Families in a Global Context Term Paper

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d., pg. 67). Thus, the definition of the British family is almost wholly contained within a woman's decision. Women who have children and enter the workforce create new trends in British family life, such as the fact that children are cared for primarily by professionals working in the home, at nursery schools, or grandparents (Kathleen, n.d., "Family Life," 2009). The redefining of family relationships to give equality to both the husband and wife and the problem of finding childcare while both parents work is a result of women's entry into the workforce and modern conceptions of family life.

While these characteristics apply to the primary types of families in the United Kingdom, it is important to recognize that this state is diverse in terms of ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, religion, etc. Cloud (2008) discusses the difficulties in conducting research for one often not-discussed portion of society -- homosexuals. Cloud (2008) writes that relationship research on gays and lesbians has only recently begun to be published, making it difficult to assess their position within the family in certain societies, in addition to leaving relationship counselors without a reference in helping these kinds of couples. Because of this, the real situation of the Sudanese and British family is unknown, as homosexuals are among one group that has not been considered. In Sudan, the family consisting of multiple spouses, which is taboo in the Western world, is accepted, but while these kinds of families undoubtedly exist in the United Kingdom, especially among certain religious groups, they are not often considered in summary discussions of society. Further, other groups are only beginning to be considered in descriptions of society, such as those who have had children outside of marriage. Because of these facts, any comparison between the developing and developed world cannot be completely accurate.

Despite this, a comparison of family life in Sudan vs. family life in the United Kingdom produces some shocking differences and similarities. In a country torn by civil war and poverty, family life in Sudan is punctuated a great deal by economics and religion. Because of the tumultuous political situation in the region, many families choose to either reinforce traditional values or move away from these values by adopting a more Western view of society. Regardless, families tend to be larger, with women taking care of the social needs. Affected by Muslim law, women are generally charged with much work while still maintaining a position inferior to their husbands in public and in the home. While this is not true for all women, a women's situation in a Sudanese family can best help others classify the family and its place in society. Thus, much of a Sudanese family's life is determined by the treatment and role of the wife and mother. In the United Kingdom, family life fits with the traditional ideal of two parents, one male and one female. Families tend to be smaller, with couples preferring two children (Kathleen, n.d.). Still, women are, once again, the architects of the family's social life. Sharing a more equal role, women's decisions to return to the workforce in greater numbers have changed the look of the British family. Because of this decision, children's primary care comes from professional or extended family sources, and family time has been defined as a weekend. Difficulties with childcare have become a primary problem for British families, and economic issues impact the lives of British families because of the cost of childcare, without government subsidy. Although this comparison does not include family structures that have been considered taboo by some societies, it does point to the extreme importance of women in society -- whether that society be a developed or developing society. Indeed, based on this comparison, it is reasonable to suggest that further research should be done regarding the position of women in society, and its affiliation with the development of society. One working hypothesis is that as women become more involved in a society's economy, that society becomes more developed politically and economically. Regardless, this comparison suggests the monumental differences between Sudan and Britain, while being striking in its consideration of similarities.


Cline, A. (2009). Sudan: Women and Family. Retrieved July, 18, 2009, from http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/islam/countries/bl_SudanWomen.htm

Cloud, J. (2008, January 17). Are Gay Relationships Different? Retrieved July 18, 2009,

from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1704660-2,00.html

"Family Life in the United States and United Kingdom." Retrieved July 18, 2009, from http://articles.famouswhy.com/family_life_in_united_states_and_united_kingdom

Kathleen, E.K. (n.d.). Parenthood and Family Life in the United Kingdom. Retrieved July

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"Sudanese." (2008). Retrieved July 18, 2009, from http://www.everyculture.com/wc/Rwanda-to-Syria/Sudanese.html

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