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Examine the problems faced by sociologists when trying to measure how far modern conjugal roles are egalitarian.

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[28.2.2012] Examine the problems faced by sociologists when trying to measure how far modern conjugal roles are egalitarian. Many sociologists have researched and have done studies on the domestic division of labour; the separation of the household labour and childcare. They have looked at many aspects of equality to find out how equal modern conjugal roles have become. These aspects include household chores, childcare, decisions, finance and emotional work. Parsons (1955) explains the traditional nuclear families roles as husbands and wives and argues that the husband has the instrumental role of being the breadwinner, earning for the household. He says that the wife has the expressive role which is more of the nurturer aiming to attend to the family?s emotional needs and housework. Parsons claims this division is natural and that women and men are both biologically suited to each of their roles. Young and Wilmott (1962) criticize this view and take an optimistic view to it. They say this study is very out-dated and the division of labour has become somewhat more symmetrical as men are doing more household jobs and women are doing more men?s jobs. ...read more.


as they both cooperate and work together to survive, there are new technological devices which are labour saving and finally the higher standards of living. In some way, these factors are all interlinked. Another sociologist, Ann Oakley (1974) suggests that despite the reduction of gender differences in the occupational world, the role of the housewife still remains feminine and will continue to do so. Feminist sociologists argue that little has changed within the family and the roles of men and women remain unequal within the family. The y see this as a result of patriarchal society where men dominate the family and women are the depends of the family. According to Oakley, the claim that Young and Wilmott made that 72% of husbands ?help in the house? is not accurate. She claims that according to their findings, men only perform one household chore a week and with their own research found that there is no evidence of a trend towards symmetry. They argued that husbands were more likely to share their childcare, not the housework and share the more pleasurable aspects of housework. ...read more.


Education is another factor, better education means a better job, and this leads to less work. J.Gershunny (1194) agree?s with Man-Yee Kan and concluded that the longer the woman is at work, the less household work she does and the more equal the division of labour is. Other factors which sociologists have looked at are the division of finance, the ?emotion work? and the decision making; that makes the decisions and what types of decisions. Studies done show that men are the main decision makers in the family and that the financial support given to their wives is often unpredictable. Edgell (1980) found that wives dominated decisions in more of the feminine things such as decorating, clothing and the food whereas men make the decisions on moving houses, buying cares and financial decisions. It can be concluded that husbands have more power than their wives in terms of decision making. To conclude, the term ?egalitarian? is difficult to define and there are many problems in measuring it. Sociologists haven?t yet agreed to the modern conjugal roles being egalitarian but have shown the increase in it becoming equal. There are influences from the wider society such as economic factors, social inequalities, etc., which leads to problems in measuring the conjugal roles. ...read more.

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