The domestic division of labour (1)
Parsons; Instrumental and expressive roles
- The husband has an instrumental role, geared towards achieving success at work so that he can provide for the family financially. He is the bread winner.
- The wife has an expressive role, geared towards primary socialisation of the children and meeting the emotional needs of the family. She is the homemaker, a full time house wife rather than a wage earner.
Parsons argues that the divison in labour is decided by our biological differences.
- Young & Willmott argue men are now taking a greater share of domestic tasks and more women are becoming wage earners.
- Femists disagree the division of labour is decided biologically. They believe that only benefits men.
The Symmetrical Family:
- Young & Willmott take the 'march of progress' view, this is the belief that the family is gradually improving for its members, becoming more equal and democratic.
- Long term trend towards joint conjugal roles
- Symmetrical family = roles of husbands and wives, although not ideal, are now much more similar
The domestic division of labour (2)
A feminist view of housework
- Feminists reject the 'march of progress' view. They argue that little has changed.
- Men and women remain unequal within the family; women still do most of the housework.
- They see this inequlaity as stemming from the fact that the family and society are male dominated or patriarchal .
- Ann Oakley criticises Young & Willmott's view that the family is symmetrical, she argues their claims are exaggerated.
- Young & Willmott found most husbands helped their wives at least once a week, Oakley states this is hardly evidence odf symmetry.
- Oakley's research:
- only 15% of husbands had a high level of participation in housework
- only 25% of husbands had a high level of particpation in childcare
Oakley: the rise of the housewife role
- The housewife role has become the dominant role for married women
- Industrialisation and the rise of factory production in the 19th century led to the seperation of paid work from the home
- Women were excluded from the work place