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Gender Equality

Introduction

Gender equality refers to a situation where the representation of both women and men is equal. This means that man and women have equal rights on everything, they have equal opportunities, and their needs are valued on the same level. Gender equality means that men and women are equal.

In a society, men have left women behind in various aspects. Some international indices that have been brought up have shown this. These indices were based on various parameters, where it was found that women were disadvantaged in most sectors, especially in the provision of healthcare, education, and the labor market. In the world, over 70 percent of the poor people that earn less than one dollar daily, are female. This has forced many organizations, such as the United Nations, to invest heavily in ensuring women are empowered.

This essay will be seeking to look at different explanations to ensure that gender equality is achieved. In the essay, I will major on three theories in an attempt to explain the moral reasoning why gender equality needs to be embraced. The easy will discuss the three theories, in relation to gender equality, and make some evaluations.

Ethical Explanation

1. Utilitarian Ethical Theory

According to this theory, a decision or policy should be made to help the largest number of people. The argument is that any action that is acceptable among the greatest number of people is considered morally right. The action that brings sadness to the largest number of people is said to be morally wrong. The happiness or unhappiness of the people involved here depends on the results of the actions. So, before doing something or coming up with a policy it is always necessary to ensure that the results of the policy or action will make more people happy than those sad. This means that it should be beneficial to more people than those it does not help. After all, people are made happy with what benefits them, and are unhappy with what does not help them (Caae.phil.cmu.edu, 2002).

In this case, when there is gender equality, more people are happy. This is because all the resources are shared equally among people of all genders, no person is discriminated based on their gender, and all services are offered equally irrespective of the gender (Singleton, 2014). When there is no gender equality, many people are sad since they are discriminated. This means that the gender equality is a moral right.

2. Deontological Ethical Theory

Deontological theories placed emphasis on the moral rules and obligations. This means that decision-making should be guided by these rules and regulations. When people follow these rules and obligations, they are said to be behaving morally well. However, disregard of these rules or obligations is considered morally wrong.

There are different types of deontological theories, but the general one is a divine command. This is where the ethical obligations are derived from a supernatural being. People follow these rules and obligations. This is because they believe these were put in place by the supernatural being they follow. Duty theory is where people have a moral obligation that comes from a duty they owe someone. For example, duties of care parents have over their children. Rights theory is where people do something since they believe it is morally right to do so. It could also be referred to as libertarianism. Contractarianism is where people do right since some moral agents that demand they uphold this guide them. For example, where there is mutual benefit, both parties will most likely uphold morals. Lastly, is the monistic deontology where something could be said to be morally right, is it is in agreement with all the above-mentioned principles (Darwall, 2003). 

In this case, gender equality can be said to be a monistic deontology since it agrees with all the deontological features. Where there is gender equality, there is an outstanding characteristic of fairness. In all the features of deontological ethics, fairness is emphasized.

3. Consequentialism Ethical Theory

This theory takes into account the outcomes of actions or policies. According to the theory, some action or policy is either considered wrong or right based on the results. This means that if the results of a policy or action are positive, then it is considered morally right. However, a policy or action is said to be morally wrong if it has negative consequences. This is because positive results are worth pursuing, while negative effects are worth avoiding. The main essence of this theory is to ensure that the moral responsibility to ensure maximum positive outcome with minimum negative outcome of the policy or action (Odell, 2004).

Looking at gender equality in the same line with the utilitarianism theory, we would conclude that gender equality has impacts that are more positive while lack of it has negative impacts. As such, morally, gender equality should be emphasized (Kizza, 2010).
Looking at the result of lack of gender equality, one would realize that gender discrimination is one such result. This means that either women or men are discriminated in instances where there are no equal opportunities for both sexes, and some of them are treated with more regard than the other. Discrimination is a moral wrong. This means that discrimination as an act should be avoided at all costs since it is a moral wrong. On the other hand, fairness is a major attribute that is exhibited when there is gender equality. Since the fairness is a moral right, it should be encouraged.

Analysis of the Theories

Of the three theories, the Consequentialism theory best answers the questions. This can be explained using the following features.

1. Meaning of Gender Equality

According to the theory, saying men and women are equal means that they should all be treated as equal. That is resources should be shared equally to both women and men. According to the Consequentialism theory, equal sharing of resources is a positive result of gender equality. Using other theories, this could be misinterpreted.

Here the Utilitarian theory is at fault since one could argue that since the main idea of the theory is to make most people be happy with the decision, the majority of the gender should be given an upper hand when sharing the resources at hand. This would be wrong. In addition, according to the deontological theory, some deontological systems could favor one gender over the other. For example, in Islam women are not allowed to hold leadership positions. Following such a deontological system, women would be disadvantaged over men and there will be no real gender equality.

2. Are There Ways in Which Women and Men Are Treated Differently That Are Unjust?

According to the Consequentialism theory, since outcomes guide the decision-making, unjust decisions will not be made. This means that both women and men will be treated with justice. Using the deontological theory, it would not be unjust depending on the deontological system that is being used; women and men could be treated in an unjust manner. In the example of Islam, it is unjust to deny women leadership positions. Using the utilitarian theory, there could be lack of justice, as well. Since the aim is to ensure that the majority of people are happy, this could lead to sadness to the minority. The gender group that comprises of the minority could be treated with the lack of justice.

3. Effects of Social Structures and Cultural Trends on Opinion Regarding Equality

Using the Consequentialism theory, there are no social aspects that influence gender equality. According to this theory, gender equality is influenced by universal aspect of results. If the results are positive, then the action or policy is accepted irrespective of societal aspects that are in dominance. The only result that social aspects would have is on the view of results. For example, depending on the situation, a positive result would be considered negative – for some societal reasons. Using the Utilitarian theory, the societal aspects could easily have an impact since the opinion of the majority of the people would be influenced by these societal factors. Using the Deontological theory, different societies have different Deontological systems. This means that using this theory, societal aspects will influence the opinion towards gender equality.

What Actions Should be Taken?

The best-case scenario is combining the three theories. This means that individuals, religions and the society should utilize the three theories together, they should not ignore any of them, and neither should they follow it without considering the others. For example, when faced with a situation, they should consider the reasoning using the Deontological, Consequentialism, and then the Utilitarian theory in that order. The decision that they come up with should conform to the argument according to the Deontological theory, then the Consequentialism theory, and lastly Utilitarian theory. However, some issues could not be acceptable using one or two theories but are acceptable using the other theories. Such issues could be vetted and if they are passed ethically fit, they should be allowed to pass.

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