Free Essay

Ethics

In: Business and Management

Submitted By anabelcohen
Words 6045
Pages 25
r{,r,, ^'r\. J. L
!--.,,r'*-

A

4l^

4^ *-

rwc,\

l*"d ,

Cr^V*Voa^{Y /Aotql [ss^'/>

?**, o^ft*^Na

JJ rrr!

alt

i

, 3 cz

€);o\t -',

, l)*s*xY

YUrrur(J

Susan Moller Okin
"ls Multiculturalism Bad for Women?"
Ethics in Society and Profe.ssor o,f.Politiin Western Political Thought andJustice, cal Science atStanford rJniversity, isthe authorofwomen
Cender, and the FamilY.
Susan

Moller Okin,

the

Marta

Sutton Weeks Professor

of

arise between acceptance of diversity
In this article, Okin explores some of the tensions that the rights and well-being of women'
(a key telnA of multicultural'ism) and concern for

'

As You Recd, Consiiler This:
,'Eeminism" .and "multicultur rtlism"
1.
fine each of these terms?

aTe

two key terms in okin's arlrcle' How does

she de-

originallypublisheditlheBostonReview,october/November199?'ReprintedinsusanMollerOkin'IsMulticulc' Nussbaum (Princeton: PrinceMatthew Howard' and Martha turalism Bad for women? edited by Joshua cohen,
Press, 1999). ton UniversitY

Chapter

7 .

Gender

287

2. Why, according to Kymticka, do certain minority groups deserve special group rights?
3. \Mhat is the liberal response to Okin's crlttque?'Nhatrejoinder does Olcrn offer to this response?

Until the past few decades, minority groups-immigrants as well as indigenous peoples-were typically expected to assimilate into majority cultures. This assimilationist expectation is now often considered oppressive, and many Western countries are seeking to devise new policies that are more responsive to persistent cultural differences. The appropriate policies vary with context: Countries such as England with established churches or state supported religious education find it hard to resist demands to extend state support to minority religious schools; countries such as France with traditions of strictly secular public education struggle over whether the clothing required by minority religions may be worn in the public schools. But one issue recurs across all contexts? though it has gone virtually unnoticed in current debate: What should be done when the claims of minority cultures or religions clash with the norm of gender equality that is at least formally endorsed by liberal states
(however much they continue to violate it in their practice)?
In the late 1980s, for example, a sharp public controversy erupted in France about whether
Magrbin girls could attend school wearing the traditional Muslim headscarves regarded as proper attire for postpubescent young women. Staunch defenders of secular education lined up with some feminists and far-right nationalists against the practice; much of the old left supported the multiculturalist demands for flexibility and respect for diversity, accusing opponents of racism or cultural imperialism. At the very same time, however, the public was virtually silent about a problem of vastly greater importance to many French Arab and African immigrant women: polygamy.
During the 1980s, the French government quietly permitted immigrant men to bring multiple wives into the country, to the point where an estimated 200,000 families in Paris are now polygamous.
Any suspicion that official concern over headscarves was motivated by an impulse toward gender equality is belied by the easy adoption of a permissive policy on polygamy, despite the burdens this practice imposes on women and the warnings issued by women from the relevant cultures. On this issue, no politically effective opposition galvanized. But once reporters finally got around to interviewing the wives, they discovered what the government could have learned years earlier: that the women affected by polygamy regarded it as an inescapable and barely tolerable institution in their
African countries oforigin, and an unbearable imposition in the French context. Overcrowded apartments and the lack of each wife's private space lead to immense hostility, resentment, even violence both among the wives and against each other's children.
In part because of the strain on the welfare state caused by families with 20-30 members, the
French government has recently decided to recognize only one wife and consider all the other marriages annulled. But what will happen to all the other wives and children? Having neglected women's view on polygamy for so long, the government now seems to be abdicating its responsibility for the vulnerability that women and children incurred because of its rash policy.
The French accommodation of polygamy illustrates a deep and growing tension between feminism and multiculturalist concerns to protect cultural diversity. I think we-dspecially those of us who consider ourselves politically progressive and opposed to all forms of oppression-have been too quick to assume that feminism and multiculturalism are both good things which are easily reconciled.

288

Part

Two .

Matters of Diversity and Equality

I shall argue instead that there is considerable likelihood of tension between them-more precisely, between feminism and a multiculturalist commitment to group rights for minority cultures.
A few words to explain the terms and focus of my argument. By "feminism," I mean the belief that women should not be disadvantaged by their sex, that they should be recognized as having human dignity equally with men, and the opportunity to live as fulfilling and as freely chosen lives as men can. "Multiculturalism" is harder to pin down, but the particular aspect that concerns me here is the claim, made in the context of basically liberal democracies, that minority cultures or ways of life are not sufficiently protected by ensuring the individual rights of their members and as a consequence should also be protected with special group rights or privileges. In the French case, for example, the right to contract polygamous marriages clearly constituted a group right, not available to the rest of the population. In other cases, groups claim rights to govern themselves, have guaranteed political representation, or be exempt from generally applicable law.
Demands for such group rights are growing-from indigenous native populations, minority ethnic or religious-groups, and formerly colonized peoples (at least, when the latter immigrate to the former colonial state). These groups, it is argued, have their own "societal cultures" which-as Will
Kymlicka, the foremost contemporary defender of cultural group rights, says-provide "members with meaningful ways of life across the full range of human activities, including social, educational".religious, recreational, and economic life, encompassing both public and private spheres."l Because societal cultures play so pervasive and fundamental a role in the lives of members, and because such cultures are threatened with extinction, minority cultures should be protected by special rights: That, in essence, is the case for group rights.
Some proponents of group rights argue that even cultures that "flout the rights of [their individual membersl in a liberal society"2 should be accorded group rights or privileges if their minority sta{us endangers the culture's continued existence. Others do not claim that all minority cultural, groups should have special rights, but rather that such groups-even illiberal ones, that violate their individual members' rights, requiring them to conform to group beliefs 61 1e111s-l6ye the right to be "let alone" in a liberal society.3 Both claims seem clearly inconsistent with the.basie liberal value of individual freedom, which entails that group rights should not trump the individual rights of their members; thus, I will not address the problems they present for feminists here.a But some defenders of multiculturalism largely confine their defense of group rights to groups that are internally liberal.5
Even with these restrictions, feminists-anyone, that is, who endorses the moral equ_4lity of men and women-should remain skeptical. So I will argue.

