functionalist explanations of gender inequality

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  • Functionalist explanations of gender inequality
    • Gender roles in families are different and not unequal
    • Parsons argues women are more suited to the expressive role of caring and nurturing, whilst men are suited to the instrumental role of the breadwinenr
      • Murdock supports this view aruging one of the 4 functions of the family is to educate children into accepted norms + values including their gender roles
    • Human Capital Theory
      • Some economists argue men have more human capital than women as far as work is concerned
      • Men have more commitment to work, more experience and undertake more training
        • Therefore it can't be a surprise that they get paid less- they have less training and less chance of promotion
    • Dual Labour Market- Barron and Norris
      • 2 main labour market
        • Primary- jobs are secure and there are good working conditions
        • Secondary- characterised by lower paid jobs with less security that are often part time or temporary
        • Women are more likely to be employed in the secondary labour market because employers are less interested in women than men
      • Criticised by Burchell and Rubery 1994- argue division between primary and secondary labour markets is too simplistic. Their research revealed at least 5 divisions that weren't all gendered
    • Hakim 2004
      • Argues there have been improvements in opporunities for women
        • Preference theory
          • Women can choose to have a career, look after children or a combination of the two
          • They can make a rational choice and exercise a preference
    • Parsons argues the family have two functions
      • Socialising children
      • Stabilisation of the adullt personality


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