Presentation on theme: "Liberal Feminism and the Equality/Difference Debate"— Presentation transcript:
1 Liberal Feminism and the Equality/Difference Debate Week 3Gender and Society
2 Recap Considered social construction of gender Considered the role of the media and schools in the construction of genderLooked at how gender impacts on work and sexuality
3 Outline The origins of Liberal Feminism Areas of interest Equality/Difference debate
4 Origins of Liberal Feminism Liberalism emerged as a philosophic movementHumans should be free and equal within societyGovernments should protect andpromote freedom and equality
5 Early liberal feminists Women campaigners pointed out that women were often excluded from these calls for equalityWomen campaigners against slavery drew links between the legal and political position of slaves and themselvesAbolitionist and Women’s Suffrage movements particularly entwined
6 Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815 -1902) ‘The prejudice against color, of which we hear so much, is no stronger than that against sex. It is produced by the same cause, and manifested very much in the same way. The negro's skin and the woman's sex are both prima facie evidence that they were intended to be in subjection to the white Saxon man’Jone Johnson Lewis. "Elizabeth Cady Stanton Quotes." About Women's History. URL: . Date accessed: (12/10/06).
7 The Second Sex 1960s saw the rise of 2nd Wave Liberal Feminism Friedan published ‘The Feminine Mystique’Explored the position of women in society and the breadmaker/homemaker divide
8 ‘The problem with no name’ ‘The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American Women. It was a strange stirring a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the US. Each suburban housewife struggled it with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night, she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question: ‘Is this all?’Friedan B (1963) The Feminine Mystique London Penguin p13
9 Public/Private Divide Demolished the myth of the contented housewifeIllustrate the impact ofwomen’s mental healthAffirmed women’s right and need to be active in the public sphere
10 To what extent do you think the image of women’s place as primarily a homemaker is important in today’s society?
11 Liberal Feminism Sex/Gender distinction is a key concept Grounded in the ideas of the enlightenmentGaining formal equality is essential to change women’s positionConcentrate on formal measures to promote equality
12 Women as individuals Women are seen as (potentially) equal citizens Fewer numbers of women in top jobs because of structural inequality not lack of abilityWomen received less educationRestricted range of occupationsLess likely to achieve promotionsBurdened with domestic responsibilities
13 Sources of gender inequality Gendered socialisation of childrenWomen’s role as primary carerGendered division of labourIn the homeIn the workplaceUnequal payBarriers to power
14 Ways to overcome inequality Gender-neutral educationEnd barriers to occupations and promotionEqual-representation rules for political positionsShared parenting and adequate childcareAccess to reproductive services
15 Changes in the public sphere Liberal feminism is closely associated with campaigns to promote equality through law and political powerEqual Pay Act 1970 (UK)Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (UK)Equal Rights Amendment Campaign (USA)All women shortlists for Parliamentary seats
16 Formal SuccessWomen can no longer legally be asked about their marital status or children in job interviewsBut it doesn’t stop it being thought aboutWomen still routinely discriminated against at work30,000 Women in the UK loose their jobs because they are pregnantRecent women graduates earn 15% less than men.(
17 Second ShiftAlthough through the reforms and agendas sponsored by liberal feminism women have made gains in education and employmentBut this has left them with the double burden of working within and outside the home.
18 Work-family balance Why do you think men, in general, have not taken on any of theirresponsibilities forchildren and the home?
19 Equality/DifferenceLiberal feminism has been divided over the equality/difference debateShould equality mean treating men and women the same or can you achieve equality by treating them differently?
20 Equality in an unequal world? Promotion procedureMinimum of five years serviceResponsibility for supervising staffBest candidate for the job
21 Equality in an unequal world? Promotion procedureMinimum of five years serviceResponsibility for supervising staffBest candidate for the jobManSix years full timecontinuous serviceSupervises 2 others full-time
22 Equality in an unequal world? Promotion procedureMinimum of five years serviceResponsibility for supervising staffBest candidate for the jobManSix years full time continuous serviceSupervises 2 others full-timeWomanSix years service but 18 months on maternity leave, and now works part-time as a job shareSupervises I other, but shares this with the job-sharer
23 Equality in an unequal world? If gender-neutral, man may be offered the promotion as has continuous services and full-time supervisory responsibilityWomen may never achieve promotionsIf equality can mean treating people differently then both would meet the criteria, and promotion could be on other qualities
24 What is equality?Discuss with the person sitting next to you to what extent you believe that you should treat people differently to achieve equality?
25 Equal Opportunities? 1979 Sex Discrimination Case in the US Sears vs Equal Employment Opportunities CommissionSears different hiring practices for men and womenNot discriminationMen & women different cultures which gave different employment interestsSears won
26 Equal Opportunities?Male dominated manual occupations in Birmingham had unsociable hours bonus schemes not available to female dominated occupationsStreet cleaners/care assistantsThe prize money offered for sporting events is sometimes less for womenThe Singles Tennis Winners at Wimbledon tournament in 2006 was different by £30,000
27 Equal Opportunities?‘Affirmative action’ programmes encourage applicant from disadvantaged backgroundsReduced entrance requirementsQuotasBeing the ‘token’ person
28 Equality/DifferenceProblems don’t just relate to women and men, but also to other disadvantages:ClassEthnicitySexualityAgeDisabilityNo universal category of woman
29 Working WithinLiberal Feminism offers a critique of current organisation of societyBut it does not formally challenge the structure of society itselfNor does it account for differences between women
30 Summary Considered in more detail the social construction of gender Outlined the viewpoint of liberal feminismsIntroduced the equality/difference debate
31 Next week Gender inequality from the perspective of Marxist feminists Introduce their concept of ‘reproduction’paid and unpaid workConsider dual systems theories