Feminism is characterised by the belief that gender is the most significant division in society, and a desire to overthrow any disadvantage conferred due to sex. Feminism is seen as having emerged and occurred in three distinct ‘waves’:

  • First wave (1850s-1940s) concentrated on removing formal forms of inequality, such as unequal voting rights
  • Second wave (1960s-1980s) recognised that the removal of legal and political inequalities had not removed other forms of injustice and unfair treatment of women, so attempted to politicise women’s personal lives as well
  • Third wave (1990s) was concerned with the experiences of different groups of women, recognising that traditionally, feminism tended to reflect the concerns and interests of white middle-class women

It has been suggested that feminism has entered a fourth wave, which is a reaction against inequality if media portrayals of women, and issues arising from the expansion of social media, such as online misogyny. Feminism is marked out as a distinct ideology by the proclamation of the central importance of gender and gender divisions, which other ideologies had not addressed. These ‘conventional ideologies’ were criticised as ‘difference blind’, or for being patriarchal. Despite this unifying theme feminism includes many different traditions, such as liberal, socialist/Marxist, radical, and others. Feminism is therefore sometimes characterised by fragmentation (and internal opposition to the ideas of different feminists), but, core themes can be identified.

Historically, it was believed that gender differences in society are natural; that women and men fulfil different roles in society that nature designed them to do. A women’s physical design means that she is suited to a subordinate and domestic life. This idea is that ‘biology is destiny’. However, feminists argue that women and men adopt certain roles, such as the child-carer and the breadwinner, because it is expected of them, not because it is a natural function. In reality, domestic responsibilities could be undertaken by the husband or shared.

Feminists have traditionally challenged the idea of ‘biology as destiny’ by claiming there is sharp distinction between sex and gender. Sex refers to the fixed biological difference between men and women. The most important fixed differences are clearly anatomy and the ability to reproduce. Gender is a cultural or socialised term. It refers to the different roles that society attributes to men and women. These differences are imposed on people through the stereotypes of ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’, ‘femininity’ being characterised by a passive, subordinate role. Simone de Beauvoir claimed, ‘women are made, not born’. Feminists argue that gender differences in people are created by a society that is dominated by patriarchy and that biological differences do not fix gender. They claim that there is no necessary link between the two.

Many feminists believe that human nature is androgynous (neither ‘masculine’ nor ‘feminine’). All human beings inherit the genetics of both their mother and father and therefore have the capacity for both male and female traits. They accept that sexual differences but insist that they have no social / political significance. Women and men should not be judged by their sex but as individual people. The goal for many feminists is therefore to achieve genderless ‘personhood’. Highlighting the difference between sex and gender is vital for feminists. Not only can they try end stereotyping that causes the oppression of women but also try to break down learned gender roles and social expectations.

‘Difference feminists’ disagree with other feminists, suggesting that there is a natural / essential difference between men and women. This ‘essentialist’ perspective suggests that cultural differences do reflect biological differences, and that these differences reflect different characteristics.

Feminists believe that gender (just like any other social division such as race or class) is a politically significant issue. Indeed, radical feminists argue that gender is the most important social division. Feminists have therefore advanced the theory of sexual politics in much the same way that socialists argue the idea of class politics. They highlight sexism as a form of oppression similar to racism. Conventional political analysis has failed to recognise sexism as important and, as a result, feminists have had to create their own theories.

Feminists use the concept of the ‘patriarchy’ to describe the power relationship between men and women. The term literally means ‘rule by the father’. Feminists use the term to simply describe the structure of the family and the dominance of the husband / father. They argue that the dominance of the husband symbolises male supremacy in all other institutions of life. Many argue that the family and the male dominance of it lies at the heart of the systematic process of the male dominance of women, as it reproduces this problem in all other walks of life- because the family shapes attitudes. Patriarchy is usually therefore used in a broader way to mean ‘rule by men’. Millet claimed that it contains two principles- ‘male shall dominate female’ and ‘elder males shall dominate younger’.

The concept of patriarchy is however a broad one. Feminists agree that men have dominated women in all societies but to differing degrees. They argue that in western counties the position of women significantly improved during the twentieth century. However, in other parts of the world there is still the cruel and violent domination of women by men.

