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Word Count: 2,137
For centuries the role of women in society has been carefully defined by a patriarchal sociological system Up until the 1960s it was considered a womans national duty to reproduce and her primary function in life To consciously limit the number of children that they had meant not only were women going against their natural function but failing in that national duty Currie Adamson 1977 Women have had to fight for the right to vote which only occurred in Australia in 1902 Currie Adamson 1977 and were denied the right to education especially tertiary education Even after this right was won there were still fears being voiced about the bad effects on girls at school from bending over desks and being strained by thinking Currie Adamson 1977 This strength should be saved for motherhood Even today women are still a disadvantaged group Expectations on what a womans role should be especially in the family unit still influence choices that women make and the importance of their personal preferences are diminished In Australia women were brought to essentially service the sexual needs of the males in the colony and were then condemned for their behaviour Summers 1975 In the 19th century debates continued over whether women were legal persons able to own property have custody of children or receive formal education Many of these arguments reflected specific Western assumptions that to be a person was to be a rational individual and women were seen as essentially emotional Reiger cf Kellehear 1995 Women were then compelled to rely for their social status on the position of husbands and fathers in society Still women receive 30-40 less pay than men if employed Doyal 1996 and remain unpaid for work within the family unit Women may be revered as mothers or as guardians of morality while also being regarded as sickly neurotic polluted or just fundamentally less valued than men According to functionalist theory women are
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