Okin, Susan Moller 1946-2004

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OKIN, Susan Moller 1946-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born July 19, 1946, in Auckland, New Zealand; died March 3, 2004, in Lincoln, MA. Philosopher, educator, and author. Okin was a Stanford University professor well known as a feminist political philosopher. Her childhood life growing up among strong-willed women led her to question her professor's stance on women's issues while at the University of Auckland. Graduating there in 1967, she earned her B.Phil. in 1970 from Somerville College, Oxford, and her Ph.D. from Harvard in 1975. After a few visiting professor stints, she became an assistant professor of political theory at Brandeis University in 1976. Her first book, Women in Western Political Thought (1979), was based on her Ph.D. dissertation. After being promoted to full professor in 1989 at Brandeis, Okin accepted a position as Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society at Stanford in 1990, where she was also director of the ethics in society program. Throughout her career, she argued for more equity for women in society, politics, and business, declaring that the root of the imbalance in society that favored men found its basis in accepted family structures. One of her fervent positions was that the legal system was biased against women and that courts, in considering divorce cases, should take into greater consideration the fact that women have less income-earning power; furthermore, she brought attention to the injustice of courts considering the "cultural defense" argument as valid when male defendants among minorities from Asian and Middle Eastern origin tried to justify abuse of women as a part of their culture. Most recently, Okin worked in India with the Global Fund for Women to support women's rights. Among her other books are Justice, Gender, and the Family (1989) and Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women? (1999). Okin was working as a distinguished visiting professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard when she apparently died of natural causes.



Los Angeles Times, March 12, 2004, p. B14.

Washington Post, March 13, 2004, p. B6.

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Okin, Susan Moller 1946-2004

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