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Why is there unequal division of household labour in most of the society?

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The BA (Hons) Art and Design in Education SD377 Current Issues in Art & Design Education Lecturer: Verdy Leung Essay topic: Why is there unequal division of household labour in most of the society? By Ho Shun Shing 03848738t In this article, we address the division of household labour by examining its general situation and exploring different approaches used by different sociologist to account for it. The five approaches are namely exchange theory, resource theory, Marxist feminist theory, radical feminist theory and social construction theory will be discussed. With the evidence of previous researches, the situation of division of household labour is explored and evaluated in terms of its degree of gender inequality as manifested. In the second part, the situation is being accounted by those five approaches so as to determine whether the situation can be altered. Household labour can be defined in a variety of ways, however, in this article, we acquire those employed by Shelton (1996), that is defined as unpaid work done to maintain family member and/ or a home, which, emotion work and other "invisible" types of work are typically excluded. Meanwhile, it is a job described as monotonous, fragmented, with low status not being treated as a "real" work, bring no financial remuneration, isolated with inherent time limits, and often received no recognition Oakley (Morris 1990:81). Since mid 1960s, researches on comparing the division of household labour between men and women has been mounting, it is not only due to the great impact of household labour on the family life of contemporary married couple, but also due to its implication of gender equality in the society to certain extend. ...read more.


In other words, the man has strength in the labour market and the women have time. Nonetheless, this approach have not addressed why men has more strength in the work field with higher educational attainment, higher earning and higher occupational prestige. According to above two approaches, division of household labour should be more equally shared with recent growth of married women's employment as well as the release of many men from the rigours the occupational system by unemployment, when, women are provided with chances to gain more resources and independence. Young and Willmott (1973; Quoted from Morris, 1990) proposed that the middle classes were at the forefront of a move towards symmetricality in marriage in which the role of husband and wife will become more identical. Wong stand in the same line with Young and Willmott stated that industrialization has substantially increased employment opportunities for women and as a result, has significantly advanced their position within the family. He observed that the wife's paid employment has contributed to much greater equality between spouses, in sharing of household duties and in decision-making (Leung, 1996). However, hitherto tasks of wage and earning and domestic labour are still largely segregated. Many researches can only give little evidence of male unemployment leading to major responsibility for domestic work, nor even to their taking an equal share. It is because most of the researches which asserted male have participated more in domestic labour are actually based on proportional sense but not absolute sense (Morris, 1990; Chu, 1997). ...read more.


Therefore, we can speculated that in order to breakthrough the long-drawn practice of unequal division of household labour, women should firstly be conscious that equal share of domestic household with men is a right that is reasonable for them to pursue and secondly she has to undergo the struggle induced from the rooted cultural predisposition on the role as being a women, that is a mother and a wife. Otherwise, the spiral effect caused by capitalism, patriarchy and social construction will resist the division of household labour to change. (2392 words) Reference Abbott, P. & Wallace, C. 1996, (2nd ed.) The family and household. An Introduction to Sociology: feminist perspectives: 137-159. London: Routledge. Abbott, P. & Wallace, C. 1997, (2nd ed.) Women's work. An Introduction to Sociology: feminist perspectives: 193-225. London: Routledge. Andersen, M. 1997(4th ed.) Women and families. Thinking About Women: Sociological Perspectives on sex and gender:145-161. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Chu, Wai-chi 1997, "Who is doing what?" The implication behind housework sharing" in Indicators of social development: Hong Kong 1995. Research Monograph no. 33. Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, CUHK. Leung. B. 1996, The family and society, Perspective on Hong Kong Society, p. 75-91, Oxford university Press. Morris, L. 1990, The division of Domestic Labour. The Working of The Household Pp. 80-102., Cambrigdge: Political Press. Pearson, V. 1990, Women in Hong Kong Pp. 115-131 in Leung, B.K.P. Social Issues in Hong Kong. Oxford University Press. N.Y. Shelton, B.A & John, D. 1996, The division of household labor. Annual Review of Sociology.22:299-322. 4 ...read more.

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