What is it?
More households now have second income from the wife.
Is this leading to a more equal division in household tasks? Or does it just mean women now have to carry a dual burdern?
Gershuny: the trend towards equality
He found that wives who worked full time did less domestic work, the longer the wife is in paid work the husband is more likely to do more housework.
This is due to a gradual change in social values and parental role models.
Supported by Sullivan- found there was a trend towards greater equality as men are doing more domestic work. This is similar to Young and Willmott's 'march of progress' view that conjugal roles are becoming more symmetrical.
Crompton explains it differently- he says that as long as earning remain unequal the division of household work will also remain unequal
The commercialisation of housework
Silver and Schor. They stress the importance of two major economic developments to reduce the burden of housework
- Housework has become 'commercialised'- services are now massed produced, which reduced the amount of domestic labour that needs to be done
- Women working- means that they can afford to buy these goods and services
This means that the burden has decreased and it has lead to 'the death of the housewife role'.
The commercialisation of housework has reduced the burden but it doesn't mean that the remaining chores are shared equally.
The dual burden
Feminists say there is little evidence of a 'new man' who shared the housework equally and as a result the woman has aquired a dual burden of both paid work and unpaid domestic work.
Ferri and Smith found evidence of the dual burden. Increased employment of women has had little impact on how the domestic labour is divided.
Lydia Morris found men who had lost their job still saw domestic work as being suited for women and to be avoided.
Ramos disagreed and found that unemployed males still take part in the housework and match that of their partner.
Also not everyone can afford childcare, meaning they remain in a vicious circle of childcare and part time employment. Mainly the upper and middle classes can afford to hire nannies and cleaners, whereas the working class can't afford to do this.
'Emotion work' describes the work that is to manage the emotions of themselves and other people.
Hochschild says that women are more likely than men to perform the jobs that include the emtional care.
It is the 'labour of love' because it means caring for other family members, such as a sick child. Duncombe and Marsden argue that women aren't only expected to do the dual burden but a triple burden: paid work, household work and the emotional work too.
Lesbian couples and gender scripts
Gender scripts: the roles that the men and women are expected to play within a heterosexual couple.
- Male - The breadwinner. Instrumental role= to make the money and provide for the family.
- Female - The homemaker. Expressive role= to do the household tasks and take care of the family.
Gillian Dunne found that gender scripts don't operate the same in lesbian couples and the roles are more equal. For example, housework and childcare are shared equally and equal importance is given to both people within the relationship.
Jeffery Weeks says that same-sex couples are more equal because they don't follow the patriarchal tradition, this supports the radical feminist's view that women can only achieve equality in same-sex relationships.
- There is evidence of more equality in the division of household labour, but mainly if the women is working full-time.
- Feminists argue that there is a limited effect: the woman now has a dual or triple burden and men are doing more tasks within the house but they are split through gender expectations
- Feminists say it's because of the patriarchal society, and the patrciarchal gender scripts shape society and whether a task is labelled as 'feminine' or 'masculine'. The feminists also say that until patriarchy is challenged then the division of domestic labour will remain unequal.