Dalhousie Law Journal


Bertha Wilson, family, justice, Susan Moller Okin, individuals, public, private, inequality


Susan Moller Okin's assertion about the need for justice in families offers a challenging starting point for an assessment of the family in the work of Justice Wilson. Her assertion challenges us for a number of reasons. First, in claiming that justice in the family is a prerequisite to a just society, Okin compels us to focus careful attention on our family relationships if we aspire to a just resolution of our public and political debates. For her, a satisfactory theory of justice can be developed only if it takes account of the structures and power in family relationships, and the different experiences of men and women in families. In her view, however, both contemporary justice theories and those of earlier times2 have failed to take account of the family and its inherent injustice, thereby detracting from their usefulness as justice theories for our society. Thus, she argues that the "connections between domestic life and the rest of life' 3 require that we address the need for justice in families as a fundamental prerequisite to creating a just society.