
a legally binding, normative framework for assessing the
legitimacy of any solutions suggested for the dilemma's
faced in this respect by modern societies. A comparative
approach is very important as well since the issues at stake
are often very similar indeed across cultures and countries.
This calls for a comprehensive inquiry into the different
approaches and solutions sought. Which ones are most promising
in which contexts?
The specific research proposed for the NCS program covers
the part comparing European and US approaches to issues
of gender and religious and cultural pluralism. It will
involve a multidisciplinary perspective by covering current
political-philosophical discourse on multiculturalism, as
well as legal approaches to multicultural issues on both
sides of the Atlantic, with special emphasis on their consequences
for the position of women.
The research topic falls squarely within the NCS theme.
It tries to rethink equality for women in a multicultural
setting, be it on a global or a national level, in which
they run the risk of being caught between their gender and
their ethnic/religious identity. In the often dominant liberal
discourse, affirming the importance of gender equality may
well mean denying the importance of religious and cultural
identity and vice versa, whereas many women will find both
essential to their lives. It is adamant we find a way out
of this global dilemma, which threatens to divide women
and weaken their position worldwide. To achieve this a cross-cultural
dialogue among women is crucial.