Why is the answer to this question different? AQA A level sociology

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Anonymous #1
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Help panicking. Why is the answer to “outline and explain 2 reasons for how government policies may affect family structure” not similar to “outline and explain 2 reasons for how women being in paid work may affect family structures” why does the words “family structures” mean something different in both cases? According to the mark scheme, the answer to first question is “welfare policies may cause the rise in single parent families..policies legalising gay marriage may encourage same sex families and so on” but for the second question the answer would be “women being in paid work means women are more likely to have smaller families/less children, may delay marriage, may choose to remain childless” I don’t understand how that links to family structure though. Really panicking, help!
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originalbiscotti
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Q1. is asking how government policies (eg welfare, benefits etc) would affect family structures (types of family, eg single parent, nuclear etc). so by giving out benefits, women may become a single parent because they do not need to rely on the husband for money, instead they rely on the assistance of the government.

Q2. is asking how women working affects family structures. so a woman who wants a career may have children later in life so she can focus on work, or may not have children (childless couples etc) because they are dedicated to their career.

in both questions 'family structure' is the same thing - how a family is organised, nuclear, lone parent, extended family etc. the questions are just asking how different factors may impact on the structure of families.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by sophielouiseok)
Q1. is asking how government policies (eg welfare, benefits etc) would affect family structures (types of family, eg single parent, nuclear etc). so by giving out benefits, women may become a single parent because they do not need to rely on the husband for money, instead they rely on the assistance of the government.

Q2. is asking how women working affects family structures. so a woman who wants a career may have children later in life so she can focus on work, or may not have children (childless couples etc) because they are dedicated to their career.

in both questions 'family structure' is the same thing - how a family is organised, nuclear, lone parent, extended family etc. the questions are just asking how different factors may impact on the structure of families.
Sorry to be annoying but I still don’t get it. I would think that since “family structure” means the same thing in both questions, I would think the answer to question 2 to be “women being in paid work might mean there is a rise in single parent families” similar to the answer for question 1 but we had to apply something different to the question. I didn’t expect the answer to be as simple as “women would remain childless/have fewer children, delay marriage.

And can you explain how the answer to the analysis part of question 2 is the fact that women may face a dual burden? If I understood question 2 properly maybe it would make sense.

Or even better, if I can’t think on my feet and come up with ideas like that on the spot, relying on sociologists might be better and easier for m, but what I don’t understand is why is it that in question 1 you can mention Murray? Murray is a new right sociologist who looks at social policy but I thought the new right don’t like homosexuality/want to ban homosexuality but then the answer to the question would be “legalising gay marriages (eg civil partnership) may encourage same sex families/same sex relationships?
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-_alex_-
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I think in order to understand the difference between the two questions it is important to understand what is meant by "family structure” - family structure is the way in which a family is organised, what a family consists of and the roles that exist within a family. In the past for example, families tended to have more children than they do today, and the roles of the two parents was clearly defined, with the father taking on bread-winning responsibilities whilst the mother took on childcare responsibilities. Today family structure is different in that couples have less children and parental roles have changed, with both the mother and father generally sharing childcare and bread-winning responsibilities. Single parent families are also more common now than they were in the past, as are same-sex families.

So to come back to the two questions:

“Outline and explain 2 reasons for how government policies affect family structure.”

This question is specifically looking for ways in which government policy can affect family structure, for example, as per the mark scheme answers, the government changing their policy on same-sex relationships (e.g. by legalising same-sex marriage) can influence family structure in terms of what the family consists of and potentially the roles within the family - rather than the nuclear family of old which consisted of two parents of different sex with clearly defined roles, you may see an increase in same-sex families with different roles that are not defined by their gender.

Likewise welfare policies are another way that the government can affect family structure. Without welfare policies you would expect to see less single-parent families as economic dependence would be much more likely between partners. If the mother for example took on childcare responsibilities whilst the father worked, it would be much more difficult for the mother to take her children away from the father and leave the relationship as she and her children are dependent on the father for money. With the introduction of welfare policies however, the mother is guaranteed money regardless of whether or not she is with the father (e.g. child support, unemployment benefit etc), this makes it much more possible for her to be a single-parent than would have been the case in the past.