'

Geniler and Culture

Most cultures are suffused with practices and ideologies concerning gender. Suppose, then, that a culture endorses and facilitates the control of men over women in various ways (even if informally, in the private sphere of domestic life). Suppose, too, that there are fairly clear disparities of power between the sexes, such that the more powerful, male members are those who are generally in a position to determine and articulate the group's beliefs, practices, and interests. Under such conditions, group rights are potentially, and in many cases actually, antifeminist. They substantially limit the capacities of women and girls of that culture to live with human dignity equal to that of men and boys, and to live as freely chosen lives as they can.

Chapter

7 .

Gender

289

Advocates of group rights for minorities within liberal states have not adequately addressed this simple critique of group rights, for at least two reasons. First, they tend to treat cultural groups as monoliths-to pay more attention to differences between and among groups than to differences within them. Specifically, they give little or no recognition to the fact that minority cultural groups' like the societies in which they exist (though to a greater or lesser extent), are themselves gendered, with substantial differences ofpower and advantage between men and women. Second, advocates of group rights pay eo or little attention to the private sphere. Some of the best liberal defenses of group rights urge that individuals need "a culture of their own," and that only within such a culture can people develop a sense of self-esteem or self-respect, or the capactty to decide what kind of life is good for them. But such arguments typically neglect both the different roles that cultural groups require

of their members and the context in which persons' senses of themselves and their capacities are first formed and inwhich culture is first transmitted-the realm of domestic or family life.
When we correct for these deficiencies by paying attention to internal differences and to the private arena, two particularly important connections between culture and gender come into sharp relief, both ofwhich underscore the force ofthe simple critique. First, the sphere ofpersonal, sexual, and reproductive life provides a central focus of most cultures, a dominant theme in cultural practices and rules. Religious or cultural groups are often particularly concerned with "personal law"-the laws of marriage, divorce, child custody, division and control of family property, and inheritance. As a rule, then, the defense of "cultural practices" is likely to have much greater impact on the lives of women and girls than those of men and boys, since far more of women's time and energy goes into preserving and maintaining the personal, familial, and reproductive side of life. Obviously culture is not only about domestic arrangements, but they do provide a major focus of most contemporary cultures. Home is, after all, where much ofculture is practiced, preserved, and transmitted to the young. In turn, the distribution of responsibilities and power at home has a major impact on who can participate in and influence the more public parts of the cultural life, where rules and regulatiorrs about both public and private life are made.
Second, most cultures have as one of their principal aims the control of women by men. Consider, fbrExample, the founding myths of Greek and Roman antiquity, and of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: they are rife with attempts to justify the control and subordination of women. These myths consist of a combination of denials of women's role in reproduction, appropriations by men of the power to reproduce themselves, characterizations of women as overly emotional, untrustworthy, evil, or sexually dangerous, and refusals to acknowledge mothers' rights over the disposition of their children. Think of Athena, sprung from the head of Zeus, and of Romulus and Remus, reared without a human mother. Or Adam, made by a male God, who then (at least according to one of the two biblical versions of the story) made Eve out of part of Adam. Consider Eve, whose weakness led
Adam astray. Think of all those endless "begats" in Genesis, where women's primary role in reproduction is completely ignored, or of the textual justifications for polygamy, once practiced in Judaism, still practic-ea-in-iiiany parts of the Islamic world and (though illegally) by Mormons in some parts of the United States. Consider, too, the story of Abraham, a pivotal turning point in the development of monotheism. God commands Abraham to sacrifice "his" greatly loved son. Abraham prepares to do exactly what God asks of him, without even telling, much less asking, Isaai's mother,
Sarah. Abraham's absolute obedience to God makes him the central, fundamental model of faith, for all three religions.

290

Part

Two .

Matters of Diversity and Equality

While the powerful drive to control vr6fi1sn-4nd to blame and punish them for men's difficulty controlling their own sexual impulses-has been softened considerably in the more progressive, reformed versions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, it remains strong in their more orthodox .or fundamentalist versions. Moreover, it is by no means confined to Western or monotheistic cultures.
Many of the world's traditions and cultures, including those practiced within formerly conquered or colonized nation states-certainly including most of the peoples of Africa, the Middle East, Latin
America and Asia-are quite distinctly patriarchal. They too have elaborate patterns of socialization, rituals, matrimonial customs, and other cultural practices (including systems of property ownership and control ofresources) aimed at bringing women's sexuality and reproductive capabilities under men's control. Many such practices make it virtually impossible for women to choose to live independently of men, to be celibate or lesbian, or not to have children.
Those who practice some of the most controversial such customs-clitoridecl.or.r4a the marriage of children or marriages that are otherwise coerced, or polygarry,-sometimes explicitly defend them as necessary for controlling women, and openly acknowledge that the customs persist at men's insistence. In an interview with New York Times reporter Celia Dugger, practitioners of clitoridectomy in COte d'Ivoire and Togo explained that the practice "helps insure a girl's virginity before marriage and fidelity afterward by reducing sex to a marital obligation." As a female exciser said,
"[a] woman's role in life is to care for her children, keep house and cook. If she has not been cut, [she] might think about her own sexual pleasure."6 In Egypt, where a law banning female genital cutting was recently overturned by a court, supporters ofthe practice say it "curbs a girl's sexual appetite and makes her more marriageable."T Moreover, in such contexts, many women have no economically viable alternative to marriage. Men in polygamous cultures, too, readily acknowledge that the practice accords with their self-interest and is a means of controlling women. As a French immigrant from Mali said in a recent interview: "When my wife is sick and I don't have another, who will care for me? . . . [O]ne wife on her own is trouble. When there are several, they are forced to be polite and well behaved. If they misbehave, you threaten that you'll take another wife." Women apparently see polygamy very differently. French African irnmigrant women deny that they like polygamy, and say not only that they are given "no choice" in the matter, but that their female forebears in Africa did not like it either.8 As for child or otherwise coerced marriage: this practice is clearly a way not only of controlling whom the girls or young women marry, but also of ensuring that they are virgins at the time of marriage and, often, enhancing the husband's power by creating a significant age difference between husbands and wives.

