Dual Career Families

Topics: Marriage, Wife, Husband Pages: 5 (1654 words) Published: April 30, 2006
Dual Career Families
The societies in the United States and other societies abroad are enduring many changes at a rather rapid rate. The changes that I am specifically referencing are those involved with altering the norms and cultural traditions among marriages. There is a vast amount of growth among both the husband and wife fulfilling full-time careers. In the past, more traditional marriages existed. The husband would endure a full-time career while the wife stayed at home and completed the majority of the domestic work. The traditional marriage has definitely changed, as it has become more of a norm for both the husband and wife to maintain separate careers. Research has identified numerous variables that affect the stability of a marriage. The factors that have been identified as affecting marriages and in turn influencing divorce rates include: financial stressors, domestic workload, job stressors, identity strains, and marital interaction time. The results that will be later identified may be of particular interest to couples that are in the early stages of marriage. The research has conveyed that the majority of the negative impacts that affect a marriage and in turn lead to divorce are most common to occur within the first few years of the marriage. The first of the traditional norms that has taken on dramatic changes in dual career families is the amount of domestic work that each spouse completes. Some would expect that as women acquire their career they would have to take on less of the domestic workload. It might be expected that women's growing earnings will gradually increase their domestic bargaining power, and this in turn will ultimately compel men to share equally in child care and housework (Bittman, England, Sayer, Folbre, and Matheson, 2003). However, research does not concur with this statement. All the available studies identify the dual-burden phenomenon: even full-time employed women still bear a disproportionate responsibility for house work and child care (Bianchi, Milkie, Sayer, and Robinson, 2000). Various options exist in regards to the resolution of the women's amount of domestic work load. The options available include: tolerating things as they are, leaving their career, leaving their husband, or choosing to renegotiate the division of domestic labor. The first of these creates an unresolved tension toward change. The other alternatives directly reduce the dual burden in various ways: the second by removing the paid work, the third (divorce) removes the couple from dual-burden statistics altogether, and the fourth (renegotiation), as we shall see, leads to some redistribution (Bittman, Brice, Gershuny, 2005). The research has identified a pattern of lagged adaptation among marriages in regards to the redistribution of the domestic workload. The research has also conveyed that the majority of domestic responsibility expectations are a result of the observed domestic work load interactions among the couple's parents. Those brought up when employed mothers were exceptional rather than normal are liable to have more gender-segregated views of domestic responsibilities: girls grew up to do housework like their mothers, boys to avoid it like their fathers (Brice, Bittman, Gershuny, 2005). It is evident that regardless of the division of the domestic work load or employment status, women still carry the majority of the work, as their mothers did in the past as well. Employed wives in the United States are responsible for .66 of the domestic work load, whereas non-employed wives are responsible for .80 of the domestic work load. The studies do show that husbands increase their domestic work load when leaving employment and decrease their share upon reentering the labor force.

Overall, women make a larger domestic labor adjustment immediately following their entry to their career. As the years proceed, the women's adjustment of daily domestic hours worked grows smaller. The men adapt at a...
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