Outline and explain two ways in which changes to gender roles have affected diversity of family structures (10)

Question 1 in the A level sociology families and households ‘topics’ exam will be out of 10 marks ask you to ‘outline and explains’ two things (reasons/ ways/ criticisms for example).

In order to get into the top mark band* for these questions you need to do the following:

  • Outline two distinct reasons/ criticisms, they need to be different to each other.
  • For each reason/ criticism you need to explain the effect showing ‘chains of causality’ – you need to make your point, explain the effect it has and then expand on it.
  • You need to analyse the reason/ consequence/ criticism – showing how it has different effects for different people, for example
  • You need to conclude…..

Below is a suggested answer to this question, which should get 10/10

Outline and explain two ways in which changes to gender roles have affected diversity of family structures (10)

Reason 1 – Changing gender roles

The fact that women want to establish careers first means they put off having babies
Girls have overtaken boys in education, most people in university are girls and most households are dual income households.

This has led to a decline of the traditional expressive role and the idea of women as carers, such that most women now choose to spend their 20s building their careers and have babies in their 30s, meaning there is only time for one or two children rather than two or three. Some women, of course, remain childless.

Total fertility rate varies – the TFR for women in their 30s has declined, but it has actually increased for women in their 30s and 40s because of the above changes.

Reason 2 – Technological changes

The introduction of contraception in the 1950s means that sex no longer has to result in pregnancy.  This is widely regarded as one of the most important factors – since the 1960s we have become more liberated about sex and sexuality, but contraception has kept the birth rate down.

However, if may not just be technology, education programmes, and free distribution pf contraception in recent years may also have played a role.

Technology also changes the ages at which people have babies – contraception = fewer young women having babies while IVF means more older women, and an increase in the TFR for women in their 40s especially.

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