Examine the factors affecting the domestic division of labour and power relations between couples.

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Examine the factors affecting the domestic division of labour and power relations between couples.

Domestic division of labour is the division of tasks, roles and duties, within the household. With the increased entry of married women into formal , sociologists began to look more closely at the processes that linked home and workplace, including the question of whether or not women's increased involvement in paid labour led to a renegotiation of the traditional domestic roles and organization of .

   A major characteristic of the symmetrical family outlined by Young and Willmott was the degree to which spouses shared domestic work and leisure activities. In Young and Willmott’s stage 2 family, conjugal roles were largely segregated. There was a clear cut division of labour between spouses in the household and the husband was relatively uninvolved with domestic chores and raising the children. The wife is associated mainly with her female kin and neighbours and the husband with his male workmates, kin and neighbours. In the stage 3 symmetrical families, conjugal roles become joint, however the wife still has primary responsibility for housework and child rearing, husbands become more involved, often washing clothes, ironing and sharing other domestic duties. Husband and wife shared responsibility for decisions that affect the family; they discuss matters such as household finance and their children’s education to a greater degree than stage 2. There are many reasons as to why conjugal roles have changed over the years.

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   Ann Oakley looked into the change being due to housework and childcare. Oakley looked at 40 married women who had one child or more under the age of five, who were British or Irish born and aged between 20 and 30 years. Half of the samples were working class and half were middle class, both groups came from London areas. Oakley found greater equality in terms of the allocations of domestic tasks between spouses in the middle class than the working class. She also found that in both cases few men had a high level of participation in housework ...

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It has some good knowledge of studies which show inequality exists but the candidate fails to get to grips with the precise question set and this lets it down (the question is which factors affect conjugal roles). The mark could also be raised by using more perspectives such as Feminism and Marxism (especially to develop issues of power).