Here is a suggested essay structure for:
Evaluate the impact of state policies and laws on family life (20 marks)
Introduction: Give a brief overview of the main ‘themes’ in family policy over the last century. For example, the Beveridge Report set the foundation for a new age whereby the state was willing to take (some) responsibility for families in the UK; Labour introduced a range of liberal policies in the 1960s which arguably have had the most significant impact on family structure; influenced by the New Right, Thatcher attempted to re-adjust the balance of some of these policies by slowing down the extent of divorce reform and by prizing the nuclear family as the ideal family. New Labour introduced a ‘third way’ which was tried to implement stricter welfare policies whilst still retaining liberal attitudes towards family diversity. Cameron’s Conservative Party introduced a number of liberal policies (influenced by the EU perhaps) but still retained the familial ideology of the New Right.
Part 1: The 60s and early 70s Discuss the impact of some of the acts of this period from a feminist and conversely, a New Right perspective – The Abortion Act 1967; The Equal Pay Act 1970; Divorce Reform Act 1969; The Sexual Offences Act 1967. Please refer back to your New Right and feminist notes to help you with this.
Part 2: The 80s (Thatcher) Describe Thatcher’s ideological stance (New Right) and analyse a couple of policies such as her attitude towards the mooted divorce reform act. How might feminists react to this period?
Part 3: New Labour (Blair) Describe the ‘third way’. Working Families Tax Credit 1997; Sure Start (1998);
Part 4: Conservatives (Cameron): Troubled families programme (2011) and paternity leave
Conclusion: what is the future for the British family?