 “Examine the Factors Affecting the Domestic Division of Labour and Power Relations Between Couples”

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Domestic labour is housework, childcare and paid work. In 1955, Parsons suggested that the husband and wife have different roles within the family; the mans 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. However, the march of progress can easily criticise this view; the idea that everything is getting better and that roles between men and women are becoming more equal. The future foundation (2002) supports the march of progress and found that 75% of women do less domestic chores than their mothers and 60% or men claim they do more domestic chores than their fathers. Young and Willmot (1973) said that the symmetrical family is becoming increasingly popular. This is a type of family in which the domestic chores, childcare and paid work roles are split equally between the man and woman. This family type is becoming so popular because women’s position in society has changed significantly over the recent years, it’s now normal for women to have a career instead of being a housewife. Also the burden of housework has decreased due to commercialisation of housework, the housewife role is disappearing and it’s now easier and quicker to keep a home clean by the use of hovers and washing machines. In contrast, Warde and Hetherington (1993) said that certain jobs were ‘sex typed’. This means that men and women are expected to do different jobs around the home. For example, women are expected to cook, clean and look after the
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