Gender Inequality in Families

  • Michele AdamsEmail author
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


Gender inequality permeates society at all levels and in the context of most social institutions. One institution in which gender inequality remains resistant to change is the family. Over time, various theories have examined the causes of gender inequality generally, including biology, sex roles, and “doing gender,” each of which has also been applied to gender inequality in the family. Critiques of these approaches include their over-determinism, inability to grapple with gender inequality at macro social levels, and failure to theorize about change. The gender as structure approach looks at gender across multiple levels of social reality simultaneously. This dynamic, multi-faceted theoretical approach can be used to address gender inequality in families to the extent that we are able to take advantage of its complexity. After looking at, and critiquing, various historical approaches to gender inequality, this chapter notes that the gender as structure approach is best suited to examine gender inequality in families today, which are themselves characterized by dynamic fluidity and complexity, and to offer potential avenues for altering that inequality.


Gender Family Inequality 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA

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