Liberalism has the following weaknesses:
1. It focuses on the individual rights rather than collective rights
2. It is ahistorical. It does not have a comprehensive understanding of women’s role in history nor has it any analysis for the subordination (subjugation) of women.
3. It tends to be mechanical in its support for formal equality without a concrete understanding of the condition of different sections/classes of women and their specific problems. Hence it was able to express the demands of the middle classes (white women from middle classes in the US and upper class, upper caste women in India) but not those of women from various oppressed ethnic groups, castes and the working, labouring classes.
4. It is restricted to changes in the law, educational and employment opportunities, welfare measures etc and does not question the economic and political structures of the society which give rise to patriarchal discrimination. Hence it is reformist in its orientation, both in theory and in practice.
5. It believes that the state is neutral and can be made to intervene in favour of women when in fact the bourgeois state in the capitalist countries and the semi-colonial and semi-feudal Indian state are patriarchal and will not support women’s struggle for emancipation. The State is defending the interests of the ruling classes who benefit from the subordination and devalued status of women.
6. Since it focuses on changes in the law, and state schemes for women, it has emphasised lobbying and petitioning as means to get their demands. The liberal trend most often has restricted its activity to meetings and conventions and mobilising petitions calling for changes. It has rarely mobilised the strength of the mass of women and is in fact afraid of the militant mobilisation of poor women in large numbers. “Philosophical Trends in the Feminist Movement” by Anuradha Ghandy (via bourgeoisentimentality)