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Bioethics and WomenAcross the Lifespan$
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Mary Briody Mahowald

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195176179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195176170.001.0001

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 Virtue and Gender Justice in Health Care

 Virtue and Gender Justice in Health Care

(p.233) 14 Virtue and Gender Justice in Health Care
Bioethics and Women

Mary Briody Mahowald

Oxford University Press

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

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