Research Article

DOI :10.26650/jspc.2022.82.1007390   IUP :10.26650/jspc.2022.82.1007390    Full Text (PDF)

Female Poverty in the Context of Care Ethics

Emine Elif Ayhan

Care is a multi-pronged concept that expresses support for people who cannot fulfill their daily living activities owing to old age, illness, disability, or other conditions; this includes maintaining the social order. Social responsibility for the provision of care is seen as an obligation that must be met within the household rather than in public spaces. Given the gendered nature of power relationships within the household, the provision of care ultimately becomes the responsibility of women. Caring duties imposed on women with a traditional understanding impoverish women in many ways. Despite some policies being implemented to combat this type of poverty, women clearly still spend more time performing unpaid care work compared to men. This “feminine nature” in the care business has brought forth an understanding of ethical care. The ethics of care implies a moral importance in the core elements of human relationships and needs in giving and receiving care. Such ethics, which focus on maintaining the relationships between caregivers and care recipients by harmonizing the welfare of caregivers within the social network, comprise an approach that provides a new reading of human relations. The present investigation examines studies on the concepts of social care and care ethics and contributes to the conceptual and moral discussions on the nature of care, arguing that global care ethics should be built by considering care services beyond private or personal relationships and sexist approaches.

DOI :10.26650/jspc.2022.82.1007390   IUP :10.26650/jspc.2022.82.1007390    Full Text (PDF)

Bakım Etiği Penceresinden Kadın Yoksulluğu

Emine Elif Ayhan

Bakım; yaşlılık, hastalık, engellilik veya diğer koşullar nedeniyle günlük yaşam aktivitelerini yerine getiremeyen kişilere yönelik desteği ifade eden ve toplumsal düzeni korumayı içeren çok yönlü bir kavramdır. Bakımın sağlanmasına yönelik sosyal sorumluluk, kamusal alanlardan ziyade hane içinde karşılanması gereken bir yükümlülük olarak görülmektedir. Hane içindeki güç ilişkilerinin cinsiyete dayalı doğası göz önüne alındığında, bakımın sağlanması nihai olarak kadınların mesuliyetindedir. Geleneksel bir anlayışla kadınlara yüklenen bakım görevleri, pek çok açıdan kadınları yoksullaştırmaktadır. Bu tür bir yoksulluk çeşidi ile mücadele etmek için bazı politikalar uygulanmasına rağmen kadınların ücretsiz bakım işinde hala erkeklerden daha fazla zaman harcadıkları ortadadır. Bakım işindeki bu ‘‘kadınsal doğa’’, etik bakım anlayışını doğurmuştur. Etik bakım, bakım hizmeti verme ve alma konusunda insan ilişkilerinin ve ihtiyaçlarının ana unsurlarında ahlaki bir önem olduğunu ima eder. Sosyal ilişkiler ağı içinde bakım verenler ile bakım alanların refahını uyumlaştırarak aralarındaki ilişkileri sürdürmeye odaklanan etik bakım, bir anlamda insan ilişkilerinin yeni bir okumasını sağlayan bir yaklaşım türüdür. Bu çalışma sosyal bakım ve bakım etiği kavramları ile ilgili çalışmaları içermekte, bakımın doğası hakkında kavramsal ve ahlaki tartışmalara katkıda bulunmakta ve bakım hizmetlerini özel veya kişisel ilişkilerin ve cinsiyetçi yaklaşımların ötesinde ele alarak küresel bir bakım etiğinin inşa edilmesi gerektiğini savunmaktadır.


