What makes individuals, groups, or even entire countries vulnerable? And why is vulnerability a concern in bioethics? A simple answer to both questions is that vulnerable individuals and groups are subject to exploitation, and exploitation is morally wrong. This analysis is limited to two areas. First is the context of multinational research, in which vulnerable people can be exploited even if they are not harmed, and harmed even if they are not exploited. Second is the situation of women, who are made vulnerable in cultural settings or in entire countries in which they are oppressed and powerless. (edited).