The Changing Role Of Women And The Family

2106 Words9 Pages
This essay will discuss how women's roles have changed within the family. It will analyse these changes and draw conclusion as to whether this has adversely affected the family in Great Britain today. The discussion will compare how women were traditionally placed within the family institution over one hundred years ago and how liberation and legislation have played their part in the changing role of women within modern day families. Women were once, social and economic dependants of men. A professional career was almost impossible, and despite Britain’s ruler being female for most of the nineteenth century until 1901 when Queen Elizabeth died, women were second class citizens. In 1870, Queen Victoria had written, ‘let women be what God intended, a helpmate for man, but with totally different duties and vocations.’ Trint, S. History Learning Site 2010-2011. Women’s Rights. [accessed 07122011] Women’s subordination to men meant that their prime duty was domestic. Children were an economic responsibility for women - providing food, housing and clothing until the child was independent and could go out to work to provide for the family themselves. Most working class women worked, as this was an obligation, but this work contrasted hugely to that of their male counterparts, occupying roles of lower skill and less pay. Edward Cadbury in 1909 said that marriage was ‘an escape from work’ Trint, S. History Learning Site 2010-2011. Women’s Rights. [accessed 07122011]. It was almost essential to give birth in wedlock as single mothers were stigmatised and reduced to poverty. Functionalist, George Murdock 1949 stated that there were four basic functions of the family. These are sexual, reproductive, educational and economic. He considered these functions to be ‘universal’. Talcott Parsons 1955 suggested that there is
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