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Assignment 2

(Q) Assess the contribution of feminism to an understanding of society. (1,200-1,500).

Feminism is a movement that argues that women suffer injustices in society because of their gender. “Like Marxists, Feminists take a critical view of the family and see that family as an institution that benefits men more than women and children” (Webb, R. ‘et al’, 2008, pg.43.). The development of feminism has led to attention being focused on the subordinate position of women in many societies. Feminists believe that women need to fight for their rights and free themselves from patriarchy. Feminist sociologists have been mainly responsible for developing theories of gender inequality, yet there is little agreement about the causes of this inequality, or about what actions should be taken to reduce or end it. There are several feminist approaches that can be broadly distinguished however, I will discuss the four most important, which include: liberal, radical, Marxist and difference feminism. The purpose of this assignment is to asses what the different types of feminism are and how they are applied in society today. “Liberal feminism was the earliest form of feminist theory and in that it was concerned principally with legal restrictions on women, and the effect of these on the construction of gender inequalities”. (Kirby M., ‘et al’, 2000, pg.527). Liberal Feminists focus on the increased equality that exists between men and women, and the fact that many couples see their relationship as an equal partnership. This is a ‘march of progress’ view that the emergence of the ‘new man’, a man who will take an active role in housework and childcare and is in touch with his ‘female side’ is becoming more widespread. Legislations such as the ‘Equal Pay Act (1970)’ & ‘Sex Discrimination Act (1975)’ did leave women legally equal, although in many respects they didn’t eliminate inequality as “equality depends on further reforms and changes in the attitudes and

Bibliography: Haralambos, M. and Holborn, M. (2008) Sociology: Themes and Perspectives. London HarperCollins Kirby M., Kidd, W., Koubel, F., Barter, J., Hope, T., Kirton, A., Madry, N., Manning, P., Triggs, P. (2000) Sociology in Perspective AQA Edition Oxford: Heinemann Educational Publishers Webb, R., Westergaard, H., Trobe, K., Steel, L., (2008) AS Level Sociology, Brentwood: Napier Press Webb, R., Westergaard, H., Trobe, K., Steel, L., (2009) A2 Sociology, Brentwood: Napier Press Livesey, C., (2003) Feminism Available from: http://www.sociology.org.uk/tmfem.pdf Accessed (21st April 2014).

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