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JSPES, Vol. 28, No. 2 (Summer 2003 )
pp. 217-248

The Feminist Paradox: An Index of Cultural Evolution

Ronald S. Immerman, Wade C. Mackey

The twentieth century witnessed a sea-change in cultural evolution. Effective and available reproductive technology was aligned with the ideology of gender egalitarianism, but ideological and moral systems remain a variable. As a consequence of that variability, gender complementarity as a worldview is placed in direct competition with gender egalitarianism. The argument is presented that over generations gender complementarity has a clear and decisive advantage over gender egalitarianism. However, increased autonomy and freedoms for one cohort of women will be systematically followed by decreased autonomy and freedoms for subsequent cohorts of women. No current community has managed to solve the paradox, and such a putative solution is still over the temporal horizon.