The domestic divison of labour
Parsons Functionalist . Traditional nuclear family; husbands and wives roles are segregated.
- Husband = breadwinner - provides for the family
- Wife = housewife - primary socialistation of the children and for the family's emotional needs
He puts it down to biological differences. Women are geared towards the more biological side, whereas the men are geared towards the more physical side of things
Joint and segregated conjugal roles
- Segregated; the couple has separate roles
- Joint; the couple share such tasks as housework and childcare and spend their leisure time together
The symmetrical family
Young and Willmott (1923) - "march of progress"
The family life is gradually improving for all of the families members. They say that there has been a long term trend away from segregated conjugal roles and towards joint conjugal roles and the "symmetrical family".
-Women go to work, although this may be part-time rather than full-time
-Men help with childcare and housework
-Couples now spend their leisure time together instead of separately
Young and Willmott identify a trend of segregated conjugal roles in their study of traditional working class families. The men didn't play much of a part within the family and women were fulltime housewives; they had some help from other female relatives
Ann Oakley (1974) only found some evidence of men helping in the home. Husbands are more likely to share childcare rather than housework.
She argued that Young and Willmotts claims were exaggerated.
Oakley described how the role of the housewife became the more dominant role of the housewife.
Industrialisation and the rise of factory work led to the separation of paid work from the home.
The housewife role was socially constructed, rather than being women's 'natural' role, as Parsons claims.
The 20th century saw an increase in the number of married women working, but the housewife roles is still the women's primary role.