Nisha Rathode (Editor)

Susan Moller Okin

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Nationality  American
Name  Susan Okin
Role  Author

Susan Moller Okin newsstanfordedunews2004march10gifsokin133jpg
Born  July 19, 1946 (1946-07-19) Auckland, New Zealand
Alma mater  University of Auckland University of Oxford Harvard University
Notable work  Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?
Main interests  Feminist political philosophy
Died  March 3, 2004, Lincoln, Massachusetts, United States
Education  University of Auckland, University of Oxford, Harvard University
Books  Justice - gender and the family, Is Multiculturalism Bad for W, Women in Western political t

Course Supplement 1: Susan Moller Okin

Susan Moller Okin (July 19, 1946 – March 3, 2004), was a liberal feminist political philosopher and author.



Okin was born in 1946 in Auckland, New Zealand, and attended Remuera Primary School, Remuera Intermediate and Epsom Girls' Grammar School, where she was Dux in 1963.

She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Auckland in 1966, a master of philosophy degree from Oxford in 1970 and a doctorate from Harvard in 1975.

She taught at the University of Auckland, Vassar, Brandeis and Harvard before joining Stanford's faculty.

Okin became the Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society at Stanford University in 1990.

Okin held a visiting professorship at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at the time of her death in 2004.

Okin was found dead in her home in Lincoln, Massachusetts on March 3, 2004. She was 57 years old. The cause of death is still unknown, but authorities do not believe there was any foul play.


In 1979 she published Women in Western Political Thought, in which she details the history of the perceptions of women in western political philosophy.

Her 1989 book Justice, Gender, and the Family is a critique of modern theories of justice. These theories include the liberalism of John Rawls, the libertarianism of Robert Nozick, and the communitarianism of Alasdair MacIntyre and Michael Walzer. For each theorist's major work she argues that a foundational assumption is incorrect because of a faulty perception of gender or family relations. More broadly, according to Okin, these theorists write from a male perspective that wrongly assumes that the institution of the family is just. She believes that the family perpetuates gender inequalities throughout all of society, particularly because children acquire their values and ideas in the family's sexist setting, then grow up to enact these ideas as adults. If a theory of justice is to be complete, Okin asserts that it must include women and it must address the gender inequalities she believes are prevalent in modern-day families.

In 1993, with Jane Mansbridge, she summarized much of her own and others' work in the article on "Feminism," in Robert E. Goodin and Philip Petit, eds., A Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy, 269-290, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993), and the next year, also with Mansbridge, published a two-volume collection of feminist writing, entitled Feminism (schools of thought in politics).[Aldershot, England and Brookfield, Vermont, USA: E. Elgar. ISBN 9781852785659].

In her 1999 essay, later expanded into an anthology, "Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?" Okin argues that a concern for the preservation of cultural diversity should not overshadow the discriminatory nature of gender roles in many traditional minority cultures, that, at the very least, "culture" should not be used as an excuse for rolling back the women's rights movement.


Susan Moller Okin Wikipedia