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Examine the view that the distribution of domestic tasks between family members has become more equal.

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Introduction

Examine the view that the distribution of domestic tasks between family members has become more equal. Sociologists have taken different viewpoints on whether conjugal roles have become equal - different aspects of equality/inequality in conjugal roles have been considered. Some have concentrated on the division of labour in the home: they have examined the allocation of responsibility for domestic work between husband and wife and the amount of time spent by spouses on particular tasks. Others have tried to measure the distribution of power within marriage. Willmott and Young agree with the statement that distribution of domestic tasks between family members have become equal. ...read more.

Middle

They argued that the change from segregated to joint conjugal roles results mainly from the withdrawal of the wife from her relationships with female kin, and the drawing of the husband into the family circle. Conversely, Young and Willmott found the symmetrical family was common amongst middle class families but not working class families but they believed that eventually the working class would become symmetrical. However many sociologists, such as Ann Oakley and Edgel, have carried out research into conjugal roles, have found little evidence that couples share equal division of domestic tasks. ...read more.

Conclusion

Half of her sample was working class and half was middle class. She found greater equality for domestic tasks in the middle class than in the working class. However in both classes few men had a high level of participation in housework and childcare. She found that most wives saw these jobs as their own responsibility, where only 15% of men in marriages participated in them at a high level. Oakley says that the symmetrical family does not exist and that families are still patriarchal. In summary, sociologists that have conducted research on the sharing of domestic chores between the family and have had contrasting opinions. I disagree that the domestic tasks have become equally shared within a family, therefore agreeing with Ann Oakley. ...read more.

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