Consider, too, the practice-common in much of Latin America, rural South East Asia and parts of West Africa-of'encouraging or even requiring a rape victim to marry the rapist. In many such cultures-including fourteen countries of Latin America-rapists are legally exonerated if they marry or (in some cases) even offer to marry their victims. Clearly, rape is not seen in these cultures primarily as a violent assault on the girl or woman herself, but rather as a serious injury to her family and its honor. By marrying his victim, the rapist can help restore the family's honor and relieve it of a daughter who, as "damaged goods," has become unmarriageable. In Peru, this barbaric law was amended for the worse in 199 I : the co-defendants in a gang rape are now all exonerated if one of them offers to marry the victim (feminists are fighting to get the law repealed). As a Peruvian taxi driver explained: "Marriage is the right and proper thing to do after a rape. A raped woman is a used item.
No one wants her. At least with this law the woman will get a husband.'"e It is hard to imagine a worse fate for a woman than being pressured into marrying the man who has raped her. But worse fates do

j
'1
l

l

Chapter

7 .

297

Gender

exist in some cultures-notably in Pakistan and parts of the Arab Middle East, where women who bring rape charges are quite frequently charged with the serious Muslim offense of zina, or sex outside of marriage. Law allows for the whipping or imprisonment of such a woman, and culture condones the killing or pressuring into suicide of a raped woman by relatives concerned to restore the

family's honor.ro
Thus, many culturally-based customs aim to control women and render them, especially sex-

ually and ieproductively, servile to men's desires and interests. Sometimes, moreover, "culture" or
"traditions" are so closely linked with the control of women that they are virtually equated. In a recent news report about a small community of Orthodox Jews living in the mountains of Yemenironically, from a feminist point of view, the story was entitled "Yemen's small Jewish community thrives on mixed traditions"-the elderly leader of this small polygamous sect is quoted as saying:
"We are Orthodox Jews, very keen on our traditions. If we go to Israel, we will lose hold over our daughters, our wives and our sisters." One of his sons added: "We are like Muslims, we do not allow our women to uncover their faces."ll Thus the servitude of women is presented as virtually synonymous with "our traditions." (Only blindness to sexual servitude can explain the title; it is inconceivable that the article would have carried such a title if it were about a community that practiced any kind of slavery but sexual slavery.)
While virtually all of the world's cultures have distinctly patriarchal pasts, some-mostly, though by no means exclusively, Western liberal cultures-have departed far further from them than others. Western cultures, of course, still practice many forms of sex discrimination. They place far more stress on beauty, thinness, and youth in females and on intellectual accomplishment, skill, and strength in males; they expect women to perform for no economic reward far more than half of the unpaid work of their families, whether or not they also work for wages; partly as a consequence of this and partly because of workplace discrimination, women are far more likely than men to become poor; girls and women are also subjected by men to a great deal of (illegal) violence, including sexual violence. But women in more liberal cultures are, at the same time, legally guaranteed many of the same freedoms and opportunities'as rnen. In addition, most families in such cultures, with the exception of some religious fundamentalists, do not communicate to their daughters that they are of less value than boys, that their lives are to be confined to domesticity and service to men and children, and that the only positive value of their sexuality is that it be strictly confined to marriage, the service of men, and reproductive ends. This, as we have seen, is quite different from women's situation in many of the world's other cultures, including many of those from which immigrants to Europe and

Northern America come.

Group Rights?
Most cultures are patriarchal, then, and many (though not all) of the cultural minorities that claim group rights are more patriarchal than the surrounding cultures. So it is no surprise that the cultural importance of maintaining control over women shouts out to us in the examples given in the literature on cultural diversity and group rights within liberal states. Yet, though it shouts out, it is seldom explicitly addressed.
A 1986 paper about the legal rights and culture-based claims of various immigrant groups and gypsies in contemporary Britain mentions the roles and status of women as "one very clear example" of the "clash of cultures."12 In it, Sebastian Poulter discusses claims put forward by members of such

Part

292

Two ' '

Matters of Diversity and Equality

their cultural differences' A few are non-gendergroups for special legal treatment on account of being allowed to be absent part of Friday afternoons related claims: about a Muslim schoolteacher's schooling requirements than others on acin order to pray, and gypsy children having less stringent majority of the examples concern gender inequalitiesi count of their itinerant lifestyle. But the vast

biased against women' polygamy' and clistemmed from women's or girls' claims that toridectomy. Almost aU of the llgal cases discussed by the practices of their cultural groups' In their individual rights were being truncated or violated in PoAmy Gutmann, "The challenge of Multiculturalism a recent article by political philosopher sexual hagender issues-polygamy, abortion, litical Ethics,,, fully half the examples have do with
This is q,,rlte typical in the literature on subnational rassment, "titorio"cto*y,^""J-n,iJ"n-13 occufs in practice in the international arena' multicultural issues. Moreover, the same phenom"non as by the leaders of countries or groups of cQuntries whefe women,s human rights are often rejected incompatible with their various cultures' defenses" thart are increasingly being inSimilarly, the overwhelming majority of "cultural of cultural minorities are connected with gendervoked in US criminal cases concerning members into children' occasionally' cultural defenses come in particular with male control ou", *orn"n and
Much more or the ritual sacrifice of animals' play in explaining expectable violence among men, bedefendant's cultural gfoup' women are not human cofitmon, however, is the argument that, in the men sexuprimary (if not only) functions are to serve ings of equal worth but sub.'ordinates whose in which cultural defenses have been used most ally and domestically. Thus, the four types of "ur" culwho claim that their actions are part of their successfully are: kidnap and rape by Hmong men
Asian and wife-murder by immigrants from tural practice of zij poi niamor "ma..iuge by capture";

child marriages, forced mairiages, divorce

,yr,.-.

