Liberal feminists are concerned with campaigning against sex discrimination and for equal rights and opportunities for women. 

Key ideas

-Some progress has been made; Women’s oppression is being gradually overcome through changing people's attitudes and through changes in the law such as the Sex Discrimination Act (1975) & Equal Pay Act. Full equality will be realized through further reform (harsher penalties for domestic violence) and the socialization pattern of both sexes (encouraging sharing of household and childcare tasks).

-Many men do not have patriarchal values and do not wish to dominate and exploit women; due to this, heterosexual relationships can be a source of great happiness and fulfillment.

-It is important for women to be socialized and educated; by doing this, women would have increased free choice between a career or motherhood. Women who choose to be a housewife as their main role are not disadvantaged; they can obtain as much fulfillment as other women who have chosen to focus on their career instead.

Related sociologists

Ann Oakley

Sue Sharpe


-Liberal feminism is based too much on norms and values; there is little empirical evidence to support its beliefs.

-Liberal feminism is based on male values: it thinks that women should be competitive and strive for higher status.

Related theories


Marxist feminism

Radical feminism

Postmodern feminism

Related terminology

Past paper questions

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