Applying an Ethical Theory to Gender and Equality

Applying an Ethical Theory to Gender and Equality

PHI 208

Ethics and Moral Reasoning

Applying a Ethical Theory to Gender and Equality

Gender equality has been a very heated subject for many years. Males have ruled as the superior sex, as in being strong, the breadwinner and always being the decision maker. On the other hand, females have been established as being emotional, submissive and subordinates. Looking at our society today we have been working on changing our views of the two sexes and have been able to spot more equality between the two genders. Deontology recognize that gender inequality is wrong and needs more adjusting in how we recognize the two genders so we can have gender equality within our society.

I feel that gender equality relates to deontological ethics because every person has a duty and obligation to look at and act toward everyone equally regardless of any ramifications. The theory of deontological should be built totally by considering ones duties and the rights of other people. According to Kant, a German philosopher, the Deontology theory has three vital characteristics which include the categorical imperative, duty, and respect. (2013) an actions moral worth is not contained in any effect expected from it but instead consists in the act itself (Pg. 2). Kant voices that when a person reacts in a moral way they should act from duty. Another characteristic Kant voices is the categorical imperative, meaning people who consider something is right for them should be right for others also. For example, if someone cheats on an exam for personal gain. The person that is actually doing the cheating should have some sort of feeling about the other people taking the exam but can’t because he’s only thinking about himself getting an A. This also puts pressure on the principles of respect because no one should ever use any measures for personal gain. Regardless of who it is, it should be conducted with modesty and understanding (Misselbrook, 2013). Deontological are mindful that acts have consequences but the ethical theory centers on the will of that person and does not think about consequences when determining the morality of an act (Mosser, 2013).

If we look at gender inequality it has always been wrong and gender equality is the right way to be because when viewing both genders as not equal this may cause upsets between the two genders and would be viewed as the subordinate of the two. For example, women are viewed as a lower-rank than man; some women can be made to feel like there are men’s properties. It’s not right to treat individuals as an object or to your advantage (Mosser, 2013).

When looking at the duties and obligations of viewing and treating each individual equally means no matter what gender they are, we have the freedom and rights to make our own decision and develop our own freedom as well. Each person should honor and respect others as if they would like to be treated and respected in return. If our society wants to have the freedom to make their own decision then our duty is to let every individual have the same freedom and respect as others.

While looking at this theory it does not reveal any fragility. If our society was to view and treat every individual absolutely the same at all times, without any special cases, then they would be bound to be individuals acting in an improper way. It is everyone’s duty and the right to treat others equally in the same way and should not be taken into gender specific restriction consideration. For example, both genders are employed at a factory doing the same responsibilities and duties and making the same exact pay. The job description requires some heavy lifting off the conveyor belt.

Let’s say a woman comes into work six months pregnant and could not perform the duties safely throughout her work day. Deontological ethics makes no special cases; if gender equality is right then arrangements could not be made for that pregnant woman. She would either have to continue her daily responsibilities and duties throughout her work day or have to take maternity leave for the rest of her pregnancy or may be terminated for not meeting the job expectations. So, if she were to be given special treatment and was not required to lifting some heavy boxes all day because of her situation which only can impact women, then this would be unequal to men and break the rules of ethical theory.

Really, gender equality has been a very heated subject to many individuals. The deontological theory opinion of gender equality is to be always right and every individual within our society will need to alter their views more to fully understand gender equality. Every person has the duty and obligation to view and treat everyone equally in spite of their consequences. A moral value is not thinking about the consequences of an act but the act itself. Deontology makes no special cases when something is considered a rule, and it can also lead to actions that are not right or unethical.


Kant, I. (2013). Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals. Understanding Philosophy.

San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Misselbrook, D. (2013). Duty, Kant and Deontology Retrieve from:

Mosser, K. (2013). Understanding Philosophy. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

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