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Topic 5 - Roles,
responsibilities and
relationships within
the family...
AS Sociology, Unit 2 Chapter 4 ­ The Family…read more

Slide 2

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· In 1973 ­ Young and Willmott claimed that traditional segregated division of labour in the
home ­ men as breadwinners and women as housewives/mothers ­ was breaking down
· Relationship between husband and wife (conjugal relationship) was becoming ­ at least in
middle-class families ­ more joint or symmetrical.
· Argued trend towards egalitarian marriage was caused by decline in extended family, and its
replacement in late 20th century by privatized nuclear family, as well as by increasing
opportunities in paid employment for women.
· Some media commentators ­ so convinced by these arguments in 1980s ­ was claimed that
`new man' had appeared i.e. males in touch with feminine side and happy to meet
women's emotional and domestic needs.…read more

Slide 3

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1. Do men and women share roles
equally within the family?
· Idea that equality is central characteristics of marriage strongly opposed by feminist
· Studies of professional couples indicate only minority genuinely share housework and
· Eg) Dryden's (1999) qualitative study of 17 married couples found women still had major
responsibility for housework and childcare.
· Surveys investigating distribution of housework and childcare tasks suggests men today
are more involved in domestic tasks than their fathers and grandfathers.
· However, Time Use Survey of 2005 carried out by Lader et al (2006) found women in
paid work spent 21 hours a week on average on housework, compared with only 12 hours
spent on men on the same.
· Overall, survey found 92% women do some housework per day, compared with only 77%of
· Little sign that traditional sexual division of labour in home was changing in 2005 women
still spent more time than men cooking, washing up, cleaning, tidying, washing clothes and
shopping. DIY and gardening tasks still male dominated.…read more

Slide 4

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1. Continued..
· Furthermore data from British Househol Panel Survey (2001) suggest whatever the work
load set up, women do more in home than men.
· Eg) when both spouses work full time, and even when man is unemployed and wife works ­
women put more hours into domestic labour than men.
· Some sociologists suggest unemployed men actually resist increased involvement in
housework because they interpret it as unmasculine and as further threatening their role as
· McKee and Bell (1986) found unemployed men in their study found it degrading to do
housework and to be `kept' by their employed wives. quantifiable evidence indicates
women still likely to experience a dual burden or double shift ­ in that they're expected to
be mainly responsible for the bulk of domestic tasks, despite holding down full time jobs.
· Sclater (2000) points out household technologies, like washing machines and vacuum
cleaners advertised as making life easier for women have actually increases this burden
because they've raised household standards of cleanliness and increased time spent on
housework.…read more

Slide 5

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1. Continued..
· Sociological studies have also noted that distinction between work and leisure or free time is
less clear cut for married women.
· Eg) Green (1996) found wives usually interpret leisure time as time free from both paid
work and family commitments.... Whereas husband saw all time outside paid work as their
leisure time.
· Suggested by Kilkey (2005) working parents are now experiencing a `time famine' with
regard to childcare.. Resulting in the delegation of some childcare to external carers,
especially kin such as grandparents.... Brannen's observations about beanpole families
supports this ^
· However Dryden found gender inequality in distribution of childcare and housework tasks
was still a major source of dissatisfaction in marriage for women.
· Studies such as one by Bittman and Pixley (1997) suggest this inequality is a major cause of
divorce today.…read more

Slide 6

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2. Emotion work...
· Women ­ also responsible for emotional wellbeing of their partners and children.
· Studies like that carried by Duncombe and Marsden (1995) found women felt their male
partners were lacking in terms of `emotional participation', i.e. men found it difficult to
express their feelings, to tell their partners how they felt about them and to relate
emotionally to their children. They also argue that his increases burden on women as they
feel they should attempt to compensate and please all parties in the home. Consequently
women spend great deal of time soothing emotions of partners and children.
· this leads to neglect of their own psychological wellbeing ­ can have negative
consequences for mental and physical health.
· Eg) Bernard's study of marriage (1982) confirms this ­ she found that men in her study were
more satisfied with their marriage than their wives moreover, these men had little idea
that their wives were unhappy…read more

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