Marxists feminists believe that gender equality should be reached by the abolition of Capitalism, as its practices result in the exploitation of women in the domestic sphere by men.

Key ideas

In a capitalist society, housewives bear and raise children at no cost to the capitalist system. They then socialize children with capitalist beliefs, including the idea that it is natural for women to be men’s subordinates. Due to this type of domestic service being unpaid, it is often seen as "inferior work" to men's work which earns money, despite being equally important. In needed times, women can become available for employment as a "reserve army of labour", but are not treated equally, as they are usually fired first when redundancy occurs, thus causing them to returning to their housewife roles.


Margaret Benston

Fran Ansley

Selma James


-Criticised by liberal feminists: Marxist feminism ignores the fact that some women may actually enjoy doing housework and childcare.

-Women’s oppression is based purely on economic factors in this theory of feminism; it ignores all other factors such as culture and family structure.

-In communist societies, gender equality haven’t been very well achieved: e.g. the USSR banned abortion in the late 1920s.

Related theories



Liberal feminism

Radical feminism

Postmodern feminism

Related terminology

Past paper questions

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