Examine the Factors Affecting Power Relationships and the Division of Labour Between Couples

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Examine the factors affecting power relationships and the division of labour between couples Domestic labour is housework, childcare and paid work. In 1955, Parsons suggested that the husband and wife have different roles within the family; the man’s role was named instrumental. He is expected to achieve success at work and financially support the family whereas the wife was expected to look after the house, raise the children emotionally and cook. This was named the expressive role. Parsons said that these roles made things ‘nice and functional’. He also said that men and women were biologically suited to these roles so it was only natural for men to be the breadwinners and women are the stay at home wives. This is a very traditional view. There are many factors affecting power relationships and the division of labour between couples. Firstly, whether a family live in a symmetrical family or not will have an effect on the divisions of labour. March of Progress theorists (Liberal Feminists) such as Young and Willmott argue that family life is gradually improving for all its members, becoming more equal and democratic. For example, women now go out to work, just as men now help with housework and childcare. However Radical Feminists reject the ‘March of Progress’ theory, and argue that women remain unequal within the family. Anne Oakley argues that we still live in a patriarchal (male dominated) society, and therefore women occupy a subordinate and dependant role within the family and wider society. Overall it could therefore be argued that rather than partners becoming more equal, women now have to carry a ‘dual burden’, whereby she is responsible for two jobs of unpaid or paid labour. Factors such as patriarchy and conforming to a gender script will lead to these divisions. It could be argued that the money management within a family has an effect on the
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