Sex and Social Justice' by Martha Nussbaum: Critical Essay

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The concept of poverty, capability deprivation, and social exclusion have been widely used but on problematical perception. The capability approach reflects different ways in which humans' lives become blighted, which in turn gives a framework into which poverty can be analyzed. Various authors in books and journals have come forward to explain poverty as a capability deprivation with some supporting documented literature while others reject it. Notably, all authors aim at explaining measures society needs to undertake in the fight against poverty. Typically, a framework involved in poverty analysis can seek to reflect on how culture can be changed and how economic shock can be reduced. This paper entails a discussion on how capability theory is an essential measure to fight poverty than a focus on raising the income of the poor based on the arguments presented from three articles written by Sen Amartya, Nussbaum Martha, and Katherine Boo.

Usually, sex, a person's location, social class and role, age, and epidemiology atmosphere directly affect self-capability and income, and humans have no control over them (Sen 1). Society coexistence involves meeting the specific needs of the old and those of the very young. Gender and social class play an important role when a person has maternity, insecurity, or family obligations in which all costs must be met. Location involves the proneness to aspects such as flooding, or drought, uncertainty, and violence in the cities. When we take a close examination of communities based on their age, gender, location, and so on, the variations of parameters become particularly important. Building the capability of a group ensures that even when the breadwinner becomes incapacitated, the family will have the privilege to use sources and skills gathered within the community.

Income tends to be limited in covering all basic need and hence call for diversification. According to the Amartya Sen, when a person becomes ill, disabled, or grows old, the ability to earn an income typically goes down. Also, it becomes harder for such people to convert income into capability since there needs even more money for prosthesis, assistance, and treatment (Sen 1). Empowering people through salary increases means that real poverty will never be kicked out in a generation. In the end, more poverty will be intense than what appears in the income phase. Ideally, these facts act as an open eye to the government and concerned groups that the elderly need to be assisted in converting income to capabilities. Even though they are on a low income, the little earned can be invested to create a plus source of income, which otherwise helps suppress the primary income.

Sen continues to indicate that income distribution in a family is a considerable challenge (Sen 2). This is especially when family income is misused for the benefit of a few and the disadvantage of others. Families that practice favor to the boy child when allocating resources might cause capacity deprivation a form of reduced ability or suffer from capability disorders in the girl child. This issue is common in families in Asia and North Africa and is believed to be caused by sex biases. The girl child's degree of capability deprivation can be checked with increased cases of morbidity, undernourishment, mortality, and neglect of the medical provision, among others. For a family to diversify its income and avoid challenges in income distribution, capacity building is essential. Poverty cuts across all genders, and once a specific gender is favored in resource allocation, both end up suffering when poverty strikes.

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The capabilities approach acts as a powerful tool to craft accounts for social justice (Nussbaum 8). The idea behind the capabilities approach entails a space that can be used for comparison of inequalities and insufficient. Usually, it's essential for those in the political class to get the vision of social justice and which has the requisite information about the capability of a society. Even though politicians always doctor this information, the reality on the ground can help understand areas of the community that needs improvement, especially on women's empowerment. Also, men in society need to recognize that women have a role to play in the fight against poverty and that they have the capacity. According to Martha Nussbaum, women are making proposals in public portfolios demanding respect for their human dignity. When society accepts that gender justice, which correlates to the connection of both sexes, has a role to play in the fight against poverty reduction, the whole world will accept that capability building is the way to fighting poverty and community empowerment.

Deprivation on income has a direct negative effect on the capability approach of a person. A person earning relatively high as per the international standard salary scale in a rich country is considered inferior and capability deprived (Sen 2). In this case, such a person can't be classified as being financially stable even after earning a high salary. Abundant countries' commodities and services are relatively high in price and usually cause income deprivation on employees even if there make much more compared to other countries. Income deprivation, in this case, means money is instantly spent after being received from the employer, which gives no room for investment and capacity building. In this case, more income becomes a must for a person to buy enough items and commodities to fit in the same social class. Adam Smith, in his journal The Wealth of Nations of 1776, indicates that poverty and wealth are socially determined. Rich countries offer tremendous opportunities for capability approach building, and hence people working in such places need to be empowered to capitalize on capacity building and not dependency on income.

The capability approach helps reduce and ultimately eradicate people’s behavior to depending on those who survive on income. According to Martha Nussbaum's article, the elderly, disabled, and children highly depend on people who are on salary. Depending on someone else lowers the productivity level. At the same time, people who others depend on are rendered incapacitated since what there earn is ultimately shared among all people depending on them living with nothing in their pocket. These acts are gender justice since most of the caregiving goes to women from their husbands without public recognition (Nussbaum 5). At the same time, women are put responsible for taking care of old, children, and disabled people, which means they do not work and hence, depend on those in the working class. In this case, those in the working class responsibly feed two people at one time, which makes the burden unbearable. Generally, when people's capability is enhanced, one can come up with measures for self-sustainability, which other otherwise help in the distribution of richness.

After a close analysis of Martha Nussbaum's article, it's clear that the capability approach building should be timed. In the course of human life, people spend their early life precisely from infancy to twenty years on total dependency. This dependency involves both mental and physical aids. Also, at the end of life, which covers eighty years or so, dependence on both physical and psychological ability comes back. The middle years of human life are quite important when initiating capability approach building. Ironically this is the years when a person receives dependency from the old and the young. In this case, if a person does not receive capability building, both the young and the old will have nowhere to depend on, which aggravates poverty levels. Generally, humans are created to depend on others and sometimes to give a chance for others to rely on them. In other words, society exists in a caregiving and care-receiving scenario, and it's essential to ensure that the ability to be a caregiver is implanted at the right age.

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Sex and Social Justice’ by Martha Nussbaum: Critical Essay. (2023, October 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 18, 2024, from
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