Assess the view that gender roles and relationships have become more equal in modern life (24 marks)
Today we have a number of sociological views and approaches, which have agreed changes have taken places in gender roles and relationships within the family to make them more equal, whereas some sociologists believe they have not. These beliefs are developed from factors such as the domestic division of labour, the impact of paid work and resources and decision making in households.
Young and Willmott take a ‘marge of progress’ view of the history of the family. They see family life as gradually improving for all it’s members, becoming more equal and democratic. They argue that there has been a long term trend away from segregated conjugal roles and towards joint conjugal roles and the ‘symmetrical family’ where roles of the women and the man are much more similar. Such as, Women now go out to work, although this may be part-time rather than full-time, men now help with housework and childcare, couples now spend their leisure time together rather than with work friends but more home-centred. In a study of families they conducted in London, they found symmetrical families were more common among younger couples, those who are geographically and socially isolated, and the more affluent. Young and Willmott saw the rise of the symmetrical family as the result of major social changes that took place in the past century such as changes in women’s position, new technology, geographical mobility and higher standards of living. Many of these factors are inter-linked such as, married women bringing a second wage into the home raises the family’s standard of living. This enables the couple to make the home more attractive, and therefore encourages men to spend more time at home, it also means the couple can afford more labour-saving devices. This makes housework easier and encourages men to do more. All this is slowly increasing relationships and gender...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document