The Roles of Women and Men in the Home
Domestic roles which a husband and wife undertake in the house are
called conjugal roles these can include childcare and housework.
In the past there were clean divisions between the husband's
bread-winning role and the wife's housewife/mother role. Today it can
be argued that the divisions of labour within the home have become
blurred and household tasks are shared. Some sociologists argue that a
'new man' is emerging, and he seems to be sharing more domestic tasks,
engaging emotionally with women and showing interest in developing his
fathering skills. Young and Wilmott argue that joint conjugal roles
are becoming more common since families are becoming more
'home-centred'. A more symmetrical pattern is appearing between
husband and wife. Elizabeth Bott also agrees that there are joint
conjugal roles in the family as more partners share responsibilities,
decision making and leisure activities. However she also believes that
some partners segregate their conjugal roles, but these are couples
with largely separate social lives.
Many sociologists believe that the role of the father is changing. For
example, men in the 1990s were more likely to attend the birth of
their babies than in the 1960s and were more likely to play a greater
role in the care of their children than their own fathers. Burghes in
1997 found that fathers were taking an increasingly active role in the
emotional development of their children, there for relieving some of
the responsibilities of the mothers.
Nevertheless, some sociologists believe that conjugal roles are
greatly separated. Duncomb and Marsden argue that from an early age
girls are trained to be emotionally, attuned to others feelings and
when they marry, they take on all the emotional work, men do not
acknowledge the need for emotional work to maintain their marriage.
When it comes to house hold work Duncomb and Marsden argue that women
take on a triple shift of paid work, home tasks and emotional work
with children and husband. Feminists such as Ann Oakley argue against
the 'new man' emerging and she says that only a ,minority of men have
shared conjugal roles, she researched housewives in 1974. Madeline
Leonard who is an extreme feminist believes that when it comes to jobs
in the home there is a clear gender division, with women taking on
more feminine roles...