The domestic division of labour

HideShow resource information


The domestic division of labour

Parsons: instrumental and expressive roles- 

Instrumental- husband- geared towards achieving success at work so he can provide for the family financially

Expressive- wife- geared towards primary socialisation of the children and meeting the family's emotional needs. 

Parson's says that these roles are based on biological differences, women are 'naturally' suited to the nurturing role and men to that of provider. 

Parsons says that these roles are in place as they're beneficial to both men and women, to their children and to wider society. 


  • Young & Willmott argue men are now taking a greater share of domestic tasks and more wives are becoming wage earners. 
  • Feminists reject parsons' view that the division of labour is 'natural'. They argue it heavily oppresses women and only benefits men.

Joint & segragated conjugal roles

Elizabeth bott- roles within marriage

Segragated conjugal roles- where the couple have seperate roles, the husband being the breadwinner and the wife being the homemaker/carer. Leisure activities are kept seperate.

Joint conjugal roles- Where the couple shares domestic tasks together which include childcare and housework Leisure time is spent together.

The symmetrical family

Young & Willmott (1973)- March Of Progress


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Families and households resources »