Feminism: Questions, Mark Schemes (Indicative Content) and Examiner's Reports

All the questions on feminism that have been on the exam papers between January 2010 and January 2012 are contained on this document. In italics are the comments from the examiners, quoted from the Edexcel Examiner's Report. Please note, there are no question-specific examiner's comments for the January 2010 paper. The indicative content taken from the mark scheme has been condensed into bullet points.

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Preview of Feminism: Questions, Mark Schemes (Indicative Content) and Examiner's Reports

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Feminism Exam Questions
January 2010
What is patriarchy and why is it important to feminist analysis?
Patriarchy means rule by father, referring to the domination of the husband/father within the family
in the subordination of his wife and children
General sense `rule by men', drawing attention to totality of oppression and exploitation
Implies system of male power in society at large both reflects and stems from family
Highlights extent to which relations between women and men are structured by unequal gender
Conventional political theory treats gender relations as natural, feminists view them as part of the
political institution of male power
Radical: patriarchy draws attention to systematic, institutionalised and pervasive character of male
power present in all social institutions
To what extent is feminism compatible with other ideologies?
Ideologies shown sympathy for the idea of gender equality: liberalism and socialism
o Individualism implies individuals are entitled to equal treatment regardless of sex
o Individuals should be judged on rational grounds, content of character, talents or personal
worth = equal rights, rejection of discrimination
o Liberalism inspired suffragettes and `first-wave' feminism
o Patriarchy can be understood in the light of social and economic factors
o Patriarchy and capitalism interlocking systems of oppression and exploitation
o Women constitute `reserve army of labour''
o Engels: subordinate role of women originated with private property
o Female emancipation only achievable through radical social change/revolution
Radical feminism:
o Because they take gender to be the deepest social cleavage and most politically significant,
they repute the thesis (no other ideology can accept this)
o Patriarchal oppression can only be overthrown and replaced ­ liberalism and socialism are
o Liberalism: individualism over sisterhood; reformist; uphold public-private divide
o Socialism: `class war' over `sex war', importance of labour movement blur and conceal
gender divisions
June 2010
How and why have feminists been critical of the `private/public' divide?
There were some highly impressive answers to this question, as is the case in relation to many feminism questions.
The general, and sensible, approach was to consider this from the perspective of radical feminism, and explain
how and why radical feminists have believed that the `public/private' divide has traditionally served to conceal
the realities of patriarchal power and female oppression. Those that recognised that this question was linked to
the idea that `the personal is the political' generally developed sound or better responses. Other candidates, not

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However, when candidates started to explain how and
why liberals have emphasised the importance of the `public/private' divide, they tended to be moving away from
the question set, thus restricting the marks they were able to achieve. Remember that this is a two part question ­
you must make sure to answer both 'how' and 'why' aspects for a comprehensive answer.…read more

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Sex: natural and unalterable biological differences between females and males
Gender: Different roles that society ascribes to men and women, usually imposed through
contrasting stereotypes
Sex is `given' while gender is `constructed'.…read more

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Although weaker responses sometimes ignored socialist feminism altogether; or
associated it with weaker responses sometimes ignored socialist feminism altogether; or associated it with the
liberal feminist rejection of the quote, stronger responses often recognised that socialist feminists have developed
their own version of `the personal is the political'.…read more


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