Philosophy Colloquium, Hülya Şimga

Women and Human Rights: Ungendering the “Human”

By Hülya Şimga (Maltepe, Philosophy)

Date: Friday 17th January, 2020

Time: 1500-1630

Place: H-232

Abstract: From a human rights perspective, the main reason why humanity continue to suffer atrocities, crimes and barbarous acts seems to be related to the failure to see the “human” in each and every one as beyond the distinctions they may otherwise have. This paper concerns itself with one such distinction, namely, gender, in the particular context of sexism against women. As I will try to substantiate through a discussion on “women’s human rights,” I believe that the deep-seated and wide-spread prejudices about women give rise to the most critical and insidious form of discrimination, distinguishing gender from other kinds of distinctions that engender human rights violations. Grounding my arguments primarily on philosophical anthropology and human rights form that particular perspective, I will claim that a careful scrutiny of “women’s human rights,”—especially in terms of the influence of phallogocentrism on the very concept of human—not only reveals that sexism should be considered as categorically distinct from the other types of discrimination but that it also implicates “gender equality” as a most important question for humanity.

About the speaker: Prof. Hülya Şimga got her bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Boğaziçi University. She then went to the USA and did her master’s and Ph.D. in philosophy at Duquesne University. She is currently a faculty member at Maltepe University, holding a double appointment in the Philosophy and the Human Rights Departments. Her work concentrates on gender studies, women’s human rights and ethics. She serves as a board member in the Philosophical Association of Turkey and Kuçuradi Philosophy and Human Rights Foundation. She is the chairholder of the UNESCO Chair for Gender Equality and Culture as well as the Director of the Center for Women’s Studies at Maltepe University. Her book, A Question for Humanity: Sexism, Oppression and Women’s Human Rights) has recently been published by Lit Verlag.


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