Feminism is a collection of movements and beliefs aimed at defining and defending women’s rights within society and politics aiming for all round equality. A big issue that arises within women rights is inequality in the household. The division of labour in the home is how fairly the jobs are shared between the partners in the household.
Sociologists named Young and Willmott carried out a study in 1957 in Bethnal Green, London. They looked into the roles in families within the home and come to the conclusion that over time most families have become ‘The symmetrical family’. This implies roles are being shared between the man and women within the home. They called this the march of progress. Feminists reject this ‘March of progress’ view as they say roles are not equal within the home. In a research there is evidence that men ‘help’ at home but it is far from symmetry within the roles. Feminists say that men usually claim to be helping by doing the pleasurable jobs rather than the work, therefore research so far suggests feminists view the division of labour within the family home as unequal.
Sociologist Ann Oakley disagrees with Young and Willmott’s view. Rather than seeing a march of progress towards symmetry since 19th century like Young and Willmott do, Oakley describes how “the housewife role has become the dominant role for married women”. She also argues that Men only ever ‘help’ at home rather than work. Another sociologist supporting Oakley’s idea is Mary Boulton (1983). During research Boulton found that fewer than 20% of husbands had a major role in childcare. She argues that Young and Willmott exaggerate men’s contribution by looking at tasks that involve childcare rather than responsibilities.
When reviewing the research so far it becomes apparent that women sociologists (particularly feminists) support the idea that men rarely take on tasks within the home and that male