Assess the extent to which roles within the family are becoming more equal or shared

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‘Assess the extent to which roles within the family are becoming more equal or shared’

There are many different opinions regarding the hierarchy of a family. As society has developed through the ages, numerous additions to the standard nuclear family have arisen. Because of this, sociologists are often coming up with new theories, including how power is shared within those families. In this essay I will be evaluating various judgements belonging to sociologists, regarding gender roles and whether influence is evenly distributed throughout families.

Barrett and McIntosh state that men gain much more from women doing domesticated jobs than they give back in financial support from being the main breadwinner. This suggests that they believe women are the ones that really do the important things such as maintaining the home and looking after children. Following on from this, they also think that the financial support provided by the men often comes with ‘strings attached’, so the women have to find a way to repay their husbands and show their gratitude. Also, they believe that men are the ones that usually take charge when making important decisions. This collaboration seems to have a feminist perspective because their beliefs suggest that men hold women back and do not allow them to become their own person in the way they should.

A criticism is that this feminist view assumes too much, as there are many women who take charge of their lives and strive to have a life separate from the one she has at home. In addition, it seems that generally feminist resent how women have always had a lower status to men, and therefore less authority, and are not able to let go of that and accept that times are changing and women are becoming more prominent in society, especially in the professional environment. Another criticism is that the main wage-earner isn’t always the one to control how the money is spent, for example, the husband earns the money and gives it to his wife to buy things for the house and add to her wardrobe.

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The next sociologist that relates to this topic is Edgell, who theorised that there are various degrees to decision making. He believes that the husband either takes charge or has the final say in very important decisions. Both the husband and the wife usually make important decisions together and the wife alone will make less important decisions. This opinion would suggest that roles within families are not becoming more equal because the man still has more say in the how the money is spent.

While it seems to be true that women usually decide what food to buy ...

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This essay aimed to evaluate whether roles within the family are becoming more equal. The writer did well to identify authors on both sides of the argument, and illustrate their key points. The work could have been improved by giving a few more current examples of roles being similar/still divided. Remember to give the year of the authors referred to and proofread carefully to pick up grammatical errors. 4/5