Example: two men work for a company that has a strict policy about missed work. Each employee may miss 12 days in a given year before being fired. Roger, a largely ineffective worker who is frequently absent, has just missed his 13th day. Steve, a hard-working, consistent worker, has missed 13 days because he contracted a serious illness. Would it be right to fire both? One? Neither? Your answer to this question probably determines your outlook on justice.
Student treatment at the office? Traffic violations?
The male approach to morality is that individuals have certain basic rights, and that rights must be respected by others. In other words, morality imposes restrictions on what you can do. (Justice)
The female approach to morality is that people have responsibilities towards others. In other words, morality is an imperative to care for others. (Care/Responsibility)
Gilligan argues that these differences can best be understood as voices—from a feminine perspective, one is more likely to accept the possibility of options for resolving an ethical dilemma.
In making ethical decisions, men tend to look for universal solutions. Womyn tend to look for “tailor-made” solutions focused on care of the individual.
Differences Between Men’s Moral Voices and Womyn’s Moral Voices
Treating Everyone the Same /Caring About Suffering
Impartiality /Preserving Emotional Connections
Rules and Abstract Codes of Conduct/ Responsibility towards Individuals
Differences Between Men’s and Women’s View of the Self
Independence/ Emotional Connectedness
Separateness /Responsive to Needs of Others
Hierarchy /Web of Relationships
Rules Guide Interactions /Web of Relatedness
Gilligan’s Three Stages of Moral Development
Selfish stage—female children start with a selfish orientation
Belief in Conventional Morality—they learn to care for others, and that selfishness is wrong. They equate concern with themselves with selfishness
Post-Conventional—they learn to understand that it is just as wrong to ignore their own interests as it is to ignore the interests of others.
Womyn are less likely to assert their own position, and often assume a subservient role in relationships. In the conventional morality phase, they accept traditional gender roles
Men are taught that an orientation about autonomy and selfishness is more acceptable than it is for womyn
Caring should be the foundation of all ethical decision-making
Natural caring comes from a “longing for goodness”
Caring should be about receptive attention
A caring encounter has three elements, according to Nel Noddings:
A cares for B, that is A’s consciousness is characterized by attention and motivational displacement –and–
A performs some act in accordance with a), and
B recognizes that A cares for B.
Important to consider the difference between caring for (a specific case) or caring about (the more general concern about problems)