Decison Making In The Family

Notes on decision making

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Topic Three: What are the factors affecting power
The following handout will help you answer the following essay questions:
· When discussing unequal power/ decision making (24 marks)
(Also when discussing domestic violence)
It can be argued that there is inequality in who does what in the home. There is
also inequality in who gets what.
This is linked to family income (think perspectives feminism and functionalism)
Barrett and McIntosh
· Men gain more from women's domestic support than they give back in
financial support.
· Financial support is often unpredictable and comes with `strings'
· In low income families women are often denied their own needs for the
· This often was not the case for men.
Decision Making
Pahl and Vogler(identify two main types of control over family income)
Both partners have access to income and expenditure.
This is more common amongst young couples
­ This could be due to the socialisation of their parents
Allowance system
Where men give their wives a budget to meet the family's needs. Man
keeps the surplus for himself.
­ This could be seen as oppressing women, but could also be
Edgell studied professional couples finding the following patterns in decision
Very important decisions
­ Those involving finance, change of job or house were either taken
by husband or jointly with husband having final say

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Important decisions
­ About children's education, where to go on holiday etc were taken
jointly seldom by the wife alone
Less important decisions
­ Decorations, kids' clothes and food purchases were usually made
by the wife
This supports Ann Oakley
AO2: What would feminists say about this?
· The reason why men are more likely to make the decisions is that men
make more money and women are generally dependent on men.
· It ignores family diversity, and only concentrates on the nuclear family.…read more


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