Examine the factors affecting the division of domestic labour among couples. (24 marks)
The Division of Labour refers to the range of tasks within a social system. This can vary from everyone doing the same thing to each person having a specialised role. The division of domestic labour is the tasks given to each person in a house unit. For example the wife may do the housework, whilst the husband goes out to work. The division of domestic labour can also include childcare and emotion work, two things that previously were completely down to the wife but now are becoming more evenly spread between family members.
Cultural factors that affect the division of labour are aspects like lagged adaptation. Jonathan Gershuny said wives who are in paid work do less housework (men do 27%), but the tasks are still sex-typed: men focus on DIY where as women cook. His explanation was there are gradual changes in values- known as lagged adaptation, and that over time parental role models will show children that men do housework too. Different ethnicities have different family structures- in many American families especially, the man is still the breadwinner and head of the household, while the wife cooks, cleans, and bears and raises children. Conjugal (marital) roles will vary depending on culture, if the society around a family typically has the man working then spending his leisure time with colleagues, that’s how that family will function because they are socialised that way.
Some legal factors influence the division of labour, for instance it’s now easier and more socially acceptable for couples to get a divorce, so in a way there’s more pressure on men to keep things civil in the household. If the wife is unhappy, she can just leave. On the other hand, men and women don’t always have equal pay, which affects the division of labour as a popular belief in families is that the highest earner should do the least domestic work.
Economic factors have had a...
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