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Gender Conflict Theory

Gender Conflict Theory

Author: Paul Hannan

Identify the key ideas, theorist contributions, and basic components of gender conflict theory.

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Source: Intro Music by Mark Hannan; Public Domain Images from; Public Domain

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to this episode of Sociology-- Studies of Society. Today's lesson is on the gender conflict approach. As always, don't be afraid to press stop, rewind, or even fast forward to make sure you get the most out of this tutorial. Now, the gender conflict approach is saying specifically that the most important conflict that's happening in society is the conflict between genders. That's what this group of sociologists really focuses on.

And this conflict is of course somewhat of a social conflict approach. It's all about resources, so who's going to get what. Now, the gender conflict approach is very similar to the term "feminism." And feminism simply means support for equality for men and women. Now, Harriet Martineau is credited with really starting this approach.

Now, interestingly, she was not actually a sociologist, but she's consider the first one now. At the time, women weren't allowed to be sociologists. And she was just a prolific writer. And what she really looked at in her writings was challenging the status quo of the woman's role as staying in the house and providing just for the children instead of the male's role, which was to provide for the families-- so thrive financially, whereas the woman was just to provide meals and emotional support at home.

And the place where she fought the hardest to challenge the status quo of this woman's role was for women's education. And she was a real strong advocate for women to have equal education as men. Now, Jane Addams is the second most influential person in this viewpoint. And Jane Addams-- she actually also is now considered a sociologist. And she really applied sociology, so she was looking at applying what sociologist had learned to actual people.

But she wasn't recognized at the time as a sociologist. In the early 1900s, when she was alive, if people were interested in sociological issues-- if you're female, you'd be pushed into social work. So that would be helping individual clients with their issues. Whereas if you're male, you'd be pushed more into sociology and the research and professional education form of sociology. So Jane Addams-- again, she is an applied sociologist, although she technically at the time wasn't called a sociologist. But now everyone calls her one.

And what she did is she started this place called the Hull House. Now, the Hull House was a place for immigrants in New York, and she tried to give them services. And it was really the first of its kind. And she actually ended up winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. And she really contributed to the view of the gender conflict approach, because she was seeing those inequalities between males and females and trying to build up the females, so it wasn't as uneven.

So today's takeaway message-- the gender conflict approach is an approach to sociology that focuses on inequality and conflict between the genders. Feminism is tied really close to that, and feminism just supports equality for men and women. Harriet Martineau is considered the first one to really formulate this gender conflict approach. And she really fought for equal rights, especially in education.

And Jane Addams was a the second woman to really look at this approach. And she founded the Hull House and applied sociological aspects to that home. So that's it for this lesson. Good work, and hopefully you'll be seeing me on your screen again soon. Peace.

Terms to Know

​Support for the equality of men and women.

Gender Conflict Theory

A specific variation of social conflict theory that prioritizes the inequality and conflict between men and women.

People to Know
Harriet Martineau

​The first female sociologist; she fought for women's rights to education.

Jane Addams

​An applied sociologist and founder of the Hull House.