- The nature and extent of changes within the
family, with reference to gender roles, domestic
labour and power relationships.
- Functionalist: Murdock and Parsons: traditional gender roles are functional- made sense for women to care for children in an expressive, domestic role, men- breadwinners- instrumental role- most effective way to keep society running smoothly
- Marxists: Men and women unequal roles because capitalism works best this way. promotes women as "naturally caring and nurturing" to ensure workers are kept fit, healthy and happy. maintained ideologically through the media.
- LF: women made progress with equality in family, men are adapting to change and although they culturally lag behind women future likely to bring movement towards domestic and economic equality.
- MF: housewife role serves needs of capitalism maintains and produces workforce. RF: housewife role created by patriarchy and geared to the service of men and their interests.
- Young and Willmott: joint conjugal roles becoming more common in the symmetrical family. greater equality- wives now going out to work, husbands providing more help with housework.
- Oakley: in young and willmotts study a family is regarded as symmetrical if husband did any housework once a week- hardly representing equality. few men have high levels of participation in housework and childcare, only 15% contributing significantly to housework and 30% to childcare.
- Dual roles and triple shift- Finch and Graham- identified an additional responsibility of women- emotional support and day-to-day organisation of the lives of other family members and kin together with paid work and domestic tasks.
- Less conventional households: Dunne: roles within lesbian households with dependent child responsibility for childcare and household tasks equally and fairly shared-without gender roles created by society, greater equality easier to achieve.
- Mansfield and Collard: cohabiting had greater emphasis on equal sharing of tasks and power especially when there are no children as couples take pride in creating a relationship different from marriage.
- Decision making: Hardill et al: Middle class wives deferred to their husbands in major decisions involving where to live, size of mortgage, buying cars, etc. men in the sample were able to demand that their interests of their wives and families should be subordinated to the mans career because he was the major breadwinner.
- Leighton: power to influence and make decisions changed when males became unemployed. working wives often took responsibility for bills and initiated cutbacks in spending.
- Control of finances: Pahl: most common arrangement was for them to pool it but for the husband to have greater say in how it was spent and spend more on himself. just over 1/5 husband had total control of finances, giving his wife a house keeping allowance which she had to stretch wife-controlled pooling=most equal relationships, mostly found when woman earned more .
- RF domestic violence: Dobash and Dobash: british law used to say a husband was entitled to have sex with his wife against her will, laws and social policies traditionally used to control women and keep mans power, social climate makes women feel stigmatised and ashamed if they talk about violence-part of the ideology of patriarchy.
- most women who left violent partners returned in the end, due to the fear of being stigmatised and because they were financially dependent on their partner, abusive partners often condition their victim into thinking nobody cares and theres no where to go