Theories of Patriarchy & Feminist Ideology

3052 Words Sep 1st, 2000 13 Pages
Assess the claim that gender inequalities in the domestic and occupational divisions of labour are best understood with reference to the concept of patriarchy. You should illustrate your answer with reference to a range of feminist perspectives.

Introduction
Western female thought through the centuries has identified the relationship between patriarchy and gender as crucial to the women's subordinate position. For two hundred years, patriarchy precluded women from having a legal or political identity and the legislation and attitudes supporting this provided the model for slavery. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries suffrage campaigners succeeded in securing some legal and political rights for women in the UK. By the middle of
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The household has a different structure to other institutional forms, e.g., the workplace. This is an important point because if feminist theories of patriarchy are to stand they must show that patriarchy operates to the same end in both the private and public sphere, even if it uses different strategies, otherwise it could not be the main reason for the continuing inequality of women in both the private and public sphere.

Walby shows that within the private structure and the public structures, patriarchy does use different strategies to maintain gender inequality and these strategies both achieve the subordination of women. The household strategy is considered to be exclusionary and the public structures strategy as segregationist.

The exclusionary strategy in the private arena is based on household production. Application of this strategy in the domestic sphere depends on individual patriarchs controlling women in the private world of the home. The male patriarch in the household is both the oppressor and recipient of women's subordination. This strategy is direct – women are oppressed on a personal and individual basis by the individual patriarchs who share their lives.

The segregationist strategy used in the public patriarchy actively excludes women from the public arena using various structures to subordinate them. Application depends on controlling access to public arenas (Golombok and Fivush, 1995). This strategy
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