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Access explanations for the inequalities in the domestic division of labour.

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Introduction

ACCESS EXPLANATIONS FOR THE INEQUALITIES IN THE DOMESTIC DIVISION OF LABOUR The basis for the division of labour is a combination of biology, psychology and economics, all of which combine to determine couples activities. Societies within family life are organised around gender roles. Certain roles are allocated to family members dependant on their gender. What is masculine and feminine very from one society to another and overtime as cultures change? Sociologists argue that gender is socially constricted rather than biologically determined. Genes do not determine the way men and women behave or think and they don't force us into masculine or feminine pigeonholes. Our social and cultural environment shapes our gender characteristics. Societies create gender patterns and transmit them through the process of socialisation. Parents address boys and girls with different names and dress them differently. These differences are reinforced throughout society i.e. schools, work, media and peer groups. Ann Oakley observed that males and females fit into their own natural roles throughout society. Women are given lighter more gentle tasks and men are given the heavier work. But certain jobs reserved for the males of one society may be reserved for females of another society. ...read more.

Middle

Ann Oakley on other hand disagrees. She argues that this is not the case and although the women may go out to work she is still expected to look after the home and the physical and psychological needs of both her husband and their children. She is often made to feel guilty for working and not being there for her family. Many mothers give up work because they feel their husband and children may be suffering in the long run from her not being around. In 1978 it was estimated that three or four times as many families would be in poverty if the woman didn't go out to work. In the 1980's we saw economic repression and many fathers were out of work or on low pay. They found little or no opportunity to boost their pay with overtime. To be able to raise the family's standard of living so they could maybe raise their mortgage and afford a bigger house or to be able to afford holidays abroad. Industrialisation has enabled more women to go out to work as the demand for female labour has increased, although they are often low waged or employed on a part-time basis. ...read more.

Conclusion

In all of these studies it appears to be the mother that takes on the emotional feelings of all her family members. But what about what she wants? After all what would happen if she were absent. She must at some point consider her own needs and feelings and at least have some sort of social life. Society tends to give low status to women as housewives, but with an occupation they raise the stakes and give themselves a separate identity apart from the role of housewife and mother. Not only does this give the woman a certain amount of independence but also gives her self esteem a boost. If she doesn't look after her physical and psychological needs as well as the needs of her husband/partner and children then everything else begins to fail. Many women are attracted by the sociable, adult company, which the workplace can bring as well as the involvement in an interesting and worthwhile job. Some are keen to escape the boredom and depression of being isolated, and in some cases, only having her children or baby to talk too. ...read more.

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