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The Roles of Women and Men in the Home

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The Roles of Women and Men in the Home

Domestic roles which a husband and wife undertake in the house are

called conjugal roles these can include childcare and housework.

In the past there were clean divisions between the husband's

bread-winning role and the wife's housewife/mother role. Today it can

be argued that the divisions of labour within the home have become

blurred and household tasks are shared. Some sociologists argue that a

'new man' is emerging, and he seems to be sharing more domestic tasks,

engaging emotionally with women and showing interest in developing his

fathering skills. Young and Wilmott argue that joint conjugal roles

are becoming more common since families are becoming more

'home-centred'. A more symmetrical pattern is appearing between

husband and wife. Elizabeth Bott also agrees that there are joint

conjugal roles in the family as more partners share responsibilities,

decision making and leisure activities. However she also believes that

some partners segregate their conjugal roles, but these are couples

with largely separate social lives.

Many sociologists believe that the role of the father is changing. For

example, men in the 1990s were more likely to attend the birth of

their babies than in the 1960s and were more likely to play a greater

role in the care of their children than their own fathers. Burghes in

1997 found that fathers were taking an increasingly active role in the

emotional development of their children, there for relieving some of

the responsibilities of the mothers.

Nevertheless, some sociologists believe that conjugal roles are

greatly separated. Duncomb and Marsden argue that f...

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...ticised by some sociologists as they believe that

they majority of the housework, is taken on by the females. This can

be backed up by research on couples and the evidence of the children's

pay. It is argued that good children, a clean home and a happy husband

all rely on the mother of the family. It could be argued that changes

in conjugal roles have happened because of changes in society i.e.

women in the work place, but the old fashioned, underlying norms of

society seem to still be alive today. But we cannot categorise all

families into one area as the symmetry of domestic roles depends on a

number of factors. For example a couple in their sixties are unlikely

to share the same sharing roles as a couple who are in their twenties.

Conjugal roles will also vary in different ethnic groups and different

social classes.
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