Outline and Asses the Feminist Explanations of Gender Inequalities

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Outline and asses the feminist explanations of gender inequalities (40) Feminists believe that women are unequal to men, and the different groups think it is down to different reasons. Liberal feminists think it is because it is down to gender role socialisation. Marxist feminists believe it is down to capitalism. Radical feminists think women are not equal to men because of relationships within the home, and black feminist think they are unequal not just because they are women, but also because of their skin colour. All groups of feminists also believe that women are subordinated due to patriarchy, (the idea that males are dominant). Firstly, liberal feminists, such as Ann Oakley argue that gender role socialisation is responsible for sexual division of labour. Girls and boys are socialised in different ways. For example girls are encouraged to take on caring roles, which could lead to them having jobs such as nurses in the future. 3 agents of socialisation- the family, the school and the media have an influence on the way boys and girls are socialised. For example, in the home there is manipulation and canalisation. Manipulation is when boys and girls are encouraged to play with gender specific toys. Canalisation is when specific behaviour is encouraged or discouraged. For example if a boy falls over and hurts himself, he is encouraged not to cry and to act in a brave way. On the other hand, if the same thing happened to a girl, she would be given more sympathy. Ann Oakley argues that there is still an expectation for women to take on the housewife/mother role. Because of this, it is more difficult for women to pursue careers as men do. Oakley also claims that employers expect women to play the role of housewife rather than pursue a career. This patriarchal ideology is justified by men through claims that women are more suited to caring roles because of their maternal instinct. However, recently some liberal feminists such as Sue Sharpe have been more...
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