When we recognize, as a matter of priority, the human condition as one that is fundamentally embodied, and so inescapably vulnerable and dependent, we can better understand the nature of sexual complementarity. Seen from this perspective, sexual complementarity becomes sexual difference in service of human dependency. In short, man and woman exist as such to properly care for the vulnerable, dependent child, and more broadly to build up societal structures in which the vulnerable and dependent—that is each of us—is given the care she needs to flourish fully throughout her life. Sexual equality then is found not in relentlessly pursuing individual autonomy or denying sexual difference but in acknowledging and respecting the asymmetries that persist and, by their very nature, more dramatically impact women.
Erika Bachiochi is a Visiting Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a Research Fellow at the Terrence J. Murphy Institute at the University of St. Thomas. Ms. Bachiochi specializes in Equal Protection jurisprudence, feminist legal theory, and sexual ethics. An intellectual leader of the new feminism, Ms. Bachiochi speaks widely on abortion, sexual economics, the impact of the new sexual norms on women and the poor, care ethics, and authentic reproductive justice. Recent scholarly publications include “Embodied Equality: Debunking Equal Protection Arguments for Abortion Rights,” Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy (2011) and “Women, Sexual Asymmetry & Catholic Teaching,” Christian Bioethics (Oxford University, 2013). She has edited two books: Women, Sex & the Church: A Case for Catholic Teaching (Pauline Books and Media, 2011), and The Cost of Choice: Women Evaluate the Impact of Abortion (Encounter Books, 2004). Ms. Bachiochi is currently working on a book on rival feminisms and the Supreme Court, tentatively entitled, Missing From the Bench: Women, Rights, and the Supreme Court. She is the mother of six children.