Decision-Making & Paid Work

  • Created by: Holly
  • Created on: 08-05-15 11:47

Family Income

Men take a greater share of the family's resources.

This is because they usually contribute more money because they have higher earnings.

Pahl and Vogler (feminists).

There are 2 main types of family control are:

  • Pooling - both partners have access to income, joint responsibility, e.g. joint bank account
  • Allowance system - men give their wives an allowance from which they have to budget, the man keeps any left over money for himself

Vogler found an increase in pooling and a decline in the allowance system.

Pahl and Vogler found that pooling is more common where both couples work full-time.

Even if this situation, the man usually made the major financial decisions.

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Study of 30 dual-career professional couples.

Important decisions were usually taken by either the man alone, or jointly, and his career normally took priority when deciding whether to move house for a new job.



Women's lives tend to be structured around their husbands' careers.

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Edgell's study of professional couples found that:

  • Very important decisions - those involving finance, a change of job or moving house. Either taken by the husband alone or jointly, but the husband had the final say.
  • Important decisions - those about children's education or where to go on holiday. Usually taken jointly, seldom by the wife alone.
  • Less important decisions - choice of home decor, children's clothes or food purchases. Usually made by the wife.

Like Pahl and Vogler, Edgell argues that the reason men are likely to make decisions is because they earn more. Women are usually financially dependent on men and so have less say in decision-making.

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Feminist Argument

Feminists argue that inequalities in decision-maing are not simply the result of inequalities in earnings.

They argue that in a patriarchal society, the cultural definition of men as decision-makers is deeply ingrained in men and women.

They believe it's also instilled through gender role socialisation.

Until this definition is changed, decision-making is likely to remain unequal.

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