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Patriarchy vs. Feminism: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on February 17, 2024
Patriarchy is a social system where men hold primary power, while feminism is a movement advocating for equal rights and opportunities for women.

Key Differences

Patriarchy refers to a social and cultural system where men predominantly hold power and authority. Feminism, in contrast, is a socio-political movement striving for equal rights and representation for women.
In a patriarchal society, leadership roles and major decisions are often dominated by men. Feminism challenges this imbalance, seeking to dismantle gender-based disparities in power.
Patriarchy traditionally upholds male dominance in areas like politics, economics, and family life. Feminism aims to create a society where men and women have equal opportunities in all these spheres.
Under patriarchy, cultural norms and values tend to favor masculine perspectives and interests. Feminism advocates for a more inclusive perspective that values both feminine and masculine viewpoints equally.
Patriarchy often perpetuates traditional gender roles. Feminism, however, promotes gender equality, including the freedom for individuals to choose roles beyond traditional gender norms.

Comparison Chart


Social system with male dominance
Movement for women's rights and equality

Primary Focus

Male authority and leadership
Equal rights and opportunities for women

Impact on Society

Reinforces traditional gender roles
Challenges and changes gender norms

Cultural Norms

Often favor masculine perspectives
Advocates for inclusive perspectives


Maintains status quo of male power
Achieves gender equality in all spheres

Patriarchy and Feminism Definitions


Patriarchy often results in the marginalization of women and non-binary individuals.
Laws made under patriarchy sometimes fail to address women's rights effectively.


Feminism is a movement advocating for equal rights and opportunities for women.
Through feminism, women have fought for and gained greater political representation.


This system perpetuates traditional male-centered norms and values.
In a patriarchy, media often portrays men in more diverse and powerful roles.


Feminism also advocates for the rights of non-binary and transgender individuals.
Modern feminism includes fighting for transgender rights within its scope.


Patriarchy maintains existing gender hierarchies and inequalities.
Patriarchy influences educational policies that benefit boys over girls.


Feminism promotes gender equality in all aspects of life.
Feminism has been instrumental in changing laws that discriminated against women.


It upholds male dominance in social, political, and economic spheres.
The boardroom's composition reflected the patriarchy prevalent in the corporate world.


The movement includes diverse perspectives and approaches to achieving equality.
Intersectional feminism considers how race, class, and other identities intersect with gender.


Patriarchy is a system where men primarily hold power and authority.
In many societies, patriarchy dictates that men lead both in homes and in governments.


It seeks to challenge and dismantle patriarchal systems and beliefs.
Feminism emphasizes the need for equal pay for equal work.


A social system in which the father is the head of the family.


Does patriarchy affect only women?

While primarily affecting women, patriarchy can also have negative impacts on men and non-binary individuals.

What is feminism?

A movement advocating for equal rights and opportunities for women.

Can men be feminists?

Yes, men can and do support feminism by advocating for gender equality.

How does patriarchy manifest in daily life?

It can appear in gender roles, unequal pay, media representation, and in political and corporate leadership.

Is feminism anti-men?

No, feminism seeks equality and fairness for all genders, not the supremacy of one over another.

Is feminism only concerned with women's issues?

While focusing on women's rights, feminism also advocates for overall gender equality, benefiting all genders.

Can patriarchy exist in matriarchal societies?

Yes, elements of patriarchy can exist even in societies with strong female leadership.

Do all feminists think alike?

No, feminism encompasses a wide range of perspectives and approaches.

Can patriarchy be beneficial for society?

Critics argue that it perpetuates inequalities and is harmful to an equitable society.

Does feminism support the LGBTQ+ community?

Yes, contemporary feminism often includes advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights.

How has feminism evolved over time?

It has grown from focusing on women's suffrage to a broader spectrum of issues including workplace rights, reproductive rights, and gender identity.

What is patriarchy?

A social system where men predominantly hold power and influence.

Is patriarchy a global phenomenon?

Yes, elements of patriarchy are found in various forms across different cultures worldwide.

How does patriarchy influence education?

It can lead to gender-biased curricula and discourage girls from pursuing certain academic and career paths.

What role do men play in feminism?

Men can be allies in promoting gender equality and challenging patriarchal norms.

Can patriarchy impact mental health?

Yes, it can contribute to stress, anxiety, and depression among those who feel oppressed by its norms.

How does patriarchy impact the workplace?

It often leads to gender wage gaps, fewer leadership opportunities for women, and gender-based discrimination.

Can a society be completely free of patriarchy?

While challenging, many strive for a society where gender does not determine one's power or rights.

Is the goal of feminism to create a matriarchy?

No, the goal is to establish equal rights and opportunities, not to replace patriarchy with matriarchy.

Are there different types of feminism?

Yes, including liberal, radical, cultural, and intersectional feminism, among others.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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