Title of essay: “Power and gender inequalities in the British society are embedded in structures and values of the traditional family”. Assess this statement using the Feminist and Conservative perspectives.
Student number: 37930
Academic advisor: Nicola Holmes
Total number of words: 1884
Submission date: 10th March, 2015
Traditional family contains father as a wage provider or breadwinner, mother as a housewife and children. Conservatives don’t agree sex discrimination is embedded in traditional family because this is a natural phenomenon, the difference between man and woman is ‘god given’ and the class diverse structure in family is created by inherence. Additionally, they also believe traditional family’s value is the core of constructing a society rather than a factor of sex inequality, we can’t forego family by feminists’ view as it is most essential institution to our community. "Families are the most important institution in our society. We have to do everything in our power to strengthen them." said David Cameron cited in Prince (2009) in a speech to the Welsh Conservative conference in Cardiff. For feminists’ attitude, they regard traditional family which operates by patriarchal system as an approach for men to exert their power on women. Kate Millett cited in McElroy (1996, pp104-105), said ‘Marriage was the agency that maintained the traditional pattern of man's power over woman.’ Millett also thinks that patriarchy is an extensive domination of women by men. Thus, feminists state that they agree power and gender inequality are embedded in the structure and value of nuclear family. Each of these perspectives will be looked at in turn.
The conservative leader of united kingdom, David Cameron (2014) once said ’ For someone from my political viewpoint who believes in building a stronger society from the bottom up, there is no better place to start than with family.’ Conservatives believe that family is the fundamental and most essential element of society institution as the function of family can construct a stable and harmony society such as establish proper value within society. Apart from family, there is no institution can provide next generation a longstanding and steady education such as teach correct value, take care of their mental development etc. Also, nuclear family can support husband and wife a healthy sexual relationship and spiritual reliability (McElroy, 1996, pp.101-102). Secondly, segregation of family sex role is a natural fact as women’s ability is lower than men. Children impropriety behaviors, poverty, crime occur in society, undeveloped educational formation etc., are caused by single mother (Jagger and Wright 1999, p.33). As single mother doesn’t capable enough to nurture the child without a father, McElroy (1996, p.102) states that, the divorced family with only single mother has lower income and less competitiveness to be hired in some high wage job with male. Therefore, conservatives propose that unequal treat toward women is because two sex’s role are set inherently. Minister of state for social services, Patrick Jenkin cited in Somerville (2000, p.133) said ’I don’t think mothers have the same right to work as father so. If good lord had intended us to have equal rights to go out to work he wouldn’t have created men and women.’ Also, Somerville (2000, p.21) explained that in a traditional family, male are the only one who are capable enough and obtain inborn quality to own the property since always. These evidences prove that male’s and female’s ability are different so they should have diverse role in nuclear family. Sokoloff (1981, pp.42-44) propose that determination of the ideology of women being ‘childrearer’ is their biological features which are breast and womb. Rearing children is women’s inherent maternal aptitude such as ‘maternal instinct ‘, they have inborn ability to give children full-time care and that