The role of men and women in a family are not explicitly defined and vary vastly from across many countries. In Iran for example, men’s roles are normally more valued and rewarded than women’s roles.
This research report will outline the basic assumptions about families prior to any feminist changes and explain the rationale for this. It will then discuss the initiation of the feminist movement and the way in which it affected the roles within a family and the structure of a family. The report will analyse the implications of feminism and discuss the types of feminism, which have affected the basic assumptions of families. In order to fully understand the challenges feminist have posed, ...view middle of the document...
(Talcott, P. 1956 cited in Giddens, A. 2009). This clearly illustrates the defined and separate roles within a family that men and women have.
Furthermore, John Bowlby (1953) also argued that the mothers have important roles in their children’s lives. If the mother is absent or if the child is separated from his or her mother then they are more likely to suffer from maternal deprivation, therefore this means that the child will have a lack of socialisation in the future. (Giddens, A.2009). This reinforces Parson’s view and emphasises the distinct and selective role of a female within a family. (Bowlby, J. 1953 cited in Giddens, A.2009)
The structure of the family and the roles within a family has dramatically altered and developed over time. A key movement, which promoted this change, was the feminist movement. Delmar (1986) sees feminism as three aspects; a feminist is someone concerned with: discrimination against women, unsatisfied needs of women and the necessity for radical change (or revolution) if these unsatisfied needs are to be met. (Delmar 1986 cited in O’Donnell. 1992)
Feminism began in the western world in the late eighteenth century and has been divided into three waves. The first wave occurred between 1890 and 1920 when several women attempted to win the vote concerning women suffragettes. The impact of feminism did not develop or impact upon the domestic sphere until the second wave of feminism. (Taylor et al. 1995)
Statistical data from the post-Second World War period showed that family income, which was mainly from one family member, usually the head male, who was identified as the head of the household. This type of data collection was based on the assumption, that only the husband or the father is responsible for most of the money (Marsh and Arber, 1992). Whereas, information regarding children’s health or education was normally collected from the mothers, thus this indicates that mothers are the people, who have the most knowledge about their children’s health. (Marsh and Arber 1992 cited in Cheal, D. 2002) This data clearly denotes that there was a clear demarcation in the roles of a woman and man within the family, and it is evident at this point there had been no dramatic changes to the structure of the family or roles within a family.
A second wave (1960s-1980s) of feminism occurred in Britain and other western societies. The second wave occurred, so women can have their equal social and political rights. A French philosopher and author Simone de Baeuvoir expressed that “One is not born, but rather becomes a woman,” in her famous book “The Second Sex” (de Beauvoir, 1949). Simone de Baeuvior advocated that “women were born neither wives or mother”. (Simone de Baeuvoir, 1994 cited in Janine di Giovann, 2009) This opinion was expressed concerning the period prior to 1949 and is indication of the feminist movement in this era. It is clear that the basic assumptions of a family within this era were subject to...