Using material from item 2B and elsewhere, assess the view that gender roles and relationships have become more equal in modern family life (24 marks)
The domestic division of labour refers to the roles that men and women take in relation to housework. These roles are often referred to as conjugal roles; roles which display roles within marriage itself. Segregated conjugal roles described the situation of man and wife having separate roles within the house where the man would more often be the breadwinner and the woman would be the homemaker. This notion supported Parsons idea of expressive roles, but is the centre of debate for feminist sociologists. There are also joint conjugal roles which represents the idea that couples share tasks
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The symmetrical family is where women go out to work, men help with child&house care and couples spend much more leisure time together. The main reasons behind the idea of the symmetrical family spiral from ideas such as: Changes in women’s position, geographical mobility, new technology and higher standards of living. Feminists would criticise this idea and claim that there is still significant inequality within the family and that the family is still a system which oppresses women, because roles are not yet completely equal. As seen in Item 2B, the changes in family relationships and role allocation can be explained simply by the changing attitudes toward the family and the fact that women take greater participation within the labour market; for example these ideas would have been taken from the fact that Thatcher served as longest ever UK prime minister until 1990, where two years later Gershuny found changes in gender roles. He found that men were making more of an effort to do housework when their wives were in full-time work. Gillian Dunne researched lesbian couples, and concluded that these gender scripts do not apply or operate to the same extent. She stated that, compared to hector-sexual women, lesbians were more likely to describe their relationships as equal and share house&child care, give equal importance to both partner’s careers and view child care positive on the whole.
On the other hand many