Women, Law and Public Opinion
In a democratic set up, relationship between law and public opinion is of great significance. This book seeks to examine the complex interaction between the two in the context of women's rights in the world's largest liberal democracies-- USA and India. This comparative empirical study is of the abortion debate in the USA and the dowry problem in India. While in the USA, public opinion stood ahead of law and influenced subsequent judicial decision and policy-making; in India, law tried to lead the change in public opinion but encountered very strong public resistance and had to be modified in the line of the prevailing social opinion. To what extent was law an effective instrument in transforming the status of women in India and the USA has been examined in a comparative framework. It reveals that the existing patriarchal social arrangements and values in the two settings prevented effective implementation of legally mandated social change in favour of women. Despite legal guarantee of equal rights, women's actual capacity to exercise them effectively remains restricted in both the countries.
Publication Date: 1/1/2001