“Evaluate the View That Gender Inequalities Are the Result of a Patriarchal Society”

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“Evaluate the view that gender inequalities are the result of a patriarchal society” It is a gaping paradox that in a society where we seem to have reached a higher respect for women than ever before, what with improved laws protecting them both at home and in the workplace and notable demographic changes (increase in divorce and illegitimate births for example), that their economic status continually declines. This was the basis of Diane Pearce’s theory in 1978, “the feminisation of poverty” and now more than ever, it holds incredulous relevance. Why has their increased independence resulted in their pauperisation and dependence on welfare? Many feminists, including Diane Pearce, would point their finger at one cause: patriarchy. Marxist theories state that inequality is not a female issue, but a class one, for they note that middle class women are often better off than working class men. This point seems futile; can inequality not be a problem of the female and the working class male? Class aside, it is an indisputable fact that by and large, women are affected more harshly by poverty than men, in Pearce’s research into poverty in the United States, she found that two thirds of the poor who were over 16 were women. Poverty is rapidly becoming a female problem. Marxists however claim that we should focus on the eradication of capitalism, because then gender disparities will swiftly follow. Many feminists, particularly of the Marxist strain, would agree with this conviction. They believe that capitalism by its very nature is patriarchal due to the extent that it is male-dominated, male-identified and male-centred. Stating the obvious, in a patriarchal society, men are seen as the superior species and when a woman does break through the glass ceiling they are then seen to hold an air of ‘maleness’ (the ‘feminine’ characteristics are not admired: caring,

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