Susan Okin’s radical thesis in
Justice, Gender, and the Familyis that the ideal of the gender-structured family is source of persistent gender inequality in politics, the workplace, and actual families. However, the book has widely been taken to be making a much narrower claim: that theorists of justice should extend their analysis to the family, ensuring that the division of labor in the family is just. As a result of this misreading, feminist theorists dismissed the book as conventional when it was published, whereas political theorists largely viewed it as innovative. This chapter recenters the radical thesis of the book, shows how Okin’s most important critics have misunderstood it, and discusses why now perhaps more than even in 1989, we should revisit this book.