• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Feminism focuses on the oppression of women by men. The structure of families is a good example of patriarchy -

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Assess the usefulness of Marxism and other conflict theories of our understanding of society. Feminism focuses on the oppression of women by men. The structure of families is a good example of patriarchy - the traditional role of a woman in a family is to carry out expressive roles (housewife and mother) whereas the role of the man is to carry out instrumental roles (breadwinner). One could argue that legislation plays a major part in reinforcing traditional gender roles. Although legislation such as the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 has been implemented to try and reduce patriarchy, there are still many state policies that suggest that women and men have different roles. For example, statutory maternity pay for women far outweighs the 10 days of statutory paternity pay given to men. This therefore suggests, that it is the role of the woman to be the main carer for the child, which reinforces the gender stereotypes. However, this view can be criticised by liberal feminists. They argue that in today's society, there is a 'rise of the new man' who is in touch with his feminine side, and will often bring up children and carry out household chores while the woman goes out to work. ...read more.

Middle

Therefore, until human babies can be conceived outside of the womb (now already possible), and brought to full gestation outside the mother's body, the inequality between the sexes will remain. However, Firestone's theory has been criticised as it ignores other forms of inequality such as class and ethnicity, and it fails to acknowledge that the dependency is both time and society dependent. An example to support the latter is that third world countries simply do not have the technology or equipment to allow human babies to be conceived outside of the womb, whereas MEDCs such as the UK and USA do. Consequently, Firestone's theory is applicable to the third world countries, but maybe not so much to MEDCs. Liberal Feminism recognises the increased equality achieved between men and women. Oakley's (1974/1981) study in particular is useful to our understanding of why there is male dominance in society today. She says that the position of women varies greatly between societies and over time. Women have always worked, but during the industrial revolution, married women and mothers were taken out of the paid workforce. ...read more.

Conclusion

Firstly, BBC Radio 4 carried out an experiment, which consisted of them putting a made-up job advert in a national newspaper, outlining the qualifications required and the salary (�50,000). There were hardly any women applicants. Two months later, exactly the same advert was put in exactly the same newspaper, but the salary was reduced to �30,000. It was inundated with female applicants. This goes to show that in society it is not necessarily men treating women as of lesser value, hence the reasons for the differences in pay, but because women have low expectations of themselves, and don't apply for jobs with high salaries.. Therefore, it can be argued that the position of women is gradually improving and it is possible for them to reach top jobs. Secondly there is a plethora of women in high paid and well respected positions and this is not a new phenomenon there are cases of albeit rare cases of women in the highest statuses throughout history such as Cleopatra, Boudica, Queen Elizabeth the First, Margaret Thatcher, etc, etc. Despite all the different branches of feminism, they have widened our understanding of patriarchy in society and have provided further reasons rather than just the standard social reasons for the oppression of women. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification essays

  1. Gender Roles

    Men may get their role of feeling in control from the media but the media portrays the women as much more needy than they actually are. Although a lot of women are unaware they are actually following the stereotype, obsessing over boyfriends and romance.

  2. As radical feminists we recognise that we are engaged in a power struggle with ...

    It exists everywhere. It has high levels of sexist prejudices and causes the most suffering to women. Women's oppression helps understand other types of oppression. Radical feminists want to destroy the whole concept of sex/gender as a class system and wish to end the idea of difference between men and women.

  1. Examine the extent to which husbands and wives now have a relationship based on ...

    Other studies that looked at the division of labour are the following; * Dryden (1999) who studied 17 married couples and found that women still had the major responsibility for housework and childcare. * A survey carried out for the insurance firm Legal & General in April 2000 found that

  2. Are women more religious than men

    This gives an explanation to why women are more religious than men. Fifthly Greely suggested that before women acquired a partner and having children their religiosity was not dissimilar to men's, (although they were slightly more committed to religion). When you start taking care of people you begin to accept more responsibility.

  1. Sociological theories and Healthcare.

    Age Pattern of Fertility The fertility of UK women in their thirties and forties has been increasing steadily for the past two decades; an example of this would be that the fertility rates for women aged 30-34 rose from 78.2 live births per thousand women in 1986 to 104.6 in 2006.

  2. Poverty and Discrimination

    This timeline of amendments since the implementation of the original act shows that bodies such as the Commission for Racial Equality is constantly reviewing its guidelines and undertaking reviews to ensure that all loopholes are covered and that protection for minorities is at its strongest and most effective.

  1. Sociology Feminism

    They tend to have more of a militant approach to doing things; they want to get right to the root of the problem, they also feel sceptical of political change as they see such systems as being patriarchal to men it is men who are deemed as important in settings of government, law etc.

  2. A Critical Analysis of "Do Husbands contribute more to domestic tasks when their wives ...

    As we can see, when both partners work the division of labour is not equal. There is a small increase in time spent on domestic tasks by the male but not enough to show that there is an equal share of tasks in the home.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work