Young & Willmott: Symmetrical family
• ‘March of progress’ approach to family
• Gradually improving for all its members and becoming more equal.
• See the rise in nuclear family as a result of social changes taken within the past century such as; changes in women’s position, geographical mobility, new technology and higher standards of living.
Parsons: Instrumental and expressive roles
• Husband has an instrumental role, primary source of success at work in order to provide for family. He is the breadwinner.
• The wife has an expressive role, primary socialisation of the children and towards emotional needs of the family. Homemaker and full-time housewife.
Parsons argues that the division of labour is based on biological differences, with women , ‘naturally’ suited to the nurturing role and men to that of a provider.
• Young & Willmott (1962) argue that men are now taking a greater share of domestic tasks and wives are becoming wage earners.
• Feminists reject the division of labour and argue its only beneficial for men.
Feminist view of housework
• Ann Oakley criticises Young & Willmott’s view that the family is symmetrical. She argues their claims are exaggerated.
• Mary Boulton (1983) found that fewer than 20% of husbands had a major role in childcare. She argues that Young & Willmott exaggerate men’s contribution by looking at the tasks involved in childcare as responsibilities.
The dual burden
• Feminists believe men benefit both from women’s earnings and from their domestic labour
• Ferri & Smith found that increased employment of women outside the home has had little impact on the domestic division of labour. Based on a sample of 1,589 33yr old parents, father took main responsibility for childcare in fewer than 4% of families.
• Inequalities in decision-making are not simply the result of inequalities in earnings.
• In patriarchal society, the cultural...