Virtue and Gender Justice in Health Care

Mary Briody Mahowald

in Bioethics and Women

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780195176179
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786558 | DOI:
  Virtue and Gender Justice in Health Care

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After recapitulating the egalitarian perspective of the book, this chapter explains how this is necessarily directed toward an ideal of justice. The ideal is best approximated through an ethic of virtue rather than an ethic of obligation. An egalitarian ethic of virtue promotes the flourishing of all individuals throughout the life span by attending to their different needs, preferences, and capabilities, and by minimizing the inequities that are often associated with these differences. An ethic of obligation requires minimal efforts to reduce these inequities, whereas an ethic of virtue calls for maximal efforts to reduce them. In the context of women’s health care, gender justice demands attention to gender differences as both obligatory and virtuous.

Keywords: virtue; obligation; gender justice; women’s health care; ideal; egalitarian perspective; flourishing; capabilities; gender difference

Chapter.  3211 words. 

Subjects: Feminist Philosophy

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