The impact of paid work

Sociologist are interested in whether this new trend toward both partners working is leading to a more equal division of domestic tasks or whether women now have a dual burden

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  • Created by: Alice
  • Created on: 13-12-11 14:24

Gershun: the trend toward equality

Some sociologist argue women working full-time= more equal division of labour in the home and found that:

-Wives who did not work did 83% of the housework and even wives who worked part-time did 82% of housework.

-Wives who worked full-time did 73% of the housework. The longe she had been in paid the work, the more housework the man would do.

-Couples whose parents had a more equal relationship were more likely to share housework more equally.

Jonathan Gershuny explains this trend towards equality in terms of gradual change in values  and parental role models, social values are gradually adapting to women working full-time. Men doing more housework but take responsibility for different tasks.

However earning still unequal could mean division of labour remains unequal.

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The commercialisation of housework

Hilary Silver and Juliet Schor stress the importance of two major economic developments in reducing the burden of housework on women:

-Housework has become 'commercialised'- good and services women had to produce themselves now mass-produced and supplied e.g fast food, mocrowave ovens, freezer, ready meals etc reduce domestic work.

-Women working- means they can buy these goods and services.

Argue burden of housework on women has decreased. However critics argue that for poorer women buying expenisive goods and services is not an option and this does not prove that housework is now shared equally. 

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The dual burden and Emotion work

The Dual Burden

Feminst argue women now have a dual burden of paid work and housework and that the family remains patriarchal as men benefit from the womens money and domestic labour.

Emotion Work

Emotion work is work where the main feature is the management of your own and other peoples emotions. Women are more likely to take on jobs involving emotional labour. Emotion work usually seen as 'labour of love' because it involves caring for other family members. Jean Duncombe and Dennis Marsden argue women expected to do a double shift of housework and paid work but also emotional work.

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Lesbian couples and gender scripts

Expectations or norms that set out gender roles in heterosexual couples. Gillian Dunne contrast this with lesbian couples where gender roles do not operate to the same extent and found evidence of symmetry. Compared to heterosexual women lesbians are more likely to:

-Describe their relationship as equal and share housework and childcare equally.

-Give equal importance to both parents' careers.

-View childcare positively.

Heterosexuals under pressure to conform to gender scripts however this is not the case with lesbian relationships which supports radical feminist view that men and women are patriarchal and women can only achieve equality in same sex relationships.

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-Some evidence that a women being in paid work leads to more equality in division of labour but proberly only if shes in full-time work.

-Many feminist argue in reality the effects of this are limited, women have a dual or triple burden and even men doing more domestic tasks they are still gendered.

-Feminist argue roots of problem is patriarchy as it shapes societys expectations about domestic roles. It also ensures women earn less . Until patriarchy is challenge domestic division of labour is likely to remain unequal.

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