Outline and Asses the Feminist Explanations of Gender Inequalities

897 Words Apr 5th, 2013 4 Pages
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
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Secondly, liberal feminism has been criticised because it tends to assume that all women accept their gender identities in a passive way. Liberal feminism also does not take race or class into consideration. Marxist feminists believe women's subordination is down to the influence of capitalism. Women are seen as a reserve army of labour.' Companies only hire them when they really need them, and they do less important jobs than men, making them more disposable. Women change jobs more frequently than men, so are more vulnerable at times of redundancy, they tend to be less skilled, and capitalist ideologies locate women in the home.
The reserve army of labour theory has been criticised as it fails to explain why there are women's jobs and men's jobs. It is seems to overlook the fact that patriarchy can be influential by itself. The Marxist feminists seem to imply that once capitalism is abolished, gender inequality will disappear, which might not actually be the case.

On the other hand, Radical feminists, such as Elizabeth Stanko argue that women's inequality begins in the home, and then extends outwards in the rest of society. If a women is unequal in a relationship with her husband at home, then she is unequal to other men in wider society, e.g. in the government and the media. Radical feminists focus on power relationships between men and women in private. They claim that men exploit and control women within the