chapter  3
Changing Gender Relations and Values in Marriage
Pages 23

This chapter focuses on the gender roles of women and men, argues that gender inequality is embedded within the values of heterosexual marriage and domestic arrangements. It argues that public policies have not created conditions that enable gender equality. Although there is an array of sometimes conflicting feminist perspectives, a common criticism of marriage is that it is a heterosexual partnership based on unequal power. Struggles over same-sex marriage have reflected broad social changes in gender relations and family forms. The chapter provides a broad overview of the construction of marriage and gender inequalities before exploring important factors which are reflections of gender inequality's persistence—namely the challenges for women in managing a work and life balance; the gender pay gap and a lack of financial independence; unmarried parenthood and domestic, family and sexual violence. Gender, power and sexual desire are constituted in romance in ways that clearly raise political issues.