My general hypothesis of which I'm studying to prove or not is; whether or not household tasks are adopted or allocated due to gender or expectation of gender in heterosexual relationships.
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Domestic tasks are still shared unequally between men and women in heterosexual relationships in Britain today. Rationale I feel that this topic is highly relevant to modern society today, as I have noticed that over the last few years there have been some significant changes in men and women's attitudes towards gender roles in the home, even more significantly with housework. This has come across to me especially through the media, and also as I have previously studied the topic of families and households as one of my AS modules. So because this topic has already been enlightened to me I have already begun to notice the general role of men and women throughout my own family and within other households. From my AS course I already have a small understanding of families and households and of the sociologists whom conducted studies based on labour within a household. These sociologists included Bott with her study on families and social network and Willmott and Young and their 4 stages of family life. However many of the sociologists whom conducted these studies have often been feminists, so as part of my course work I aim to look at other views as well as the feminist view such as the Marxist and Functionalist view on division between household labour and gender.
This is a view shared mainly by the radical feminists. A fairly recent feminist study was done by Frances Elston in 1980; it was called "Half of Future Doctors". Elston studied the lives of male and female, middle classed doctors who were married to each other. Elston discovered that only 1% of male doctors did chores such as shopping, cleaning and cooking. 50% of female doctors performed chores such as cleaning, which suggests that many of the couples were able to employ cleaners to do this work. Also 80% of female doctors carried out chores such as shopping and cooking. These findings are important because it shows that males and females have different ideological expectations when it comes to domestic labour as it shows that it is the females that do majority of it even in the situation where the female works full time in a job similar to that of the male. I want to see if in my own study I can back up any of these studies as their results are very much varied. I would especially like to look at who answers the childcare portion of my survey and see if it is similar to the results of Feri and Smith's as this is
I have made the questionnaire very simple but there is still a risk of anomalies. I have made the questions unambiguous and there are no leading questions but there might still be the factor that the participant might rush in the answering as they might have little time to fill it out. Pilot Study For my pilot study I gave out 5 of the questionnaires to be filled out by random participants. It was extremely successful meaning that there were very few things that needed changing on the questionnaire. The main item on the questionnaire that I felt really needed changing was the sentence above the table where it stated 'Please tick as to whom does which household job;' there was some slight confusion as a few participants marked more than one box for some of the household tasks. I have now changed it so that it states in the sentence also that only one box is required to be ticked for each household job. I am now happy that from the feedback from my pilot study that my questionnaire is simple and easy to understand making it better for the participants to understand and therefore making my responses and data to be more valid.
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