The Domestic Division of Labour and Power Essay

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Examine the factors affecting the domestic division of labour and power relations. (24) Domestic labour consists mainly of childcare, housework and emotional maintenance for the family. Parsons, 1995, drew the conclusion that men and women have different roles within the family, with men expected to be the bread earners, and go out too work, whereas women, in most cases, had to stay at home and perform the various domestic labour tasks required of them. This included all the above mentioned tasks, and parsons stated that this was the "expressive" role, and that this system made things "nice and functional", stating that the respective genders were uniquely suited biologically for these roles. Power relations within a household refer to the control of decisions, finance and the families direction, and whom they are controlled by. This power can be held by either partner, or both, or both partners may control different parts of the power, such as one controlling finance, and the other deciding accommodation etc. Despite this, traditionally, men have control of the power within the family. However, the march of progress (Young & Willmot 1973) decrees that power relations and the domestic division of labour are slowly becoming more equal for all members of the family. In a study conducted by the Future Foundation (2002), Young and Wilmot's theory was backed up by the conclusions that 75% of women now did less housework than their mothers, and that similarly, 60% of men did more chores than their fathers. This evidence supports the rise of the symmetrical family, in which the division of chores, childcare and paid work is split evenly between the man and women, however it has been noted that this change is most noticeable in the middle class. This may have become popular due to the change in women's position in society over the years, such as the ability to
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