So remember this first question is specifically asking how government policy affects family structure. There are also more examples than given in the mark scheme, for example government policies on abortion and divorce can also affect family structure.

"Outline and explain 2 reasons for how women being in paid work may affect family structures”

Now this question is specifically looking for ways in which women being in paid work can affect the way the family is structured, of which there are a few. So one way is that as more women are in paid-work, they may choose to remain childless, and instead focus on their career, as having a child/children may hold them back in their professional life since they will have to take time off work and take on more responsibilities in the home, so this affects family structure in terms of some families being childless (so what the family consists of has changed). Another effect women being in paid work could have is that they choose to have less children so that it is easier to find a balance between childcare and their professional life, so this affects family structure in terms of making families smaller. Lastly, an effect of women being in paid work could be that they delay marriage, as they focus more on their careers and have greater independence as well as a reduced expectancy to settle down early on and find a man for economic stability, as was the case in the past - this could affect family structure by making families smaller as older women tend to be less fertile.

So women being in paid work can be linked back to family structure for a few reasons, generally it changes family structure in terms of what the family consists of (smaller families, more single-parent families) and also the roles within the family (more balanced roles between the parents as they both are financially independent so for example share more childcare responsibilities).

Hope this helps.
Last edited by -_alex_-; 2 years ago
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by -_alex_-)
I think in order to understand the difference between the two questions it is important to understand what is meant by "family structure” - family structure is the way in which a family is organised, what a family consists of and the roles that exist within a family. In the past for example, families tended to have more children than they do today, and the roles of the two parents was clearly defined, with the father taking on bread-winning responsibilities whilst the mother took on childcare responsibilities. Today family structure is different in that couples have less children and parental roles have changed, with both the mother and father generally sharing childcare and bread-winning responsibilities. Single parent families are also more common now than they were in the past, as are same-sex families.

So to come back to the two questions:

“Outline and explain 2 reasons for how government policies affect family structure.”

This question is specifically looking for ways in which government policy can affect family structure, for example, as per the mark scheme answers, the government changing their policy on same-sex relationships (e.g. by legalising same-sex marriage) can influence family structure in terms of what the family consists of and potentially the roles within the family - rather than the nuclear family of old which consisted of two parents of different sex with clearly defined roles, you may see an increase in same-sex families with different roles that are not defined by their gender.

Likewise welfare policies are another way that the government can affect family structure. Without welfare policies you would expect to see less single-parent families as economic dependence would be much more likely between partners. If the mother for example took on childcare responsibilities whilst the father worked, it would be much more difficult for the mother to take her children away from the father and leave the relationship as she and her children are dependent on the father for money. With the introduction of welfare policies however, the mother is guaranteed money regardless of whether or not she is with the father (e.g. child support, unemployment benefit etc), this makes it much more possible for her to be a single-parent than would have been the case in the past.

So remember this first question is specifically asking how government policy affects family structure. There are also more examples than given in the mark scheme, for example government policies on abortion and divorce can also affect family structure.

"Outline and explain 2 reasons for how women being in paid work may affect family structures”

Now this question is specifically looking for ways in which women being in paid work can affect the way the family is structured, of which there are a few. So one way is that as more women are in paid-work, they may choose to remain childless, and instead focus on their career, as having a child/children may hold them back in their professional life since they will have to take time off work and take on more responsibilities in the home, so this affects family structure in terms of some families being childless (so what the family consists of has changed). Another effect women being in paid work could have is that they choose to have less children so that it is easier to find a balance between childcare and their professional life, so this affects family structure in terms of making families smaller. Lastly, an effect of women being in paid work could be that they delay marriage, as they focus more on their careers and have greater independence as well as a reduced expectancy to settle down early on and find a man for economic stability, as was the case in the past - this could affect family structure by making families smaller as older women tend to be less fertile.

So women being in paid work can be linked back to family structure for a few reasons, generally it changes family structure in terms of what the family consists of (smaller families, more single-parent families) and also the roles within the family (more balanced roles between the parents as they both are financially independent so for example share more childcare responsibilities).

Hope this helps.
Thank you for clearing this up. I just hope that no other words with double meanings come up in the exam.
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Anonymous #1
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So in other words question 2 is asking about conjugal roles becoming similar vs not becoming similar? There is a debate for outline and explain questions.
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