Unit 1: Families and Households - Couples


The Domestic Division of Labour. 1

Parsons: Instrumental and Expressive Roles
The husband has and instrumental role geard towards achieving success at work so that he can provide for the family financially. The wife has an expressive role, geard towrds primary socialisation of the children and meeting the family's emotional needs.The division of labour is based on biological differences with women being naturally suited for the caregicing role. 

Joint and Segregated Conjugal Roles
Segregated: The couple have seperate roles and leisure activities. 
Joint: They share tasks such as housework and childcare along with leisure activities. 

The Symmetrical Family
- Women now go to work and earn money - Men help with housework and childcare - Couples spend their leisure time together instead of seperatly. Due to: 
Changes in womens position, Geographical mobility: more couples living away from where they grew up, New Tech: Labour saving devices and higher standards of living. 
Young and Willmott found that in London the symmetrical family was more common among younger couples who are geographically and socially isolated and with more money. 
Takes upon the march to progress view. 

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The Domestic Division of Labour. 2

A Feminist View of Housework
Reject the March to Progress view, argue little has changed. Believe society is male dominated therefore women are oppressed into dependant roles. Oakley critisizes young and willmott as their symmetrical claims are weak and that men do not do a sufficiant amount of work to fit that label. 
Husbands are more likley to share childcare rather than housework as it's deamed more enjoyable. 

Mary Boulton found that fewer than 20% of husbands had a major role in childcare of husbands had a major role in childcare. Alan Ward found that sex-typing of tasks has not changed - women 30 times more likely to have done the most recent washing and men 4 times more to have washed the car. Warde found men would only carry out female routine tasks when women were not around to do them. In a future foundations study 60% of men claimed to do more housework than their father while 75% of women claimed to do less than their mother.  

Oakley: The Rise of the Housewife Role
Industrialisation excluded women from the workforce and left them at home to be housewives. This enforced womens economic dependence on men and suggested the housewife role was socially constructed. Despite the rise in married female workers the housewife is still their primary role, womens often work in jobs that are an extension of the housewife role - nursing, teaching or childcare. 

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The Impact of Paid Work.1

Today 3/4 of women who are married or cohabiting are economically active. Sociologists believe that the increase in women working has lead to a more equal devision of labour. However this could also mean that women carry a duel burdon. Man-Yee Kan found that for every £10,000 a women earned her weekly housework was reduced by two hours. 

Gershuny: The Trend Towards Equality 
Found that unemployed wives did 83% of the housework and those who worked part-time did 82%.Wives who worked full time did 73% of the housework and couples whose parents had an equal relationship also shared labour. He says there is a growing trend towards equality and that social values are gradually adapting to the fact women are working full-time. However on average women earn less therefore the division of labour will remain unequal. 

The Commersialisation of Housework
Goods and services housewives had to produce themselves have been reduced e.g microwaves, ready meals. Working women can afford all these devices therefore housework is reduced - some go so far as to say it caused 'The Death of the Housewife'. 

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The Impact of Paid Work.2

The Dual Burden 
Many feminist argue that despite women working their is little evidence of equal domestic work levels. They argue women have simply aqquired a dual burden of paid work and unpaid housework. Ferri and Smith found that the rather took the main responsibiltiy for childcare in less than 4% of families. Morris found that even unemployed husbands do little work however when their partner works full time they tend to match. Women are trapped in part time low paid work due to the cost of childcare. Middle class to not have this issue as they can pay childcare and maids. 

Emotion Work
Hochschild used the concept to explain how women are likely to peform jobs involving emotional labour. Involves caring for family members and is unpaid - triple burden. 

Lesbian Couples and Gender Scripts 
Gender scripts set out norms of gender roles. Dunne studied 37 cohabbiting lesbians and found that evidence of symmetry - described their relationship as equal, shared housework and viewed childcare positively. Suggests that hetrosexual couples are under pressure to conform to gender roles. Supports femminst view that relationships are patriarchal. 

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Resources and Decision-Making in Households

Men gain far more from women's domestic work than they give back in financial support. Th financial support given to wives is often unpredictible and comes with 'stings attached'. Men usually make the decisions on spending. Research from Kempson found that among low-incomes families women denied their own needs in order to make ends meet. Similarly Graham's study showed over half the women living on benifits after seperation were better off as benifits were more reliable. in some households women have no claim at all to resources or income.

Income Control 
Two main types of control over family income. Pooling: Both partners have access to income and joint responsibility for expenditure - E.g. a joint bank account. Allowance System: Where men give their wives and allowance out of which they have to budget to meet family's needs. 

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