Silvia Walby's 1990 book sets out a dual-systems approach to theorizing capitalism and patriarchy, synthesising Marxist and radical feminist perspectives.
Sylvia Walby provides an overview of feminist theoretical debates – Marxism, radical and liberal feminism, post–structuralism and dual systems theory. She shows how each can be applied to six key social structures: wage labour, housework, culture, sexuality, violence and the state. Her arguments are backed by drawing on empirical findings. Walby argues that patriarchy has been vigorously adaptable to the changes in women′s position, and that some of women′s hard–won social gains have been transformed into new traps.
The book proposes a combination of class analysis with radical feminist theory to explain gender relations in terms of both patriarchal and capitalist structure. For Walby, the feminist struggles of the 1960s and 1970s did not end patriarchy. But they did force a shift from a private form, centred on the power of husbands over their wives, to a more public form, where patriarchy is reproduced through more diffuse means such as labour market discrimination, culture and sexuality.