Assess the contribution of feminist sociologists to an understanding of family roles and relationships

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Item 2B

Feminists take a critical view of the family. They argue that family life maintains

and promotes gender inequality. For example, this is reflected in the domestic

division of labour. Housework and childcare in the family, which are carried out

mainly by women, are unpaid and hardly recognised as work at all.

However, some sociologists suggest that feminist theories ignore the extent of

family diversity. In fact, family roles and relationships are varied and therefore

women’s experiences of family life are more diverse than some feminists suggest.

Using material from Item 2B and elsewhere, assess the contribution of feminist

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sociologists to an understanding of family roles and relationships. (24 marks)

Different feminists have different views on family roles and relationships. Radical feminists believe that families maintain the oppression of women in a patriarchal and male dominated society. Germaine Greer (2000) argues that even in marriages today women are still subservient to their husbands. She has the belief that single women are happier than married women; this is reflected on by the high divorce rates instigated by women. Greer also claims wives are more likely to suffer physical and emotional abuse than husbands, and daughters are more frequently victims ...

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