Outline and Asses Feminist Explanations of Inequality

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Outline and assess feminist explanations of social inequality

Feminists stress the importance of woman being treated as equal to men in society and work to ensure that males and females are entitled to the same rights. Most believe that women are disadvantaged in society due to their gender and that this disadvantage is socially constructed; there are numerous types of feminists which take different approaches in explaining key concepts such as status, power the labour market and other disadvantages some individuals face within society.
Most feminist explanations of inequality focus on discrimination surrounding gender, however Oakley provides an explanation for age inequality; she argues that inequalities experiences by children are inextricably linked to those of women and the patriarchal nature of society. Children are controlled by adults in relation to the age they can start work, their education, where they play and use of their time. Gannon (1999) goes on to argue that some are controlled by abuse and neglect and that older women are materially deprived compared to men as a result of time out of employment and the gender pay gap. However Wyness (2006) opposes this view and argues that children are controlled by both women and men in society.
Liberal feminists desire equal opportunities for men and women which they argue can be achieved through legislation and changing attitudes. They argue that gender roles are socially constructed through the family, education and the media. Through socialisation or sex-role conditioning, gender inequalities are formed; women are socialised into passive or subordinate roles and men into dominant ones. Oakley argues that a process of canalisation and manipulation socialises children into specific gender roles and the dominant patriarchal ideology means women are perceived as wives and mothers and therefore seen as…...

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