What is Oakley's view of the march of progress?
Rather than seeing a march of progress towards symmetry since the 19th century as Young and Willmott do, Oakley describes how the housewife role has become the dominant role for married women.
How did the housewife role become dominant?
Industrialisation and the rise of factory production in teh 19th century led to the separation of paid work form the home. Although women had initially been part of the industrial labour force, they were gradually excluded from the workplace and confined to the home with sole responsibility for housework and childcare, while men became the sole breadwinners. This enforces women's subordination and economic dependence on men. In this way, the housewife role was socially constructed, rather than being women's "natural role," as Parsons claimed.
What does Oakley think of 20th century patterns?
In Oakley's view, even though the 20th century saw an increase in the number of married women working, the housewife role is still women's primary role, such as nursing, secretarial work or childcare.