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Women\u27s Work, Women\u27s Knowing: Intellectual Property and the Recognition of Women\u27s Traditional Knowledge

By Terra L. Gearhart-Sema


This Comment inserts a new question into the intellectual property academy\u27s dialogue on traditional knowledge: Where are the women? Political scientist Cynthia Enloe insists that this is the crucial question for any feminist examination of global law and politics, and it is taken up here in order to apply a gendered lens to traditional knowledge-a perspective which, until now, has been largely absent. The Comment identifies the knowledge that women have possessed for generations as a gendered cultural possession deserving of a place in the international intellectual property rights framework. Women should not have to inhabit the largely Western- and male-dominated paradigm of the scientific inventor in order to gain recognition for and avoid exploitation of their knowledge by commercial actors in the international marketplace. However, legal protections for women\u27s traditional knowledge must be extended in keeping with feminist values of equality and dignity; thus the Comment presents principles to be used in deciding how best to bring attention to women\u27s traditional knowledge and applies them to three frameworks of international property rights. Finally, the Comment makes suggestions for future policy goals to further the recognition of women\u27s traditional knowledge

Topics: Law
Publisher: Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository
Year: 2016
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