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

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The Division of Labour refers to the range of tasks within a social system. This can vary from everyone doing the same thing to each person having a specialised role. The division of domestic labour is the tasks given to each person in a house unit. For example the wife may do the housework, whilst the husband goes out to work. The division of domestic labour can also include childcare and emotion work, two things that previously were completely down to the wife but now are becoming more evenly spread between family members. Social values are another major reason for domestic division of labour and power relationships between couples, which was in effect especially in the past. Functionalists, who see nuclear families as the dominant type of family, believe that the role of females is to stay at home taking of children and doing domestic work whilst males go out for jobs as expressive and instrumental roles that help the society to run efficiently. In comparison, Marxists believe that females provide the emotional support to the males of proletariats that help maintain the capitalist society. Such views demonstrate a fixed ideology that the roles between couples are that the women should have the sense of responsibility in doing domestic work and childcare. This is supported by Oakley as he does not agree with the march of progress towards symmetry as Young and Willmott do, but instead states that it is evident in the 20th century that an increasing number of women are working however, their housewife role is still women’s primary role. Decision-making and paid work make a difference within power relationships and labour of division and there may be inequality not just within who does what at home but, also with who gets what and how the resources are shared between men and women. A reason why men take greater shares of family’s resources is because they have
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