MiddleEasterncountrieswhosewiveshaveeithercommittedadulteryortreatedtheirhusbandsin

aservileway;motherswhohavekilledtheirchildrenbutfailedtokillthemselves'andclaimthatbecauseoftheirJapaneseorChinesebackgroundstheshameoftheirhusbands'infidelitydrovethem the suicide; and-in France' though not yet in

to the culturally condoned practice of mother-child criminalized only in 1996-clitoridectomy' In a numUnited States, in part because the practice was background has retestimony about the accused's or defendant's cultural ber of such.ur".,
"*p"r,
assessments of mens rea' of significantly sulted in dropped or reduced charges, iulturally-based daughan immigrant from rural Iraq married his two reduced sentences. ln a well-known recent case'

ters,agedl3andl4,totwoofhisfriends,aged2Sand34.Subsequently,whentheolderdaughter when father sought the help of the police in finding her' ran away with her 20-year-old boyfriend, the with abuse, and the two husbands and boyfriend

thl father with child statutoryrape.Thelraqis'defenseisbasedinpart,atleast,ontheirculturalmarriagepractices'Both always female'

they locared her, they charged

always male, nor the victims
As these examples show, the defendants are not

aChineseimmigrantmaninNewYorkwhobatteredhiswifetodeathforcommittingadulteryandbeto drown herself a Japanese

children and tried immigrant woman in California who drowned her

causeherhusband'sadulteryhadshamedthefamily,reliedonculturaldefensestowinreduced
It might seem' then' that culto second degree or involuntary manslaughter)' charges (from murder

turaldefensewasbiasedtowardthemaleinthefirstcase,a"dthefemaleinthesecond'Butnosuch women (and chil-

messaSe is similarly gender-biased: asymmetry exists. In both cases, the cultural any deand s-hould bear the blame and the shame for dren, in the second oase) are ancillary to men, the wife suffers: in the first case' by being parture from monogamy. whoever is guilty of the infidelity,

brutallykilledonaccountofherhusband'srageathershamefulinfidelity;inthesecond'bybeing that she is driven to kill herself and her children' so shamed and branded a failure by his infidelity

Chapter

7 .

293

Gender

Again, the idea that girls and women are first and foremost sexual servants of men whose virginity before marriage and fidelity within it are their preeminent virtues emerges in many of the statements made in defense of cultural practices.
Western majority cultures, largety at the urging of feminists, have recently made substantial efforts to avoid or limit excuses for brutalizing women. Well within living memory, American men were routinely held less accountable for killing their wives if they explained their conduct as a crime of passion, driven by jealousy on account of the wife's infidelity. Also not long ago, women who did not have completely celibate pasts or who did not struggle-even so as to endanger themselveswere routinely blamed when raped. Things have now changed to some extent, and doubts about the turn toward cultural defenses undoubtedly come in part from a concern to preserve recent advances.
Another concern is that such defenses can distort perceptions of minority cultures by drawing excessive attention to negative aspects ofthem. But perhaps the primary concern is that, by failing to protect women and sometimes children of minority cultures from male and sometimes maternal violence, cultural defenses violate their rights to the equal protection of t&e&ws. When a woman from a more patriarchal culture comes to the United States (or some other Western, basically liberal, state), why should she be less protected from male violence than other women are? Many women from minority cultures have protested the double standard that is being applied to their aggressors.

Liberal Defense
Despite all this evidence of cultural practices that control and subor.dinate women, none of the prominent defenders of multicultural group rights has adequately or even directly addressed the troubling connections between gender and culture, or the conflicts that arise so commonly between multiculturalism and feminism. Will Kymlicka's discussion is, in this respect, representative.
Kymlicka's arguments for grouf rights are based on the rights of individuals, and confine such privileges and protection to cultural groups that are internally liberal. Following John Rawls, Kymlicka emphasizes the fundamental importance of self-respect in a person's life. He argues that membership in a "rich and secure cultural structure,"15 with its language and history, is essential both for the development of self-respect and for giving persons a context in which they can develop the capacity to make choices about how to lead their lives. Cultural minorities need special rights, then, because their culture may otherwise be threatened with extinction, and cultural extinction would likely undermine the self-respect and freedom of group members. Special rights, in short, put minorities on a footing of equality with the majority.
The value of freedom plays an important role in Kymlicka's argument. As a result, except in rare circumstances of cultural vulnerability, a group that claims special rights must govern itself by recognizably liberal principles, neither infringing on the basic liberties of its own members by placing internal restrictions on them, nor discriminating among them on grounds of sex, race, or sexual preferenbe. This requirement is of great importance to a consistently liberal justification for group rights, since a "closed" or discriminatory culture cannot provide the context for individual development that liberalism requires and because collective rights might otherwise result in subcultures of oppression within and aided by liberal societies. As Kymlicka says: "To inhibit people from questioning their inherited social roles can condemn them to unsatisfying, even oppressive lives."16
As Kymlicka acknowledges, this requirement of internal liberalism rules out the justification of group rights for the "many fundamentalists of all political and religious stripes who think that the best community is one in which all but their preferred religious, sexual, or aesthetic practices are

294

Part

Two .

