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Examine the Ways in Which Government Policies and Laws Affect the Nature and Extent of Family Diversity

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Examine the ways in which Government policies and laws affect the nature and extent of family diversity

Government policies and laws are put in place to uphold moral values of society and force people to take responsibility themselves. Social policy refers to the actions of government agencies such as the welfare system. Most policies affect families in one way or another, some are aimed directly at families, whilst other policies aren’t but still have an impact on families.
One way in which family diversity diverse is by an increase in same sex families. This is gay and lesbian couples living together with children. A social policy that can be linked to this type of family diversity is that in 1967 male homosexuality was legalised and this made homosexuals feel socially accepted, eventually allowing gay individuals to start a family. There was also other policies that made same sex families even more accepted. For example, in 2002 UK adoptions laws were changed. The laws meant that gay couples were now able to adopt and have a family of their own. Additionally, in 2004 the Civil Partnership was introduced. This meant that gay people could now have a type of marriage if they felt they had stability, commitment and happiness to starting a family. All of these policies have a link to the increase in same sex families.
Feminist sociologist were really happy with these policy changes. Feminist believes that society is patriarchal, that men dominate and exploit women. Feminist suggest that many laws were introduced to oppress and make society unequal for women. However, with the introductory of the 2004 Civil Partnership and changes in adoption women felt they have gave women an equal basis to form a relationship and a family free from the patriarchal control. However, there was sociologists who were unhappy with these changes. The New Right believe that nuclear family is needed for socialisation of the children. They believe male and female role models are necessary for the child to be a functional adult. They reject other types of family as they believe it would damage the upbringing of the child. However, New Right are often criticised for their views as they are mostly outdated and sexist.
Some policies have gone to extreme length to tackle family growth. China government introduced ‘one child policy’ to stop the population increasing rapidly. Couples were discouraged from having more than one child. Couples who comply with the policy got extra benefits such as free child health care and higher tax allowances. However, those who break their agreement to one child policy are required to pay back their allowance and also pay a fine. For women they are pressured into sterilisation and are not given a chance to make their own decision creating inequality between men and women. China’s one child policy caused so many problems to couples with more than one child. Children’s were abandoned, left in sewers and streets leaving families to struggle.
In conclusion, policies have been introduced to either help family diversity or to discourage family diversity. Family diversity is now an outdated concept as there are various different types of families in modern society. Diversity is accepted as they feel it would do no harm to the society.

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