Couples - Studies

Studies held within the Couples Unit within Sociology.


Gershuny : The Trend towards equality

Gershuny (1994) says there is a trend towards equality between couples. Uses the increase of woman doing paid employment as evident.

  • Says there is a general change in social values, more women work. Men are still more likely to deal with certain tasks such as DIY.


House wives = 83% housework

Part time working wives = 82%

Fulltime working wives = 73% 

  • Men generally earn higher wages, meaning they are able to use this as an excuse to do less housework than women. The wife would generally let them off as theu are bringing in more money for stuff such as bill costs. 
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Siver & Schor : Commercialising Housework

Stress the importance of 2 major economic developments of reducing the burden of housework on women.

  1. Housework has become commercialised (Link to Willmott and Young)
  2. Women Working (Link to Marxists) 
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Stephen Engell : Desition Making


-Women are more responsible for for less important desitions. (House decor, Clothes)

- Men are responsible for more important desitions (School, Moving of house, Holiday)

This is because generally men tend to earn more than women, making them appear more supierior and powerful.

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Michelle Barrett : 'Do more, get less'

Michelle Barrett is a marxist feminist.

She says that womens finacial state is unpredictible and that there are STRINGS ATTACHED.

She says women 'Do more & get less'

She backs up the idea that men make more important desitions in the household.

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Graham : Backs up Michelle Barrett

Found that women claiming benefits after a divorce generally were better off compared to when they were married women.

This suggests lack in control of finances for women. 

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Kempson : Deny in needs

Kempson studied low income families and discovered that women in the family would deny their own needs.

Example: Eating smaller portions, or even skipping meals. (Feed kids, male needs larger meal been at work all day)

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Pahl & Vogler :Financial Control

They are feminist sociologists.

They identified 2 different types of financial control within the family.

  • Pooling - When both partners share a bank account, both having the same amount of accessibility to income and finances. This gives them joint responsibilities for what is spent.
  • Allowance System - When the male gives the wife an allowance to spend to meet the families needs. This is usually budgetted. Then he'll keep the rest for himself. Example: Women given money to spend on food and childs uniform, male keeps the rest of the income.

They discovered that POOLING is on an increase.

When comparing couples with their own parentsm they discovered pooling has risen from 19% to 50%.

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Gillian Leighton : Womans Power

Leighton argued that there was an exception for when women were able to have more power over resources. 

If them male dominate of the family looses his job, the woman usually automatically becomes in power of resources. 

They take responsibility for bills. And also sort out cut backs.

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Mini back up studies

Ferri & Smith (1996) In a sample of 1,589 parent couples, less than 4% of fathers toom main responsibilies for child care.

Morris (1990) Found that even in partnerships where only the women work, their husbands still did less housework.

Arber & Ginn (1995)  Argue that this is worse for working class women.

Duncombe & Marsden (1995) Triple shift ( Paid employment, Domestic & Emotional)

Morgan (1997) Applirs this to family in that woman are expected to take on the emotional work. (Particually children)

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