When a person encounter difficulties in performing activities of daily living (ADLs) independently owing to a congenital or later decline in their skills or functional status, they have to receive care service. Performing ADLs is an indispensable necessity for an individual to continue their life. Thus, care services are of vital importance for people facing difficulties in carrying out their daily life activities. However, care work is not only limited to protecting and taking care of one’s body but also has a nature that nurtures social relations and protects the social order. Because people first experience care in the family environment, it is quite reasonable to perceive domestic and family-based care as the foundation of all care relationships. Nonetheless, this situation limits care work to the female members of the family, their private lives, and their close relationships. Therefore, this results in the exclusion and marginalization of women from the spheres of social existence and value. In addition, caretaking becomes an undesirable activity while caregiving is seen as a worthless occupation; the social status of the parties to the care and care work is consequently considered worthless. However, care work is not a gender-specific and private-life activity. Beyond these established borders for care, a concept of care ethics has emerged with which the unique nature of care can be understood.

The ethics of care is a concept that has developed in last 40 years and questions the place of care in society and moral life. These ethics elevate care services to an important value in human life. The starting point of care ethics is any formal and informal care work practice that is important to individual well-being but is not given the value it deserves. People face moral, political, technical, and psychological questions when engaged in daily care activities. Therefore, care work requires knowledge and judgment capability. Such inquiries add a moral edge to care work. Accordingly, caring for someone in terms of care ethics is considered a vital activity for all kinds of living together. Carol Gilligan formulated her ethics of care while attempting to address the problems that she saw in Lawrence Kohlberg’s moral psychology. Gilligan often discusses the expression of women’s responsibilities in caregiving and highlights that social structure, rather than any natural feature of femininity, causes the prevalence of women in caregiving positions. However, because the ethics of care define care generally as meeting human needs in a moral order, it is argued that these ethics should be considered largely independent of gender. Nevertheless, women are frequently the subject of studies on care because of their disadvantageous position in the distribution of paid and unpaid care work. Given this context, the present study discusses the occurrence of female poverty based on care ethics.

It is expected that women alone will fill the gap left by the public and private sectors in unpaid care work. In fact, women are pushed toward multidimensional poverty as they miss economic and social opportunities owing to the unpaid care work that they traditionally undertake. Therefore, it can be argued that unpaid care work impoverishes women. This study draws attention to the importance of building a global care ethic with an ethical care approach by eliminating the gender inequality factor that characterizes care work as the responsibility of women. The ethics of care propose a consideration of care practices in a moral framework; as this challenges historically constructed gender norms, roles, and power relations, this framework can be considered a strategy to combat female poverty based on care work. To this end, care services should be integrated with global social policy by emphasizing the moral philosophy of care ethics. The ethics of care provide the world with a school of thought that sheds new light on care and offers possible solutions. 

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Ayhan, E.E. (2022). Female Poverty in the Context of Care Ethics. Journal of Social Policy Conferences, 0(82), 383-405.


Ayhan E E. Female Poverty in the Context of Care Ethics. Journal of Social Policy Conferences. 2022;0(82):383-405.


Ayhan, E.E. Female Poverty in the Context of Care Ethics. Journal of Social Policy Conferences, [Publisher Location], v. 0, n. 82, p. 383-405, 2022.

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Ayhan, Emine Elif,. 2022. “Female Poverty in the Context of Care Ethics.” Journal of Social Policy Conferences 0, no. 82: 383-405.

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Ayhan, Emine Elif,. Female Poverty in the Context of Care Ethics.” Journal of Social Policy Conferences 0, no. 82 (Jul. 2024): 383-405.

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Ayhan, EE 2022, 'Female Poverty in the Context of Care Ethics', Journal of Social Policy Conferences, vol. 0, no. 82, pp. 383-405, viewed 24 Jul. 2024,

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Ayhan, Emine Elif,. Female Poverty in the Context of Care Ethics.” Journal of Social Policy Conferences, vol. 0, no. 82, 2022, pp. 383-405. [Database Container],


Ayhan EE. Female Poverty in the Context of Care Ethics. Journal of Social Policy Conferences [Internet]. 24 Jul. 2024 [cited 24 Jul. 2024];0(82):383-405. Available from: doi: 10.26650/jspc.2022.82.1007390


Ayhan, EmineElif. Female Poverty in the Context of Care Ethics”. Journal of Social Policy Conferences 0/82 (Jul. 2024): 383-405.


Published Online02.03.2022


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