Conjugal roles simply mean the roles within marriage.
There are two types of conjugal roles:
- Segregated- where the couple have seperae roles. This being the husband as the breadwinner and the wife as the housewife.
- Joint- where the couple share housework and childcare.
Wilmott and Young
Wilmott and Young felt that by the 1970s roles in the family between husbands and wives had become more symmetrical.
They did a study which involved knocking on peoples doors in Bethnal Green and asking the women if their husband helped out with the housework at least once a week not including washing up. Fromt heir sample they found that 72% of men did this.
Wilmott and Young take on what has been called a 'March of Progress' view to relationships between husbands and wives. They take an optimistic view on relationships in the family, a view not shared by many feminists and sociologists.
Support for Wilmott and Young: Gershuny
Gershuny found that if women had a job, men did more housework.
Between 1974-1987 the proportion of domestic work carried out by husbands had risen in the context of increased paid work for women.
Husbands of full time employed wives doubled the amount of time they spent cooking and cleaning.
Support for Wilmott and Young: Burghes and Beck
Burghes and Beck found that fathers are taking an increasing role with the children. They even go as far as suggesting that dads now do everything. They call this the superdad.
This supports Wilmott and Young's theory as they agree that husbands are helping out more.
A criticism of their theory is that just because men are helping out with the children more does not mean they are helping out with the housework.