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Feminist Ethics in Relation to Environmental Issues

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Feminist ethics does not focus on the traditional equality for women. This ethical theory focuses on the little power women have compared to men. Feminist ethics aims to correct the outdated gender oppressing practices which disables women from having the same advantages as men. Gender should not be about power. However, for a man, his social status “can have a great deal to do with the extent to which he’s perceived as a man.” (Lindermann) Traditional ethical theories such as utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics emphasize culturally male perspectives and diminish women’s moral values. These ethical theories encompass male dominated reasonings and undervalues “female” moral reasonings such as empathy and community. Feminist ethics works to create gender neutral ethics.

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Ecofeminism is the feminist approach taken to environmental issues. This idea “explores the nature of the connections between the unjustified dominations of women and nature” (Warren). Women are the people who are closest to the natural resources required to support the family. If they do not have justice for equality, nature does not have equality as well. Dr. Vandana Shiva sees that environmental destruction is the same as the male powered world which causes women to be oppressed. Farmers were forced from subsistence farming to monoculture farming, which only allowed them to grow a single plant on their land. Many of these farmers went into debt from the chemical companies when their crops were unsuccessful. The pesticides that were sold to these farmers is what caused soil infertility and led to their crops failing. 

“Some people look at children’s malnutrition, some people look at climate change; some people look ta land its all inetreconnected” Dr. Shiva explains that it is the patriarchy that gave us the idea in which nature is considered dead. For nature to be dead it would give men the ability to rule over nature. This way of thinking pushes women to the bottom along with the idea of nature preservation. Dr. Shiva adds that if “you are privileged you don’t suffer”. By this, she means if you are a man and privileged you do not suffer. Because your gender is what gives you your power. Power that has driven away nature because they felt it was better to grow more food than to take care of what we already had. But as Dr. Shiva exclaims “If you were growing more food, there wouldn’t be a billion people starving”. What she says implies the oversight of environmental destruction for something that would not work in the end. 

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