M(ttters of Diversity and Equality

outlawed." For the promotion and support of these cultures "undermines the very reason we had for being concerned with cultural membership-that it allows for meaningful individual choice."17 But the examples I cited earlier suggest that far fewer minority cultures than Kymlicka seems to think will be able to claim group rigbt"$"under.his-liber.a\iustifieation. Though they may not impose their beliefs or practices on others, and though they may appear to respect the basic civil and political liberties of women and girls, many cultures do not, especially in the private sphere, treat them with anything like the same concern and respect as men and boys, or allow them to enjoy the same freedoms.
Discrimination against and control of the freedom of.females is practiced, to a greatei or lesser extent, by virtually all cultures, past and present, but especially religious ones and those that look to the past-to ancient texts or revered traditions-for guidelines or rules about how to live.in the con-

temporary world. Sometimes more patriarchal minority cultures exist in the context of less patriarchal majority cultures; sometimes the reverse is true. In either case, the degree to which .eaqh-pubure is patriarchal and its willingness to become less so should be crucial factors in considering justifications for group rights-once we take women's equality seriously.
Clearly, Kymlicka regards cultures that discriminate overtly and formally against women-by, denying them education, or the right to vote or to hold office-as not deserving special rights. But sex discrimination is often far less overt. In many cultures, strict control of women is enforced in the private sphere by the authority ofeither actual or symbolic fathers, often acting through, or with the complicity of, the older women of the culture. In many cultures in which women's basic civil rights and liberties are formally assured, discrimination practiced against women and girls within the household not only severely constrains their choices, but seriously threatens their well-being and even their lives. And such sex discrimination-whether severe or more mild-often has very powerful cultural rools.
Although Kymlicka rightly objects to the granting of group rights to minority cultures that practice overt sex discrimination, then, his arguments for multiculturalism fail to register what he acknowledges elsewhere: that the subordination of women is often informal and private,-and that virtually no culture in the world today, minority or majority, could pass his "no sex discrimination" test if it were applied in the private sphere.18 Those who defend group rights on liberal grounds need to address these very private, culturally reinforced kinds of discrimination. For surely-self-respect and self-esteem require more than simple membership in a viable culture. Surely it is nor enough, for one to be able to "question one's inherited social roles" and to have the capacity to make choices about the life one wants to lead, that one's culture be protected. At least as important to the development of self-respect and self=esteemis our place within our culture. And at least as important to our capacity to question our social roles is whether our culture instills in and enforces particular social roles on zs. To the extent that their culture is patriarchal, in both these respects the healthy development of girls is endangered

Part of the Solution? a feminist point of view, that minority group rights are "part of the solution." They may well exacerbate the problem. In the case of a more patriarchal minority culture in the context of a less patriarchal majority culture, no argument can be made on the basis of selfrespect or freedom that the female members of the culture have a clear interest in its preservation.
Indeed, they may be much better off if the culture into which they were born were either to become

It is by no means clear, then, from

ChapterT

. Gender

295

that its members would become integrated into the less sexist surrounding culture) or,
"r1ins1r(so
preferably, to be encouraged to alter itself so as to reinforce the equality of women-at least to the degree to which this is upheld in the majority culture. Other considerations would, of course, need to be taken into account, such as whether the minority group speaks a different language that requires protection, and whether the group suffers from prejudices such as racial discrimination. But it would take significant factors weighing in the other direction to counterbalance evidence that a culture severely constrained women's choices or otherwise undermined their well-being.
What some of the examples discussed above show us is how culturally endorsed practices that are oppressive to women can often remain hidden in the private or domestic sphere. In the Iraqi child marriage case mentioned above, if the father himself had not called in agents of the state, his daughters' plight might well not have become public. And in 1996 when Congress passed a law criminalizing clitoridectomy, a number of US doctors objected to the law as unjustified, since it concerned a private matter which, as one said, "should be decided by a physician, the family, and the child."1e
It can take more or less extraordinary circumstances for such abuses of girls or women to become public or for the state to be able to intervene protectively.
Thus it is clear that many instances of private sphere discrimination against women on cultural grounds are never likely to emerge in public, where courts can enforce their rights and political theorists can label such practices as illiberal and therefore unjustified violations of women's physical or mental inregrity. F,stablishing group rights to enable some minority cultures to preserve themselves may not be, in the best interests of the girls and women of the culture, even if it benefits the men.
When liberal arguments are made for the rights of groups, then, special care must be. taken to look at within-group inequalities. ft is especially important to consider inequalities between the sexes, since they are likely to be less public, and less easily discernible. Moreover, policies aiming to respond to the needs and claims of cultural minority groups must take seriously the need for adequate representation of less powerful members of such groups. Since attention to the rights of minority cultural groups, if it is to be consistent with the fundamentals of liberalism, must be ultimately aimed at furthering the well-being of the members of these groups, there can be no justification for assuming that the groups' self-proclaimed leaders-invariably mainly composed of their older and their male members-represent the interests of all of the groups' members. Unless women-and, more specifically, young women, since older women often become co-opted into reinforcing gender inequality-are fully represented in negotiations about group rights, their interests may be harmed rather than promoted by the granting of such rights.

References
l. Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory

of Minority Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 89,76. See also Kymlicka. Liberalism, Community, and Culture (Oxiord: The Clarendon Press, 1989). It should be noted that Kymlicka himself does not argue for extensive or permanent group rights for those who have voluntarily immigrated.

2.

Avishai Margalit and Moshe Halbertal, "Liberalism and the Right to Culture," Social Research

61,3 (Fall, 1994):491.
-t-

For example, Chandran Kukathas, 'Are There any Cultural Rights?" Political Theory 20, I
(t992): 105-39.

296

Part

Two

.

Matters of Diversity and Equality

okin, "Feminism and Multiculturalism: Some Tensions,', Ethics 10g,4 (199g):
661_6g4.
For example, Kymlicka, Liberalism, Community, and culture and Multicultural Citizenship, especially chap' 8. Kymlicka does not apply his requirement that groups be internally liberal to those he terms "national minorities," but I will not address thislspect of his theory here.
6. New York Times, 5 october 1996, A4. The role that older women in such cultures play in perpetuating them is important but complex, and cannot be addressed here.
1. New York Times, 26 June 1997, A9.
8. International Herald Tribune,2 February 1997, News section. 4.
5.

New York Times, 12 March 1997, Ag.
10. This practice is discussed in Henry S. Richardson
9.

, Practical Reasoning About Final Ends (Cambridge: cambridge University press, 1 994), especially pp. 240-43, iaz*oz, 2gz-g4. ".

