Published on March 4, 2014
Unit 1: Families and Households 1) Couples Haleema Begum Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls Sixth form
Interpretation • Is the question about a particular form of inequality (e.g. domestic labour)? If yes, then stick to this. • Or is it about inequality more generally? If yes, then (cover all sections) i.e. decision making, resources and domestic violence aswell.
The domestic division of labour
Parsons (1955) • Take a Functionalists view • A couple should have separate (marital roles), women: expressive, whilst men have: instrumental roles • It is better for wider society • Biologically based gender division of labour is the best way of organising family life.
Young & Willmott (1962) • They studied working-class extended families in Bethnal Green • Men were the breadwinners and women were the home-makers. • They see a long-term trend towards the “symmetrical family”. • Roles are becoming more similar • Most women go out to work • Men help with housework, the “new man”
Why is there a rise of the “symmetrical family”? • There are smaller family sizes • More women are starting to work • Therefore a higher standard of living and better housing (the house becomes home-centred) • Can afford labour saving devices
Ann Oakley (1974) • The family is patriarchal • They are not symmetrical or equal!! • The housewife role is socially constructed (not BIOLOGICALLY NATURAL)
cont. Ann Oakley (1974) • There is no evidence of symmetry in domestic labour • Young + Willmott exaggerate the “new man” !!! • Husbands “helped” was ironing their own shirt once a week
Boulton (1983) • We need to look at who is responsible for tasks, NOT just who performs it • Wife is seen responsible for children’s welfare, even when men “help” • Less than one in five husbands took a major part in childcare
The impact of women working
Gurshuny (1994) • Men whose wives worked full-time did started to do more work than before (despite going up to only 27%) • But domestic tasks are still sex-typed • There is a change in values and role-models or “lagged adaption” resulting in gradually women working fulltime • (Crompton): argues changes are because of ECONOMIC factors not values. • Women’s increasing earning power means men have to do more in the home • But men still earn more, so the division of labour is still unequal
Schor (1993) • The “commercialisation of housework” has led to the DEATH of the housewife role!! – but only for the better off • Couples can now buy and invest in ready meals, nurseries, etc therefore cuts the amount of domestic labour • (HOWEVER): not all couples are in the same economic positionclass and income play a role in the domestic division of labour
Ferry and Smith (1996) • They found that women who were carrying duel burden had little impact on the D.O.L • Under 4% of fathers were the main child-carer
Morris (1990) • Morris (1990) found that even when the wife was working and the husband was unemployed, she still did most of the housework!! • Men suffered the crisis of MASCULINITY • Losing their breadwinner role, they did not want to give in to the feminine domestic role
Duncombe and Marsden (1995) • Found that women required Triple Shift • Emotional work • Domestic labour • Paid work
Gillian Dunne (1999) • She studied 37 lesbian couples finding a more equal D.O.L • She says heterosexual relationships are “inevitably patriarchal” • They have allocate the masculine and feminine identities (GENDER SCRIPTED) • Lesbians were more open to negitiation • (HOWEVER): She found that when one partner did ... More paid work less domestic work • i.e paid work was still an important influence
Resources and decision making
Kempson (1994) • Women in low-income families denied their own need- to make ends meet • Even households with adequate incomes, resources are often shared unequally leaving women in poverty • The man is usually in control of the family’s income and deciding how to spend it • This leads to unequal shares and resources for the wife
Pahl and Vogler (1993) The allowance system: • The allowance system is when the men work and give their non-working wives an allowance to budget to meet the family’s needs. Pooling: • Pooling is where both partners work having joint responsibility for spending i.e. Having a joint bank account Despite the massive increase in pooling over the recent years, Vogler (1994) found out that men still make the major decisions, reflecting their greater earnings
Edgell (1980) 1) Economic • Men earn more have more power • Women are economically dependent have less say 2) Patriarchal socialisation • Some Feminists argue that gender role socialisation in patriarchal society instils the idea that men are the decisionmakers
British Crime Survey (BCS) • There are 6.6 million assaults per year (mainly men against women) • Nearly 1 in 4 women were assaulted by her partner at some time • 1 in 3 of assaults are reported
Police statistics • Police statistics under-estimate its extent because of • Under- reporting: (BCS) say 1 in 3 assaults are reported • Under-recording: police are reluctant/unwilling to investigate, record or get involved with the family’s “private sphere” • Victim should just leave if unhappy (HOWEVER): many women are financially dependent on their partners and cannot leave their children
Dobash and Dobash • Found out that violence was triggered when husbands felt their authority was being challenged • They conclude that marriage legitimates violence by giving power to men Elliot (1996) argues not all men benefit from it
The Radical Feminist Explanation • It is patriarchy- male domination • Men oppress women through the family domestic labour + sexual services • Violence or the threat of it allows them to get what they want • Men dominate the state police and courts fail to take domestic violence seriously Radical Feminists fail to explain violence against children, men, or lesbians Discuss D.V as well as housework
Domestic violence and inequality
Wilkinson (1996) • Families who lack resources i.e. Low income, poor housing, suffer more stress, this increases violence • Lack of resources: stress social inequality HOWEVER: He doesn’t explain why women rather than men are the main victims
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