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Patriarchy by Sylvia Walby

Sylvia Walby in her Theorizing Patriarchy defines patriarchy, 1990 as a system of social structures and practices in which men dominate and oppress women. According to her, patriarchy operates through multiple structures like production relations in the household where women is subjected to unpaid labor, discriminatory allocation of occupations in the labor market, capture of political power by patriarchs, male violence which is often patterned and systematic, patriarchal relations in sexuality which are manifested in sexual double standards for males and females, patriarchal cultural institutions like education, media and so on.

Walby distinguishes patriarchy as private patriarchy that is practiced in household and public patriarchy that is collective response of a patriarchal society to women. Patriarchy is reflected within family as well as in wider society and is reflected at manifest as well as latent level. In society gender discrimination, division of labor is now stereotyped as women’s job and others as men’s jobs physical and sexual violence against women reflected. Ann Oakley blames industrialization as the real beginning of modern patriarchal system in which women were branded as housewives.

According to Sylvia Walby, the concept of patriarchy remains central to feminist understanding of society and there are six patriarchal structures that undermine her position in society-

  1. Paid Work – Women have been historically discriminated in paid jobs.
  2. Patriarchy within household- Her labor at home is unpaid and unrewarding.
  3. Culture- Culture promotes sex specific roles.
  4. Sexuality- There are more limitations on women when it comes to sexual freedom.
  5. Violence – Violence is a form of overpowering of women by men.
  6. The state institutions- Though not as strong as in past but state has historically taken a patriarchal view.

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