Gender Roles and Relationships: Changing Gender Roles



- Conjugal roles: roles taken on by male and female partners in a relationship.

- Segregated conjugal roles: males and females take on different and separate roles within the family.

- Joint conjugal roles: males and females split these roles more equally, often having interchanging roles, such as childcare and housework.

The Symmetrical Family

- Wilmott and Young (1973): suggested that the family was becoming more symmetrical towards the end of the modern age.

- Shared leisure time, childcare responsibilities and domestic labour, although domestic labour is often undertaken based on gender domains.

- This is in contrast to earlier research from Bott and Parsons, who both suggested that roles were segregated between males and females.

Oakley's Theory of the Conventional Family (1982)

- Suggested that roles were not equal and that despite some improvements for women in the workplace they were still expected to perform the majority of domestic labour at home.

- Dual burden: paid employment and responsibility for childcare and housework.

- Developed by Duncombe and Marsden, the idea of the 'triple shift', emotional labour of working families' emotional needs fell to women. 

Movement Towards Equality


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