Agence France Presse, 18 May lggT,lnternational News section. 12. Sebastian Poulter, "Ethnic Minority customs, English
Law, and Human Rights,,, International
11.

13'

and Comparative Law Quarterly 36,3 (19g7):5g9_615.
Amy Gutmann, "The Challenge of Multiculturalisin in Political
Ethics,,, philosophy and public Affairs 22, 3 (Summer 1993): l7t_204. . . .
Kymlicka, Liberalism, Community, and Culture, p. 165.

15.
16. Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship, p. 92.
17. Kymlicka, Liberalism), Community, and Culture, pp. 17l_72.
18' will Kymlicka, contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introductlon (oxford:
Press, 1990), pp. 239-62.

19. New

The Clarendon

York rimes, 12 october 1996, A6- Similar views were expressed on public radi

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Ethics

...Ethics MGT 498 November, 2012 Ethics Edward O Wilson, an American biologist and theorist proposed that in the end, success or failure will come down to an ethical decision; one on which those now will be judged for generations to come (ThinkExist, 2012). Organizations require members to adhere to the established guidelines and ethics to maintain compliance with internal and external directives. The ability of the company to remain profitable without sacrificing ethics is a competitive advantage that will ensure consumer loyalty and enhance its reputation. Additionally, ethical decision-making contributes to a company’s fulfillment of corporate social responsibility. This analysis will describe how ethics and social responsibility influence the development of a strategic plan. Furthermore, it will provide an example of an unethical action and present an alternative method for handling the situation. Influence of Ethics The Free Dictionary.com (2012), defines ethics as a set of principles of right conduct or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession (Ethics). Although many believe that ethics and business cannot exist simultaneously, the cost of unethical behavior in organizations is unacceptable. According to Wheelen and Hunger (2010), a survey by the Ethics Resource Center of 1,324 employees of 747 U.S. companies found that 48% of employees surveyed said that they had engaged in one or more unethical and/or illegal actions during the...

Words: 940 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Ethics

...Drucker (1981), he takes us through a journey of evolution of Business Ethics and represents several controversial positions. While explaining the ethics in Western Culture he states that there was agreement on the following statement: “There are only one ethics, one set of rules of morality, one code, that of individual behavior in which the same rules apply to everyone alike” (Drucker, 1981, Page 19). He discusses the examples of "a poor mother", "nepotism in China" and "paid extortion" to articulated the impact of social, economical and cultural norms on implementing this on everyone. He considers practices of questionable morality under different circumstances as ethical. Casuistry (Drucker, 1981, Page 22) was the first attempt to think about social responsibility and embed it in a set of distinctive ethics for people in power. According to Drucker, ethics for people in social responsibility is a cross-benefit calculation involving demand of individual conscience and position. For then, demand of ethics can be excepted if actions result in benefit for other people. Drucker then moves on to introduce The Ethics of Prudence (Drucker, 1981, Page 27) as other major tradition in the West. He proposes that Ethics of Prudence appropriate to a society of organizations. Prudence, the consciousness not to do the wrong thing will enable the leader to exhibit a role model behavior. According to Drucker, Ethics of Prudence do not spell out the “right” behavior, but wrong behavior......

Words: 2217 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Ethics

...Ethics is a very big issue that involves diverse views and beliefs. Ethics has become more widespread with the public in today’s business world. There are three main theories of ethics. The first is the virtue theory which is all based around good quality ethics and sometimes simplified into being character based ethics. The next theory is the utilitarianism theory which is best described as the group theory. The third theory is the deontological theory. These are the three basic ethics theories of today. Virtue ethics describes the character of a moral instrument as a source of power for ethical behavior. A person's character is the entirety of their personality. Character qualities can be good, bad or somewhere in between. They can be commendable or not. The worthy characteristics are called virtues. Utilitarianism is an ethical way of life in which the happiness of the greatest number of people in the society is considered the maximum good. According to utilitarianism the moral worth of an action is determined by its resulting outcome. There is debate over how much thought should be given to actual consequences, potential consequences and planned consequences. Deontological ethics is an approach that focuses on the right or wrong of an action itself contrasting the rightness or wrongness of the penalty of those actions. These three ethical theories address ethics and morality with some similarities and some differences. One of the major differences between virtue theory...

Words: 522 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Ethics

...Names for Theory | Real-world Example | Workplace Example | Duty-based Ethics | Regardless of consequences, certain moral principles are binding, focusing on duty rather than results or moral obligation over what the individual would prefer to do (Treviño & Nelson, 2007, Ch. 4).In ethics, deontological ethics, or deontology (Greek: deon meaning obligation or duty), is a theory holding that decisions should be made solely or primarily by considering one's duties and the rights of others. Some systems are based on biblical or tenets from sacred. | Deontology, pluralism, moral rights, rights-basedCategorical imperativeGolden rule | C * I believe people should be able to eat sand because it is the right thing to do. | It is my duty to follow through with instructions my boss gives me, even if I do not agree with the concept. It is my moral obligation to respect authority figures. | Consequence-based Ethics | A consequence-based approach to ethics gives priority to the value, outcome of a decision we attach to the results of an action. Where the end justifies the means as the main determining factor if an action is being ethical or not. Williams, (1998) said it best it is a theory of “good states of affairs”. (para 1)“In ethics, telos also comes from Greek, this meaning end or purpose. “Many ethicists call this type of ethical approach goal-based, because the people who practice this type of ethics approach believe there is an intricate design to the universe, and......