Liberal feminists use the term to describe the unequal distribution of rights and entitlements in society. It represents the underrepresentation of women in senior positions and professions, so they support policies such as affirmative action (such as all-women shortlists) to create a more level playing field for women. Socialist feminists argue that patriarchy is focused on economic domination and inequality. Some socialist feminists reject the term arguing that inequality is a consequence of capitalism and the class system. Radical feminists stress the importance of patriarchy, seeing it as a systematic and powerful tool of male domination that oppresses all women. Walby (1990) proposed six structures of patriarchy:

  • State (women have been denied access to formal power/representation)
  • Household (women have been discouraged from pursuing any occupations other than a domestic role)
  • Violence (women are much more likely to be victims of domestic abuse, which was not even a criminal offence in the past)
  • Paid work (women are more likely to take jobs in subordinate positions to men, such as assistants, secretaries, nurses)
  • Sexuality (women have been encouraged to suppress natural sexual desires)
  • Culture (society reinforces the expected position and role of women through the media)
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Feminism A* Essay Plan - A Level Government and Politics

Feminism A* Essay Plan - A Level Government and Politics

Subject: Government and politics

Age range: 16+

Resource type: Assessment and revision

pyle03

Last updated

31 March 2020

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To what extent do feminists agree that gender distinctions are based on human nature? A* Essay Plan Organised by strands of feminism Includes key thinkers

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A Level Politics Ideologies Essays and Essay Plans (A*)

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a level politics feminism essay questions

What are the most likely questions for the 24 Mark Ideologies Question? (Edexcel)

a level politics feminism essay questions

Disclaimer: This post deals with potential examination questions. It is not a definitive list; others could be asked. It is simply designed to help students potentially sense the type of questions that might be asked. However, all questions so far (2019 and 2022) and fitted into the scope of the questions included.

Note: Please also note that this guidance should not be treated in any way as official Pearson Edexcel guidance.

The potential questions for the 24 Mark Ideologies Questions are much more predictable than the 30 Mark Essay and 30 Mark Source Question. This is because questions have to come from the specification and is much less scope for the examiners to find questions for the Ideologies Questions.

There are two types of Ideologies Question you will come across:

  • Holistic Question
  • Thematic Question

The holistic question is one that simply asks where or not there is more agreement or disagreement within an ideology. These questions will be rare, however, they have been asked before. If the question is holistic, you can answer it using the big four themes:

  • Human Nature

The thematic questions will either be based on the big themes (Economy, Society, Human Nature and States) or core principles indicated on the first page of the specification for each ideology.

These questions should themselves be approached thematically, with themes selected which are relevant to the question.

What are the likely questions for Liberalism?

The precise wording of these questions will of course change, but the themes will be useful for gauging likely questions

To what extent do Liberal agree more than they disagree?

To what extent do Liberals agree/disagree over the issue of Human Nature?

To what extent do Liberals agree/disagree over the issue of the Economy?

To what extent do Liberals agree/disagree over the issue of the State?

To what extent do Liberals agree/disagree over the issue of Society?

To what extent do Liberals agree/disagree over the issue of Individualism?

To what extent do Liberals agree/disagree over the issue of Freedom?

To what extent do Liberals agree/disagree over the issue of Liberty?

To what extent do Liberals agree/disagree over the issue of Rationalism?

To what extent do Liberals agree/disagree over the issue of Equality?

To what extent do Liberals agree/disagree over issue of the Social Justice?

To what extent do Liberals agree/disagree over the issue of Liberal Democracy?

What are the likely questions for Conservatism?

To what extent do Conservatives agree more than they disagree?

To what extent do Conservatives agree/disagree over the issue of Human Nature?

To what extent do Conservatives agree/disagree over the issue of the Economy?

To what extent do Conservatives agree/disagree over the issue of the State?

To what extent do Conservatives agree/disagree over the issue of Society?

To what extent do Conservatives agree/disagree over the issue of Pragmatism?

To what extent do Conservatives agree/disagree over the issue of Tradition?

To what extent do Conservatives agree/disagree over the issue of Human Imperfection?

To what extent do Conservatives agree/disagree over the issue of the Organic Society?

To what extent do Conservatives agree/disagree over the issue of the Organic State?

To what extent do Conservatives agree/disagree over the issue of Paternalism?

To what extent do Conservatives agree/disagree over the issue of Libertarianism?

What are the likely questions for Socialism?

To what extent do Socialists agree more than they disagree?

To what extent do Socialists agree/disagree over the issue of Human Nature?

To what extent do Socialists agree/disagree over the issue of the Economy?

