Spouses Sharing Equal Housework

Powerful Essays
Topics: Family, Marriage
"Who says it 's a woman 's job to clean?"� In today 's society, Americans are working more than ever. This is particularly the case for women. Women continue to increase their participation in the paid work force, and the average paid work week of fully employed women has risen from 35 hours in 1969 to 40 hours in 1990 (Schor 1993). The overriding question for most dual-earning marriages--is who is going to do the housework. Apparently men and women have a different perspective on who should do what, and they find themselves fighting about it. The man is apparently demanding that she do most of the work, and she is demanding that the man do it (Harley, Dr. "�How to Divide Domestic Responsibilities"�. Marriage Builders 17 Mar. 1997: 1.). Traditionally, wives assumed household and child care responsibilities, while the husband took care of providing income for the family; however, full time working women are still largely responsible for home and family care. In my opinion, we need to abandon the Victorian ideal of separate spheres. If women are to be equal participants in the economy and the polity, men must become equal partners in maintaining homes and raising children. In 1950, U.S. families with breadwinner fathers and stay-at-home mothers were twice as numerous as any other family types. Today there are twice as many two-earner families as families where only the man works. The rapid increase in the number of mothers holding jobs is arguably the most important social trend of the past half-century. In a dramatic departure from the 1950s, most mothers return to work before their first child turns one-year old.

Gone are popular images of anxious and isolated expectant fathers pacing hospital waiting rooms and passing out cigars. As late as the early 1970s, only one in four men attended the birth of their children, but now over eight out of ten fathers are present in the delivery room ("Families and gender equity"�. National Forum.) Men are also doing more



Cited: --"Families and Gender equity"�, National Forum. --Harley, Dr. "How to Divide Domestic Responsibilities."� Marriage Builders 17 Mar. 1997: 1. --Mellor, Earl. 1986. "Shift Work and Flextime."� Monthly Labor Review 109:14-21 --Perry-Jenkins, Maureen, and Karen Folk. 1994. "Class, couples, and Conflict: Effects of the Division of Labor on Assessments of Marriage in Dual-earner Families. Journal of Marriage and the Family 56:165-80. --Schor 1993 --Thompson Linda. 1991. "Family Work: Women 's Sense of Fairness."� Journal of Family Issues 12:181-96.

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