Words: 1554 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Ethic

...1 Virtue Theory, Utilitarianism, and Deontological Ethics. Judith Glowinski ETH/316 - 4/16/2013 MARY CARTER 2 When comparing the similarities and differences between virtue theory, utilitarianism, and deontology we find that they all deal with how one judge’s morality and ethics. These theories all include judging in different aspects, whether it is in the moment, what happens after, or over a lifetime. The ethics and morality behind these theories all deal with what is right, or what is best for the present, then separate paths as the theories work toward the future. With virtue ethics a person strives for excellence performing duties, and acquiring traits that others would admire. With utilitarianism a person makes a decision based on the best results, and what is best for the most amounts of people. With deontology a person makes a decision depending on what he or she thinks is morally correct, not necessarily based on the best results for the people, but more for the wellbeing of that person. The similarities between the three theories all deal with results. These theories all work toward the best result depending on what someone believes the best result may be. Many people will take different sides when it comes to a decision that benefits either the present or future, whether a person’s decision is the best for the moment or best for the future is what differentiates these theories. Putting the best interest of the team before one’s personal......

Words: 645 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Ethics

...Shanice Naidoo 212538675 Ethics 101: Essay African ethics and its characteristics This essay seeks to explain what African ethics is as well as its characteristics. In order for that to be done, we must first explain what African ethics is and the foundations upon which it is built. African ethics refers to the values, codes of conduct and laws that govern the moral conduct of people within a given society. African ethics as a whole tends to place its focus on mankind. In this essay paper, we will also seek to explain the concept of Ubuntu, which is a concept that is strongly embedded in African ethics. African ethics is founded on three main concepts, firstly, God; followed by the community and lastly human dignity. According to the norms of African ethics, God is the pivotal focus in one’s life. Africans believe that God is the only one that can judge man because he has created it. They believe that humans should behave in a loving and forgiving manner because God loves and forgives them. It is held that any troubles that people encounter, such as, bad health; natural disasters etc., are not of God but rather of the devil or evil spirits ‘Satan’. Community in African ethics refers to the society as a whole or a certain group of people that one belongs to. The central focus here is the welfare and interests of each member of the community rather than that of the individual. They hold the view that being a member of the community by nature; the individual is......

Words: 1045 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Ethics

...Running head: Ethics and the College Student 1 The Ethics and College Student Title Page: BY MAURICE M. OWENS ABSTRACT The purpose of this paper is to see the college students’ view of ethics. There was enough evidence to say that college students’ perceive ethics instruction, and those who teach it, to be relevant and beneficial in shaping their own ethical behaviors. Students’ attitudes towards cheating is measured by their perception of cheating in high school, college, and non-major classes. The use of technology has an impact on college ethics since it is easier to cheat in online/hybrid classes and when some kind of technology is used in a course. College students believe that they are living in an ethical campus environment, where their faculty members are mostly ethical in nature and that it is never to late to learn about ethics in college. The Ethics and College Student Title Page: 2 Ethics is truly and important asset within today’s society, there are so many ways you can define ethics. I will say that to me ethics is about your upbringing, starting from the day you were born. Ethics will keep together and organization or it will dismantle and organization, you must enforce structure and guidelines. There are three strong principles when we talk about students and ethics. I call this (R, A, O) Responsibility, Accountability and Ownership. Students must be Responsible and withhold the obligations and the integrity of the school in......

Words: 1052 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Ethics

...ETHICS IN JAPANESE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT Romanian Economic and Business Review – Vol. 2, No. 2 Caraiani Gheorghe, Maduţa Gyongyver Gheorghe Caraiani is Professor of International Business at the Romanian American University in Bucharest. Maduta Gyongyver is Assistant Professor of English Language at the Romanian American University in Bucharest. Abstract At first sight it is easy to understand that “ethics in business” is a field which aims at explaining problems of moral aspect which come up currently in the activity of economic agents from a market economy. Considering the cultural variety of moral values and principles lengthwise and crosswise the planet and, since the adopted policies led to many unacceptable effects, the idea of drawing up international ethic codes appeared more and more substantial through the explicit agreement of some governmental and non-governmental associations in which the big transnational corporations have the main role. The company system in Japan is so strict that it is quite hard, sometimes even impossible for a company to do business with another company with which it does not have personal, tight and previously established relations. The Japanese philosophy is that only the company in which the human relations are good will succeed in while the one with bad human relations will go bankrupt. In order to understand a Japanese company and to be able to cooperate with it, it is really useful for one to see it as an exclusive club, a......

Words: 3419 - Pages: 14

Premium Essay

Ethics

...Kathleen F. Brochu Manage Principles Dr. M. Miller Research Paper “Ethics” Should Ethics be taught in the Corporate Environment? By Kathleen Brochu Table of Contents Cover Page Title: “Ethics” Should ethics be taught in the corporate environment? By: Kathleen Brochu Introduction What is Ethics? Can ethics be taught? Whose responsibility is it? Body Meaning of Ethics How one learns ethics How to promote ethics in the work place Conclusion Higher production rates Caring Employees Improved Companies relationships Today’s business environment is not only fast-paced, but also highly competitive. In order to keep pace and stay ahead, possession of several key work ethics is a plus for achieving a successful career. Holding key traits such as attendance, character, teamwork, appearance, and attitude add value to both you as a person and your company. Successful careers come in many flavors, but work ethics are a main ingredient in most recipes for success. Ethics are not born in a vacuum. Ethics are more like a jigsaw puzzle that is thrown together over time, that when complete makes up who you are and what you believe. From our earliest days of life, we start to learn from those around us. These learned behaviors add to the traits that we are already born with and help to shape us into the person we will become. As part of this learning process, we develop what will become our norms. Norms are our......

Words: 1184 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Ethics

...Ethics Essay ETH/316 May 21, 2014 University of Phoenix Ethics Essay This week's reading assignment covered many aspects of ethics. In this written assignment, we are asked to compare the similarities and differences between three types of ethical behavior, virtue, utilitarianism, and deontological ethics. To understand the three separate ethic behaviors, I must first define them. Virtue ethics deals with a person’s character, their inward behavior. If a person’s character is good, then so are his or her choices and actions. A person should always strive for excellence in everything that they do. Virtue ethics is not team-based; it’s all about the good of a particular person and how he or she think and act on a daily basis. An example of virtue ethics is, me being in line at the grocery store, the person ahead of me does not have enough money to complete his purchase, so I pay the difference to help him out. Utilitarianism ethics is different from virtue ethics because it promotes the greatest amount of good to a group. Utilitarianism is not individually based, it is more people based. Best described when a person sacrifices a little, in order to get more in return. A personal example of utilitarianism could be the time I was babysitting my niece and two nephews. Instead of me watching basketball on the television, I allowed them to watch a children’s movie in order to gain peace and quiet throughout the house. I gave up the television for the greater...

