• 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. Sociological theories and Healthcare.

    The above life expectancy figures make no allowance for future changes in mortality. Allowing for the latest projected future improvements in mortality from the 2006-based population projections the cohort life expectancy at birth in 2006 is projected to be 88.1 years for a boy and 91.5 years for a girl.

  2. Are women more religious than men

    These traits are compatible with religiosity as these are highly honoured by all religions. Also men who express these norms tend to be more religious than men who don't. Females who have lower rates of participation in the church believe women who do more church related activities have higher rates of commitment and personal identity.

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

    * The Future Foundation Survey (2000) found a positive in the division of labour and found that two thirds of men said they did more around the home than their fathers and women said they were receiving more help from husbands and boyfriends. * Bernard (1982)

  2. Gender Roles

    Most children then grow older having been influenced into believing that this is their favourite colour, already creating a gender division between what they like. Parents will also channel a child's interest in the form of activities and toys, given what will prepare them for the gender roles later in life.

  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. My sociology coursework is about the segregated conjugal roles between men and women in ...

    I also know that there may be a low response rate as some people may not be at home and others may not fit the criteria of my respondents or as I mentioned previously have difficulties in reading and writing English.

  1. Black Feminism

    Three concepts, which are central to feminist theory, developed into a concern in black women's lives, the family, patriarchy, and reproduction. When used they are placed in a context of the experience of white women who are invariably middle class women and become inconsistent when applied to the lives and experiences of black women.

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

    Statistics show that for full time employees the pay gap is 10.2 per cent. This is down from 12.2 per cent in 2009 but still proves the radical feminists views. Women were historically the first oppressed group and most widespread.

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