Satz, Debra, and . Markets in Women’s Sexual Labor

1995, Ethics 106(1): 63-85.

Summary: This paper argues that prostitution and other markets in women’s sexual labor are not necessarily morally wrong. Satz argues that such markets are morally wrong to the extent that they reinforce the vast social inequalities between men and women. Satz discusses a number of approaches to understanding the wrongness of markets in women’s sexual labor, including an economic approach, an essentialist approach, and an egalitarian approach. Ultimately, she critiques the economic and essentialist approach as insufficient, favoring the egalitarian approach. Lastly, Satz discusses the question of decriminalization, arguing in favor of legislation concerning markets in women’s sexual labor only to the extent that those laws promote gender equality.

Comment: This text serves as an excellent introdution to debates concerning the morality of prostitution. It presents an overview of a number of tactics used to understand the wrongness of prostituion and provides an introduction to the legislative considerations of markets in women's sexual labor.