Words: 450 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Ethics

...Ethics Kellie Jackson Arthur Murphy Ethics Utilitarianism - Utilitarianism is the ethical doctrine that the moral worth of an action is solely determined by its contribution to overall utility. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome—the ends justify the means. Utility — the good to be maximized — has been defined by various thinkers as happiness or pleasure (versus suffering or pain), though preference utilitarian’s like Peter Singer define it as the satisfaction of preferences. (David 2008) Deontology - Deontological ethics or deontology meaning 'obligation' or 'duty') is an approach to ethics that focuses on the rightness or wrongness of actions themselves, as opposed to the rightness or wrongness of the consequences of those actions. It is sometimes described as "duty" or "obligation" based ethics, because deontologists believe that ethical rules "bind you to your duty". (Kant 1785) Deontological ethics is commonly contrasted with consequentialist or teleological ethical theories, according to which the rightness of an action is determined by its consequences. Virtue Ethics - Virtue ethics is a branch of moral philosophy that emphasizes character, rather than rules or consequences, as the key element of ethical thinking. In the West virtue ethics was the prevailing approach to ethical thinking in the ancient and medieval periods. The tradition suffered an eclipse during the early modern......

Words: 797 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Ethics

...Running Head: Business Ethics Main Title: The Cultural Dimensions of Business Ethic Monroe College Contents Rationale 3 Introduction 3 Some Factors which may Influence Business Ethics 3 How Peoples Action can Affect Business Ethics 4 How Structure Affects Business ethics 4 How Culture, Norms and Laws Affect Business Ethics 5 Unethical Practices and How They May Affect a Business 5 Recommendations 7 Conclusion 8 Sources 10 Rationale The purpose of this paper is to discuss and address cultural aspects of business ethics. It will also examine how these cultural aspects may affect businesses and shape societies view on these organizations. Recommendations will also be made for example, on the aspect of setting companies policy while taking morals and ethical matters into consideration. Introduction Ethics is a huge area of interest, study and debate. According to Dictionary.com, Ethics is a body of moral principles or values governing or distinctive of a particular culture or group. Business ethics can be described as the behavior that a business adheres to in its daily interactions with society .The ethical standards of a business can be examined by looking into the firm’s human rights policy, its regulations of bribery and corruption, and its execution and compliance of its codes of ethics. The ethical standards of business can vary significantly depending on the country it is headquartered in. These standards apply not......

Words: 2043 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Ethics

..."Building a code of ethics to make a strong organization has many requirements to make it successful, organized, and valued."-Vivek Wadhwa. One main concept an organization needs to have to drive its success is a code of ethics. Having a code of ethics will manage an organization throughout its expansion and outset. The code of ethics will guide and teach the organization stay on board to its vision, plans, and goals but doing it in a manner or alignment that will protect the organization and its employees. Serving in the military, working in human resource, has introduced and taught a code of ethics for its organization which has many requirements to make it successful, organized, and valued. Working for the military has ethical fundamentals that help address or solve issues and situations that happen. Being in the military there is a certain look that soldiers must represent; this includes the proper uniform attire, attitude, and behaviors. If a soldier goes against what is expected of him or her there are different approaches and regulations that must be considered. For instance, when a soldier violates the law in his or her workplace like lying on documents or stealing, the outcome is an article15 and chances of getting promoted. The code of ethics for the military offers information on reporting suspected violations in reference to enforcement of the provisions of joint ethics. Having a code of ethics in the military keeps soldiers, as well as their families,......

Words: 853 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Ethics

... Computer Ethics By Brenda B. Covert |    | | 1     Ethics is a short, two-syllable word of six letters that affects every segment of our lives. Ethics is a moral code involving a clear understanding of right and wrong. Another word for ethics is values. When people talk about ethics, they may be focused on one specific area, such as business, medical, political, environmental, religious, or personal ethics. Today we are going to focus on another important area of ethics: computer ethics.   2     If you have good computer ethics, you won't try to harass or hurt people with your computer, and you won't commit crimes such as information theft or virus creation. The problem that often arises when some of us are on a computer is that we don't see the harm in snooping in another person's private information or trying to figure out their passwords. It seems smart to copy and paste information into a school report and pretend that we wrote it. (Even if the information were public property --which most of it isn't-- that would be dishonest.) The crimes committed with hacking or gaming scams may not seem harmful because the victims lack faces. Flaming (aiming abusive, insulting messages at another person online) seems risk-free since we are anonymous. Indulging in obscenities and other offensive behavior online might feel empowering simply because no one knows who we really are. No one is going to come knocking on the door and demand a physical confrontation. However, every one of...

Words: 1135 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Ethic

...value system or what could be called their personal ethics structure. One’s personal values, or ethics structure, are developed over a lifetime and is ever evolving. There are many factors that come into play during the development of one’s ethics structure. The process begins at childhood. The people that a person comes into contact with, influences inside the home such as parents, siblings, and neighbors. As one grows older and ventures out into the world outside the home teachers, friends and even enemies all help to shape one’s value system. Any type of communication with anyone that we come in contact with has the potential to shape our value system or our ethics structure. Good. Ethics Development One’s beliefs, values or ethics begin forming at an early age and continues throughout one’s life. Most often, those values learned early on are the ones that stay with you in some form or another throughout one’s life. My development started at an early age. I grew up in a very close community. My neighborhood was an extension of my family. Family togetherness, education and sports were very influential aspects that helped shape my ethics structure and continue to guide my actions to this day. Over time, my various experiences have continued to help evolve and shape my value structure. Both positive and negative experiences have played a large role in my value system. Good. Defining Ethics What are ethics? Ethics are the principles, norms, and standards......

Words: 1463 - Pages: 6