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Author: Ann Oakley

In this ground-breaking book, acclaimed sociologist Ann Oakley undertook one of the first serious sociological studies to examine women’s work in the home. She interviewed 40 urban housewives and analysed their perceptions of housework, their feelings of monotony and fragmentation, the length of their working week, the importance of standards and routines, and their attitudes to different household tasks. Most women, irrespective of social class, were dissatisfied with housework – an important finding which contrasted with prevailing views. Importantly, too, she showed how the neglect of research on domestic work was linked to the inbuilt sexism of sociology.

This classic book challenged the hitherto neglect of housework as a topic worthy of study and paved the way for the sociological study of many more aspects of women’s lives.

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Author: Ann Oakley

37 3 Images of Housework Two conflicting stereotypes of housework exist in popular thinking today. According to one, the housewife is an oppressed worker: she slaves away in work that is degrading, unpleasant and essentially self- negating. According to the other, housework provides the opportunity for endless creative and leisure pursuits. In this view housework is not work but homemaking, and the home is a treasure house of unsuspected joys ... the delectable smell of her own bread as it emerges crisp and brown from the oven, and the satisfac tion of

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Author: Ann Oakley

27 2 Description of Housework Study Despite a reduction of gender differences in the occupational world in recent years, one occupational role remains entirely feminine: the role of housewife. No law bans men from this occupation, but the weight of economic, social and psychological pressures is against their entry into it. The equation of female ness with housewifery is basic to the structure of modern society, and to the ideology of gender roles which pervades it. About eighty-five per cent of all British women between the ages of sixteen and sixty

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63 Images of housework Two conflicting stereotypes of housework exist in popular thinking today. According to one, the housewife is an oppressed worker: she slaves away in work that is degrading, unpleasant and essentially self-negating. According to the other, housework provides the opportunity for endless creative and leisure pursuits. In this view, housework is not work but homemaking, and the home is a treasure house of creative domestic joys. But how does this argument – and its converse – measure up to the reality of the housework situation as perceived by

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99 9 Housework and socialization Introduction Power dynamics in one’s family of origin shape internalized notions of normative family relationships. Previous research has documented how the division of paid and unpaid work in one’s family of origin socializes children to hold specific attitudes and beliefs about how relationships should work, as well as provides a model for how to divide paid and unpaid tasks (for example, Cunningham, 2001; Gupta, 2006; Álvarez and Miles-Touya, 2012). In this chapter, we examine the extent to which the housework class

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59 On studying housework The sociology of housework was one of the first published studies on that subject. It belonged to a long-established tradition of female commentary on the social value and material undervaluation of women’s domestic labour. The study described in the book was carried out as a doctoral thesis, and the pursuit of both the thesis and the book took me on a lonely, depressing and enlightening journey: lonely, because in Britain the ‘looking glass’ insights of the radical revolt against postwar complacency with the status quo had not yet

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39 5 Housework class characteristics Introduction Chapter 4 presented the five classes: Ultra-Traditional, Traditional, Transitional Husbands, Egalitarian, and Egalitarian High Workload. To summarize briefly, Ultra-Traditional couples are characterized by a highly gendered division of labor, with wives spending substantial time on traditionally feminine tasks (but also the most time on masculine tasks as well). Traditional couples similarly perform housework using a gendered division of tasks but do not perform as much housework overall as do the Ultra

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51 6 Housework class consequences Introduction The key goal of this book is to demonstrate that understanding the division of housework in couples can provide insights into the power dynamics of the couple. In Chapter 5, we documented how individual characteristics and resources that are afforded power in the public sphere are distributed within and across the five housework classes. In the classes characterized by a more traditionally gendered division of housework time and task division, men are more likely to exhibit characteristics or hold more

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53 Part 2: Housework and family life Behind the structural ambivalence of women’s situation, with its emphasis on femininity and domesticity, stands the woman-as-housewife. Everybody in a sense knows what being a housewife is like; but in another sense, nobody knows.… (Housewife, 1974, p 91)

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Author: Geraldine Boyle

5© The Policy Press • 2013 • ISSN 2046 7435 ar tic le 1 Families, Relationships and Societies • vol 2 • no 1 • 2013 • 5-21 http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/204674313X664671 Key words gender • equality • housework • dementia • decision making Still a woman’s job: the division of housework in couples living with dementia Geraldine Boyle Progress towards gender equality within intimate relationships has been slow, evident in the persistent unequal division of household labour. Previous studies have primarily focused on non-disabled couples, but research into couples

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