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Outline and assess the view that the Welfare State is Patriarchal

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Katie Scott Outline and assess the view that the Welfare State is Patriarchal For the feminist the welfare system incorporates patriarchal ideology found in the rest of society. The primary role of women is assumed to be domestic and childcare work. Their ideas also assume that the man is the breadwinner and has the highest wage. Patriarchy is a male dominated society, new laws and equality acts are meant to have made society more equal for men and women, however Feminists consider the number of issues that reflect just how patriarchal our society is, and the gender inequalities that are an issue. The family household is seen as a miniature welfare system that relies on the unpaid work of women which is highly unrecognised. Welfare tends to be aimed at families, but it is mainly within families that women are exploited and oppressed. As far back as the Beveridge report it was clear that the presumed role of married women was in the home being the stereotypical mother and wife. They are assumed to be in a heterosexual married relationship and financially dependent on their husbands. The 'family wage' assumed that women were provided for by their husbands, the wages and benefits were paid mainly to men on the assumption that they are the breadwinner for the family and any other income is just a supplementary wage, and that the men are responsible for the wife and children. ...read more.


There's a divide between the public and private domain which was created by traditional ideas about the separate roles of men and women. Women were confined to the private sphere (the family). This left them dependant on men who were able to operate in the private and public sphere. This idea meant that women who were without a man to rely on were forced into poverty as they cannot leave the home because of their carer and secondary responsibilities. This pattern may be caused by the lack of universal provision such as childcare facilities. Without these facilities been adequate, having children requires at least one partner giving up work for a considerable period of time. As a consequence of the state providing inadequate childcare facilities, more women are choosing childlessness, as is the number of women living alone. This lifestyle may be the most sensible option for them as it is the only way of living comfortably and avoiding poverty. The patriarchal nature of the state is dated in the number of women being in paid employment, moreover the number of women childless. The number of women who go out to work relying no the informal sector for childcare support is increasing, this may be due to the independence of women trying to become more established, there is not usually many other alternative but for mothers to have to rely on the informal sector as the state is not always especially reliable. ...read more.


Still, in today's society benefits such as child benefit are paid to the mother. This is very gender biased in the assumption that mother is responsible for feeding and clothing the child, and will be the main provider of that child's welfare, even if the mother does not live with the child then she will still receive this benefit unless under special circumstances. However there are some benefits that are for the welfare of women. Bryson argues that although the Welfare State looks at men's interests better than women's, women do nonetheless gain because of three factors. Women live longer than men on average; parental support is largely given to mothers, especially when it comes to issues such as custody of the child and access rights. Also because of men's superior position in the occupational structure, they are less likely to need the support of the welfare state unless a lone mother. However this view is once again based on the traditions of the nuclear family, it does not account for women in different situations such as a gay relationship or a successful career which are both issues that are far more common in today's society. Far more women really do use the state as a last resort these days, it was always New Rights aim to encourage the residual model of welfare and New Labour have promoted this to create independence in as many groups as possible in society. ...read more.

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