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These also share a notion of a covenant—a form of contract between a chosen people and their maker in which loyalty and obedience is exchanged for protection and guidance. In some religions, temporal representatives of divine authority—priests, imams, rabbis—are not expected to be held accountable by their congregations but rather to by a higher moral authority, in a process demanding spiritual inspiration and self-governance that is beyond the bounds imposed by formal rules. The flaws in this system at least in the Catholic Church have come to light in the scandals about sexual and other forms of abuse by church authorities, prompting more open debate about the dilemma of reconciling a ‘sacred calling’ with the need for ‘secular accountability’ (Bullis 2001).

14 The distinctions that follow are drawn from Goetz and Jenkins 2005. Gender Justice, Citizenship and Entitlements 47 Less crude forms of gender injustice are found in the varying degrees of ‘bias’ in justice systems and in public actions, where patriarchal norms seep into supposedly impartial or genderneutral arrangements. This discounts women’s experiences of injustice and prejudices their chances of a fair hearing, or of realizing entitlements to resources. Projects to advance gender justice have to differentiate between capture and bias in setting priorities for action.

A dramatic example of this kind of struggle is the ‘right to information’ campaign of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan 13 The challenge of reorienting public services to respond to the needs of the poor in developing countries has lately inspired considerable reflection on the connection between service access and citizenship rights, and about the capacity of the poor to use ‘voice’ to activate a public sector response when their ‘voice’ and public sector institutions are already deeply compromised by elite, gender, or racial biases.

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