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May 4, 2018 / C H Thompson

Power in the family

  • Economic dependency (covert power) – married women become economically dependent on their husbands especially as once children arrive women give up work in order to look after the children and even when mothers do return to work it’s usually part-time rather than full-time employment.
  • This dependency means it is much easier for men to set the agenda over important family decisions.
  • Male domination (overt power ) – Feminists see the family as male dominated as men are the bread-winners and tend to make all the key financial decisions.
  • Indeed Dobash and Dobash (1995) found that most domestic violence occurs within marriage. They argue this is due to the institution of marriage gives power to men through their wives dependency on them. Feminists have stressed the significant amount of domestic violence used by men to their own way in the family.
  • Edgell (1980) found the important family decisions such as financial issues tended to be either made by the husband, while wives were free to make the trivial decisions on their own such as what ‘the evening meal with consist of’ or where ‘they do the weekly shopping’
  • Jan Phal (1993) research found men tended to control and manage a couple’s money.
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