Facing the ever increasing pace of ageing in society, the Taiwanese government proposed a “Ten-year Plan for Long-term Care” in 2007 as the basis of its long-term care policy. However, the plan clearly does not pay attention to the issue of gender justice in Taiwanese society. For example, the supply and distribution of care-giving labor as determined in the plan does not establish a system and practice that would conform to mainstream Taiwanese thought on gender issues. Feminists are keen to criticize that the long-term care of the elderly has been a burden and an indication of gender injustice in treating women. Care ethicists try to indicate the interdependence of family members and propose a fair share of the care burden between the sexes. However, they fail to offer an adequate justification for the share of the burden among family members or a proper account of the special role of the family in long-term care.
In this essay I first explore the main factors that explain why the long-term care policy and practice are unable to achieve gender justice from the perspectives of the government, the family and the individual. I then argue that it is morally and politically reasonable to develop policy concerning gender justice. From the Confucian viewpoint, the family is the core of human life and the starting point of individual moral practice and family flourishing. The family is the basic unit that could offer a suitable ground for a proper public policy to enhance the quality of long-term care without gender discrimination. I argue that Confucius and Mencius’ ideas of Jen (benevolence) and Yi (righteousness) provide the moral foundation for a proper response to the demand for gender justice in government policy. To illustrate this point, I elaborate how the Confucian principle of the “utmost fulfillment of each being’s mandate” could be applied to the policy and action of the government, the family and individuals to accomplish gender justice. I conclude that this Confucian principle is better than the feminist care ethic in directing the formulation of a proper long-term care policy.