An Overview of Feminist Approaches to Understanding Patriarchy

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Dr. Mukesh Kumar Khatwani
Dr. Bushra Hassan


This paper summarises the findings of a doctoral study by Khatwani (2016), which explored the experiences and perception of professional women about their social status, autonomy and respectability. The secondary data, particularly taken from research papers, have been employed for this research. Historically, prevalence of women’s subordination to their men has been traced across the globe but in various forms and different levels of subservience. They were not merely subordinated but humiliated, exploited, discriminated, and controlled as commodity. Even in 21st century, women are not treated equally either they are living in highly developed societies or in developing theocratic/traditional societies. Most of sociologists, anthropologists and social researchers are agreed to the argument that a woman’s subservience is principally embedded in well-structured system of patriarchy. Therefore, the most of research studies on this subject have explored the association of patriarchy and women’s subordination. The term feminism used in 18th century for women’s movement for their equal position in society. The development of feminist theories and later on diversity within feminist thoughts regarding gender equality gave birth to different types of feminism. However, the patriarchy has been the central point of behind the subordination of women. Employing the critically qualitative approach, the paper attempts to critically review the different feminist approaches to understanding patriarchy, and how they have been helpful as theoretical framework in addressing hypothetical dimensions of patriarchy, which exhibits in various forms from public to private in almost all societies.

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Author Biographies

Dr. Mukesh Kumar Khatwani, Associate Professor, Area Study Centre, Far East & Southeast Asia, University of Sindh, Jamshoro



Dr. Bushra Hassan, Assistant Professor, International Islamic University, Islamabad