In objectifying the other all become victims - Ethics Education can change this

8th February, 2021

Three global events celebrated during this month of February refer to the themes of inclusion and education. The international Day for Women and Girls in Science is an event celebrated annually on 11 February by the United Nations to remind all that women, who until recently were left behind, have capabilities and are subjects with potentials who contribute to science and its improvement. The focus on 20 February on Social Justice Day and on 21 February on Mother Language Day by the global community all point to the need to reflect justice issues because they enable people to access what is their right and retain their authenticity. The discipline of ethics challenges us to reflect on the reality of women and girls who suffer discrimination in the fields of science and technology due to lack of access and opportunity. And this is happening in many countries across continents in the 21st century.

In her contribution to our recent book Who Cares About Ethics? published in January 2021 at Globethics.net, Lucy Howe López writes and very correctly too: “whenever a subject becomes an object, invariably harm tends to and actually does happen. As soon as a human or non-human subject is perceived to be and actually is objectified, then that opens the door for “it” to be treated in a way that is less than human or humane”. Lucy’s incisive essay goes further to demonstrate how objectification is a problem. In objectifying the other, all become victims. “In the context of the (mis)treatment of women, in those matters when women and girls are seen in particular as sexual objects or as servants to be used and abused…they become disempowered, weakened, brought low and dehumanised through an exercise of might”. This is what must change.

Education embedded with ethical ingredients helps perpetrators of such a narrow view of their fellow human beings understand that they “surely lose some of their own humanity in the process”. The disparity and disconnect of building walls of racial and class distinctions, gender bias and ideological contradictions distorts our hopes for a better world for everybody. These cannot happen without education grounded on values with ethical content.

Daily news with disaster-prone events during these upsetting times of the COVID-19 pandemic and its variants remind us of our unique roles as members of the Globethics.net network to know, practice and spread the values of respect for the dignity of every person with the values of inclusion and fairness that help overcome exclusion. Modern society has brought much noticeable progress to the fields of the arts, travel, sciences, medicine, agriculture, technology and lifestyles. Yet, many people are not happier and seem not to find orientation towards ethical values or some rational meaning in anything. The invitation extended in this Newsletter is for us to stand up for others and support the many efforts being made by others to promote the common good of all.

Aristotle called it the “good life” corresponding to “ethical living”. At Globethics.net we are building bridges to this “good life” through exchange and greater self-knowledge with all invited to join the upcoming courses slated for March and April by our Academy and Resources. These courses are on offer free of charge, or with a fee for certification if so desired, on: Cyber Ethics; Corporate Social Responsibility; Responsible Leadership; Ethics in Higher Education for Teaching Professionals; and Interreligious Cooperation for Peace. You cannot miss out!

Our realistic optimism helps us recognise the equality of all persons as we engage in promoting global peace and international understanding through ethics, an agenda that is much needed in the world of today.


Obiora Ike
Globethics.net Executive Director

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