Gender inequality

  • Created by: Iveta
  • Created on: 10-03-14 13:11

Conugal Roles- Housework

There are gender inequalities when it comes to the type of roles produced in the housework:

1) Functionalists: They argue that there should be a sexual divison of labour which means that women are the housewives and emotional leaders i.e. looking after children and nurtuting others. They largely should remain with the private sphere. The insutrumental leader is the role given to males, who bring home income. This shows that women are trapped within household so there are gender inequalities.

AO2: Lesbian Households: NOT all households are based around inequility. Dunne found that 80% of lesbian housholds are based around EQUALITY, such as they share housework and chidcaring roles between them. The lack of male figure means there is NO MALE DOMINANCE and thus GREATER EQUALITY

2) Young and Willmott: Symmetrical Family- They argue that family roles is becoming more symmetrical i.e. women in paid work and men showing a feminime side by cleaning

AO2: Feminist Oakley CRITICISES this. Women do housework a couple of times a week but men only do chores once a week- NOT EQUAL

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New Man

3) New Man: Young and Willmott described the idea of the 'new man' where they claimed that men were starting to become more involved with childcare and domestic work roles.
Gray showed that men were starting to see the IMPORTANCE OF FATHERHOOD i.e. they were taking their children out, they were involved with their emotional development, offered them advice, etc


  • Feminists argue that this is OVER-EXAGGERATED.
  • Also, men only do the more fun, easy roles in the house whereas women do the more harder and dirtier jobs.
    For Example, Duncombe and Marsden argue that women do double shifts (domestic work and child care) and triple shifts ( paid and unpaid work).

Since men do not become involed with these roles, this shows that there are GENDER INEQAULITIES

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Another way that gender inequalities are mainitained is that men have more power than women within the house. For example:

  • Hardill et al found that men make more decisions such as
  • buying houses
  • buying car
  • mortgage
  • paying bills, etc

This shows that women are seen as having less power

AO2: However, since the FEMINIZATION OF THE ECONOMY, women have gained MORE POWER.
For example, women have entered paid work and some have even gained more money than men. This has given them more power, escpecially if men are unemployed and so women have been making decisions

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Violence can be divided into two types: 1) Domestic violence, 2) Child Abuse

1) The British Crime Survey

It has found that women are more likely to experience violence than men do. For example, 4 per 1000 women are experiencing violence inflicted to them by men i.e. slapping compared to only 2 per 1000 women.
Radical Feminist Pizzey argues violence is as a result of male dominance in society
This shows that TWICE as many women are experiencing abuse- INEQUALITIES


  • The reliability and validity of these statistics can be questioned. NOT all cases of violence are being recorded. For example, women may be afraid to report because they they may get caught by men and then punished by men. Police may also not record them because they are hidden within PRIVATE SPHERE.
  • Also there is TOO MUCH FOCUS on female violence; men also experience abuse in the house
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Dobash and Dobash

Dobash and Dobash argue that females are more likley to be victims of violence because women are still excpected by some men do be houswives and remain very closely within their private sphere. If men are not satisfied with other the work done by women then they are likely to punish them.
This shows that there are gender inequalities within the house- women experience more violence

AO2: However, their views can be criticised:

  • Functionalists: they argue that that families BENEFIT EVERYONE EQUALLY. Parsons gives the example of the 'stablisation of adult persoanlity' where family privdes a warm, loving environment for everyone to relax and escape constraints from outside world.
    Another postive function of the family is 'primary socialisation' function which shows family is benefitial for everyone
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Child Abuse

There is also evidence for child abuse within the family.

  • Contemporary examples of child abuse such as Baby P
  • Mayall: adults have too much control over their children such as they control where they go, who they hand out, control over their bodies i.e. what to eat, drink, how to sit, etc.If children do not listen then this may result in abuse
  • Marxists: they argue that families teach parents to behave like CAPITALIST BOSSES and teaches children to be OBEDIANT. This type of control and dominance givesd parents power and can result in abuse

AO2: However this can be criticised and family can be BENEFITIAL FOR CHILDREN

  • Functionalists: argue that family can educate children, teach them from right and wrong
  • Child's position has been improving within family i.e. Shorter argues that it is important to be a good mother, they can be financially dependnat on their parents, parents love their children
  • Other positive examples i.e. children are treated better than in mediaval times
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