The sociological concept of functionalism enables one to understand the importance of one's role in society. Functionalism is the perspective concerned with actions among individuals, the constraints imposed by social institutions on individuals, and links between the needs of an individual and the satisfaction of those needs through cultural and social frameworks. (Alan Barnard, 2000). It draws from the contribution of Emile Durkheim. Durkheim explained that a society functions smoothly similar to that of a healthy organism which is made of many parts put together in larger systems. These systems correspond to its own special purpose of function in consonance with the others. Durkheim stated that societies have structures similar to an organism. Social institutions just like the parts of the body also function together within larger systems. The social systems cover relations of kinship, belief, politics, and economics which are woven together as the society in the same manner that the various biological systems together form the organism.
In this paper, the sociological concept of functionalism will be applied to the role of women in developing countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Korea. Singapore is known as a patriarchal state. Malaysia is an Islamic state. Korea also adheres to the importance of a woman's work in the home.
The status of women in Sing...
The PAP enacted a Women's Charter whose main aim was to 'enable women to have their rights safeguarded by legislation' (Singapore Legislative Assembly Debate 6 April 1960, p. 443). The Women's Charter outlawed polygamy. The Charter also emphasizes and maintains the roles, responsibilities, duties, and rights of women within the family. Finally, the Charter protects the traditional roles of women as wives and mothers. The People's Action Party government described itself as a patriarchal state where nation and family are pre-eminent concerns. (Goh Chok Tong, 1991) The values emphasized in the White Paper are 'nation before community and society above self and 'family as a basic unit of society' (Chok Tong 1991, p. 10). This state-supported patriarchy meant re-locating women back into the home through specific rules that make her primordially responsible for child- rearing and other household duties.
The modern Malaysian woman is well-educated, perceptive, independent, articulate, but also faithful to family, religion and a vision of Islamic modernity. However, challenges still remain. Malaysian women still experience serious disadvantages such as discriminatory labor laws, poor working conditions in the workplace, a neglect of rural women, problems of family workers, stresses produced by juggling the demands of daily life and the focus on the woman's reproductive role. (World Bank 1999). The Malaysian women are extensively involved in domestic, technical and other white-collar work. Malaysian female rural workers contribute to family labor. The young rural women who migrated to the city from rural villages had full employment.