Carol Pateman (1988), in her infl uential writings on the nature of citizenship, argued that behind the notion of a social contract, which classic political theorists used to describe modern forms of civil society and modern forms of state regulation, lay a sexual contract. This other contract shaped the relations between men and women in different periods in society, providing the conditions for the operation of the social contract. Pateman points out that without an understanding of the relationship between, on the one hand, the processes of democratic development and, on the other hand, the historical legacy of women’s subjection to men through a sexual contract, political theorists would be unable to describe the social order. Following a similar line, Sylvia Walby (1994) suggests that before citizenship can be properly understood, a dynamic theory of gender relations in both the public and private spheres is required.