Amartya Sen: Feminism is an issue of humanity

“I think gender inequality is not the natural human condition. But the idea that somehow women have to be in an inferior position – or not quite such dominant position – is really wholly artificial for me” says Amartya Sen. He continues by delving deeper into what he considers the two main causes of inequality today in relations to gender: the issues of enlightenment and agency.

In the interview he argues that of these two agency is easier to address. Once oppressed people are given greater role, agency, in running their lives, for example through education or employment,  you start to see that their lives change.

The issue of enlightenment is more complicated Sen posits. If for example you have a society that believes it is better to have  boy, rather than a girl, child then that in itself is debilitating because all human beings deserve the same respect. Ideas of human rights depend on it, ideas of social equity depend on it. He ends by stating that "the whole issue of feminism is also an issue of humanity".