To what extent do Socialists agree/disagree over the issue of the State?

To what extent do Socialists agree/disagree over the issue of Society?

To what extent do Socialists agree/disagree over the issue of Collectivism?

To what extent do Socialists agree/disagree over the issue of Common Humanity?

To what extent do Socialists agree/disagree over the issue of Equality?

To what extent do Socialists agree/disagree over the issue of Social Class?

To what extent do Socialists agree/disagree over the issue of Workers’ Control?

What are the likely questions for Feminism?

To what extent do Feminists agree more than they disagree?

To what extent do Feminists agree/disagree over the issue of Human Nature?

To what extent do Feminists agree/disagree over the issue of the Economy?

To what extent do Feminists agree/disagree over the issue of the State?

To what extent do Feminists agree/disagree over the issue of Society?

To what extent do Feminists agree/disagree over the issue of Sex and Gender?

To what extent do Feminists agree/disagree over the issue of the Patriarchy?

To what extent do Feminists agree/disagree over the notion that the ‘personal is political’?

To what extent do Feminists agree/disagree over the issue of Equality Feminism?

To what extent do Feminists agree/disagree over the issue of Intersectionality?

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  1. A Level Politics feminism essay plan

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  2. Feminism is for Everybody Free Essay Example

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  3. Politics A-Level (Edexcel) Essay Questions

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  4. Politics A Level Edexcel

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  5. Feminism essays and essay plans for Edexcel (24 markers)

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  6. A* Essay

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COMMENTS

  1. Feminism essays and essay plans for Edexcel (24 markers)

    11 Found helpful • 5 Pages • Essays / Projects • Year Uploaded: 2022. Fully written out feminism essays on human nature, the role of the state, economic systems. The majority of these essays are fully written personally whereas the very few are simply essay plans for you to develop into a full length answer as part of revision.

  2. Feminism essay plans

    With reference to feminist thinkers you have studied, analyse and evaluate how far feminism addresses the needs of all women. INTRODUCTION - First Wave/Second Wave Feminism has traditionally been critiqued for focusing largely on the plights of the middle class, white women. - Feminism has evolved over time (to the current era of post-modernism, which seeks to recognise the position of women ...

  3. PDF EDEXCEL A Level Politics

    This booklet has questions from a variety of sources. EDEXCEL Endorsed Sample Assessment Material (SAMs) - www.pearson.com - 16/01/18 Colclough, A et al, Edexcel AS & A Level Politics: New for 2017, 2017, Pearson, London. ... Feminism, Anarchism, 2017. Hodder Education, London. Cooper, T, (Eds: Magee E), Edexcel AS/A Level Year 1 Workbook ...

  4. A Level Politics

    A Level Politics - Feminism. To what extent are feminists united over the idea that the personal is political (24 marks) United Divided SOCIAL CONDITIONING Things that were considered part of private sphere and up to individual choice aren't Childcare, housework, contraception, abortion, controlled by patriarchal forces in society, enforced negatively on women as state, law and economy is ...

  5. A Level Politics Revision

    I have recorded three essay-planning sessions for each of Socialism, Conservatism, multiculturalism and Feminism. Recorded on 2022 - these sessions help with accessing political ideas content. ... I have put together over 200 global politics essay questions. This book should be the starting point to your essay writing revision. On Amazon.

  6. Differing Views and Tensions Within Feminism

    Post-modern feminism. This emerged as part of third-wave feminism, a term adopted since the 1990s. It emerged due to the raising of new issues for women, and the effect of second-wave feminism. The unifying theme is engagement with the politics of difference (including differences between women), so extending feminism beyond middle-class, white ...

  7. Feminism

    Defining. Feminism is characterised by the belief that gender is the most significant division in society, and a desire to overthrow any disadvantage conferred due to sex. Feminism is seen as having emerged and occurred in three distinct 'waves': It has been suggested that feminism has entered a fourth wave, which is a reaction against ...

  8. Feminism Essay Plan

    Feminism Essay Plan - The State - A level politics. Most feminists agree the state at least contributes to the oppression of women in society. However, liberal feminists are more keen to work with the state to address these issues whereas radical feminists have been less inclined to do so. Socialist feminists are concerned not just with the ...

  9. Feminism Human Nature Essay

    Feminism Human Nature Essay - A level politics. Para 1 - Difference Feminists seek to empower women's values over men. Because difference feminism seeks to do this it can be inferred that they believe that men and women are innately different, therefore patriarchy must be sourced in these differences. Thereby suggesting that difference ...

