6 J. Ethics & Soc. Phil. 1 (2011-2012)

handle is hein.journals/jetshy6 and id is 1 raw text is: JOLlRtAL OF ETHICS & SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY | VOL. 6, NO. 1
Anca Gheaus
Gender Justice
Anca Gheaus
1. Introduction
nobody should be disadvantaged because of their sex. Here
propose, and defend, a principle of gender justice meant to capture
the nature of a very wide range of injustices based on gender.' In a nutshell,
the principle says that, in a gender just world, a gender-neutral lifestyle would
be the least costly option for both women and men. Gendered lifestyles need
not be ruled out, but should not be achievable at lower costs than a gender-
neutral lifestyle. This principle is grounded in the values at the core of liberal
egalitarian justice: equality of access and the good of individual choice.
Because the principle is meant to explain the injustice of a very wide
range of phenomena, the sense of costs is similarly wide. Such costs can be
material - for example financial, time or effort - psychological - self-
respect, a good relationship with one's body and emotions - and social -
such as reputation, social acceptance and valuable social relationships.2
I illustrate my proposal by discussing the injustice involved in the
gendered division of labor, which is one of the most important, yet
philosophically disputed, gender issues in the developed world. Some liberal
egalitarians contest that a freely chosen gendered division of labor is unjust3
Others believe that in order to know whether particular outcomes are gender
just we need to pay attention to the context of people's choices, to the
processes of preference formation and to the cumulative effects of particular
choices. Some of the latter even doubt that liberal egalitarianism has the
theoretical resources to recognize the gendered nature of the gendered
division of labor.4 I argue that it does.
The gendered division of labor is also at the core of a long-lasting debate
about two different models of change, embodied by different strands of
feminism. Here is a crude picture. The first model, centered on equality
between women and men, consists in empowering women to enjoy all the
good things of life that men have traditionally enjoyed. The second model,
centered on difference, consists in discovering, explaining and enhancing
I For an earlier, undefended, formulation of this principle, see Anca Gheaus (2008), Basic
Income, Gender Justice and the Costs of Gender - Symmetrical Lifestyles, Basic Income
Studies 3 (3).
2 I do not engage here with the difficult question of measuring the different costs, but I
illustrate policies that could decrease the costs of gender-neutral lifestyles.
3 See the exchange between Williams and Dworkin: Andrew Williams (2002), Dworkin on
Capabilities, Ethics 113(1): 23-39, and Ronald Dworkin (2002), SovereVirtue Revisited,
Ethics 113(1): 106-43.
4 See Anne Phillips (2004), Defending Equality of Outcome, Journal of Political Philosophy
12(1): 1-19.

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