Assess the view that there are still unequal power relationships between men and women in society. Domestic violence is usually committed by men against women although there are a small number of reported cases of women being violent towards men. In the past it wasn’t illegal for a husband to hit his wife as it was believed it was his right to control his family. Men were also seen as breadwinners and their role was more important than those of wives and mothers.
This is still believed by some even though women are now in employment. Men still seen to have a lot of power even though women have more rights today. Reports by the Equal Opportunity Commission have shown, today men still earn more than women, and often carry on full time work when theres children, whereas women will give up work or go part time. This gives men more control over finances and decisions, therefore putting them in a more powerful position.
This may not lead directly to domestic violence as 50% of women have experience some sort of violence or stalking, young women are more vulnerable than older women. There is a general attitude that comes from the dominance of men in industry e. g media, sport and politics. Sociologist McRobbie has argued much of our perception of images of the world are from a ‘male gaze’. This ideology sees seem as objects being secondary, that their lives are less important than mens.
Marxists feminists point out that the major division between men and women in society will remain the same as long as there is a capitalist system in place. However there are some areas where women have gained equality such as in education. Girls and boys follow the same curriculum and now girls get better results than boys. Although choice of subject post-16 is still quite traditional with more boys doing science and maths and more girls doing art subjects. There have been improvement with women's working lives in laws with the Equal Pay and Sex Discrimination Acts.
There is more respect for women now, they see themselves in a more positive light, many want careers and good pay. In many areas of society men generally have more power than women - this is known as patriarchy. Feminists have provided much evidence of how men are dominant, starting from childhood during socialization into sex roles. Boy encouraged to be outgoing, independent and to hide their emotions, while girls to play with dolls, help mum with chores and stay closer to home. When in a relationship women are seen secondary to men.
Men are also getting away with domestic violence a lot of the time as the courts and police have treated it as unimportant and not a real crime. Women therefore are frightened to complain. In some areas men still have more power and control over women, but in other areas women are becoming more equal. Many women also are satisfied with roles and wives and mothers. Some households are more joint conjugal roles, and where both partners work full time. Bibliography AS level sociology AQA