In the last 50 years we have seen changes in the family structure. In the process the roles of women have also changed however we still see inequalities in the home, workplace and public despite women having proven themselves equal to men.
Talcott Parsons (1955) proposed a functionalist model which suggest a clear division of labor where men have an ‘instrumental role’ geared towards succeeding at work and women have an ‘expressive role’ geared towards socialization of children and meeting the family emotional needs. He argues that division of labor is based on biological differences and states that women were more suited for nurturing and emotional roles whereas men tend to take on the role of the provider.
Young and Willmot (1973) support Talcott with their ‘March of Progress’ view and state that the household is increasingly becoming more equal in terms of labor divided equally. They state that families are taking one more symmetrical role where women go out to work and men help with housework and childcare. While not identical it can be seen that the roles have become and continue to become more similar.
Ann Oakley( 1974) argues that this is not convincing evidence as men over emphasize their contribution to the household with only 15% having high level participation with housework and 25% helping with childcare. She states that men are happy to contribute to housework and childcare however they would only help with the more ‘pleasurable’ aspects. Ann Oakley’s opinions are supported by Mary Bolton (1983) and Akan Warde and Kevin Hatherington (1993) who state that fewer than 20% of husbands had a major role in childcare and that sex-typing is still major issue in the domestic environment.
While Ann Oakley has strong evidence to support her views on inequality in the domestic and work environment sociologists have pointed out that most of the women in Oakleys study were full time housewives. Man-Yee Kan (2001) states that age and education affected these statistics as younger , better educated women were less domestic work orientated and even stated that ‘every £10,000 pay increase reduced hours contributed at home by 2’. Jonathan Gershuny (1994) supports these views as he found that women who worked full time did 73% of the housework women will contribute less than they would normally.
Elsa Ferri and...