  10. Edexcel A Level Politics

    docx, 149.88 KB. This word document contains 23 well-formatted and detailed notes for the feminism module in the Edexcel A Level Politics Unit 1 paper. It would also work well for other exam boards, like AQA. The notes are focused on the four key themes that run throughout the the ideologies essay questions, meaning that you will be well ...

  11. Feminist Thinkers and Ideas

    Millett is an American radical feminist who argued in Sexual Politics ( 1970) that female oppression was political and cultural. Removing the traditional family structure would be the surest way to liberate women from patriarchy, as the family structure mirrored the patriarchal society. This is because the man dominates the family ...

  12. PDF A Level Politics Exam Style Questions

    A Level Politics Exam Style Questions Component 1: UK Politics Democracy and Participation. 1. Evaluate the view that the UK is facing a 'participation crisis'. 2. Evaluate the extent to which compulsory voting and lowering the voting age may be the best ways to improve participation in the UK. 3. Evaluate the various ways rights are ...

  13. Feminism Essay Plans Flashcards

    Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like CRITICISM On what grounds has feminism been criticised. (15), PATRIARCHY What is patriarchy, and why is it important to feminist analysis. (15), PERSONAL IS THE POLITICAL On what grounds have radical feminists claimed that "the personal is the political" (15) RADICAL FEMINISM In what sense have radical feminists sought to ...

  14. Edexcel A-Level Politics: Feminism Exam Guidance & Detailed Essay Plans

    docx, 113.55 KB. This 50 page document provides essential teacher and student support for the non-core ideology topic of Feminism, part of Edexcel's A-Level Politics Component 2 specification. It contains: A list of potential 24-mark essay questions. Guidance on essay writing technique.

  15. A Level Politics Past Papers & Questions by Topic

    A Level Politics. Our extensive collection of resources is the perfect tool for students aiming to ace their exams and for teachers seeking reliable resources to support their students' learning journey. Here, you'll find an array of revision notes, topic questions, fully explained model answers, past exam papers and more, meticulously ...

  16. Feminism

    Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like Liberal feminist wave advocating for equal education, the right to vote, better working conditions, etc. 'There is no female mind', Liberal feminist wave with some radical and socialist feminism. More based around need to destroy patriarchy to obtain equality with some advocating a cultural revolution, Expanded on radical ...

  17. Feminism

    Feminists believe that gender (just like any other social division such as race or class) is a politically significant issue. Indeed, radical feminists argue that gender is the most important social division. Feminists have therefore advanced the theory of sexual politics in much the same way that socialists argue the idea of class politics.

  18. To what extent do feminists agree that the ...

    The patriarchy is one of the key principles which the feminist ideology addresses. It is the idea that society is dominated by men and run in their interests. Although all strands of feminism agree that the male domination in society oppresses women, however they differ on the extent to which the patriarchy is the primary issue in society.

  19. Feminism A* Essay Plan

    A Level Politics Ideologies Essays and Essay Plans (A*) Contains a wide selection of A* essays and essay plans for A Level Politics (Ideologies). Includes Liberalism, Socialism, Conservatism and Feminism. Perfect for revision or to see a great example of A* work. Items individually would be worth £55. was £40.00.

  20. How to answer the 24 Mark Ideologies Question (Edexcel)

    Note: This guidance should not be treated in any way as official Pearson Edexcel guidance. This guidance is for Edexcel A-Level and will differ for other exam boards. The 24 Mark Ideologies question on Paper 1 and Paper 2 are a different type of question to the 30 Mark Essay and Source Questions. In the…

  21. Feminism Edexcel a level politics Flashcards

    Liberal feminism. sees individualism as the basis of gender inequality. Socialist feminism. Inequality stems from the economy and capitalism creates the patriarchy. Radical feminism. Believes the biggest problem is gender inequality in all spheres and must be fought. Post-modern feminism. Patriarchy manifests in many different ways depending on ...

  22. What are the most likely questions for the 24 Mark ...

    However, all questions so far (2019 and 2022) and fitted into the scope of the questions included. Note: Please also note that this guidance should not be treated in any way as official Pearson Edexcel guidance. The potential questions for the 24 Mark Ideologies Questions are much more predictable than the 30 Mark Essay and 30 Mark Source Question.