Division of work in households refers to how household chores are split between spouses into different spheres. Traditionally, it has always been a woman's responsibility to work in the domestic domain while their male counterparts go out to work. It made sense for most tedious household chores to be assigned to women in the past because wives stayed at home while husbands went out to work (Bertrand, Emir and Pan 220). However, there have been so many changes in the world that require both men and women to acquire employment thus the division of household chores has become a highly controversial topic. It is no longer evident that women should do all the household chores nor is it apparent that these chores should be shared equally. Feminists have vehemently opposed the role of women in households affirming that domestic work is not a natural and exclusive women realm and that both women and men should have equal rights to employment. Research shows that before the 1970's the society dictated that women were supposed to carry out all the household chores because their place was in the home. In fact, according to a time use survey conducted by the University of Oxford back in 2005 indicates that women were still performing approximately two-thirds of the total household chores when compared to men at the time (Kelly and Hauck 465). In my own opinion, we are living in a different time frame, and every family is unique thus they must come up with their technique of dividing household chores based on specific characteristics such as availability, fairness, competence and resources to mention but a few.
Division of labour has remained unchanged over the past years since women have continued the dominant gender in carrying out household responsibilities even up to as recently as 2005 (Bertrand, Emir and Pan 305). However, there has been a significant shift towards paid employment and women have been participating more in the labour market. This shift towards paid job for women has been among the leading social changes in advanced societies of the 21st century. Along with this shift came a general decrease in the amount of time devoted to unpaid employment. Nonetheless, women still carry out 80% of household work and their contribution in the labour market has not entirely been transcribed into the private domain (Kelly and Hauck 457). Some people argue that to avoid this debate, one partner should take up paid employment while the other should take up household chores on a fulltime basis but this suggestion does not work because there are so many financial responsibilities involved in a household and for them to be solved, both parents must work. However, I think both parents should enroll for paid employment and then split household chores based on specific factors to be fair.
Firsts, both parents should find smart ways to allocate both their scarce resources including hours in their days, their money, willpower and patience to mention but a few without losing their minds. This does not mean that they necessarily have to divide household chores 50/50 because that would only lead to endless arguments and disputes. Both parents should evaluate themselves and find out what each of them does best and then focus on those things relative to other elements to maximise on the support they give to the family. For instance, if the woman pays the bills and the husband is good at doing the manual work like working on the yard, the woman should strive on paying the bills more efficiently by setting up payment schedules and keeping track of different bills without having to be pushed to do so. Likewise, her husband should focus on doing the manual work without depending on other people and in due time he will get better at it and take less time doing it. Doing things in such a manner saves more time to do other things in the household. Therefore, it is up to a family to figure out who should do what based on their abilities and interests to avoid misunderstandings. This does not, of course, mean that the wife will specialise in paying bills for the rest of her life. They can switch up roles over time as long as there are effective communication and transparency. What matters is not who should do what but rather the approach taken in deciding.
Consequently, a team approach is fundamental when dividing household chores to avoid misunderstandings in the same (Mantsio 290). For example, couples with children are often the best team players because they know that they should focus on the bigger picture, which is to do what is best for their children. This is not to mean that couples without children cannot practice teamwork. If anything, they should follow the footprints of such parents to divide household chores efficiently. They should understand that they have built a home and they are a family so no matter what happens, they are responsible for their homes and this includes dividing work. In doing so, they should observe fairness. Husbands who value justice know that it is patently unfair to expect their wives to do all the household chores despite what they earn at their jobs (Ehrenreich 30). Endless household chores can be more tedious than any other position outside the house because it involves multiple activities including taking care of the kids, cleaning the house, cooking and putting everything in its place among other things. In light of this, understanding husbands break the monotony and break the scenery by taking up some responsibilities to help their wives. Also, it is essential to share these responsibilities because when both parents stay involved at home, even the kids' benefit.
It is also important to note that in some households, the father works fulltime while the mother works on a part-time basis and vice versa. It is up to the parents to act maturely and reasonably in such a situation because the distribution of household labour will be less balanced. The one who works on a part-time basis should try and take up more parenting and household chores responsibilities to safeguard the mental health of the parent that works full time. According to research, sharing household chores reasonably is very healthy, and it pays off because most couples who seek fairness in it thrive and are happier than those who do not (Kelly and Hauck 450). It is not an easy job to find harmony when sharing household labour is involved but feminists in a recent interview stated that work and family are both very greedy institutions but finding a balance between family and career is attainable. It is possible to harmonise a tasking career with household tasks, but the heart has to be willing.
In conclusion, the division of work in households should not be determined by gender like they were in the past because a lot has changed including the shift in paid employment among other social changes. Since every family is unique, they should come up with their policies on who should do what in the home. If a family agrees that both parents should take up employment or either parent should take up work, they should then be able to divide household chores reasonably based on convenience.
Bertrand, Marianne, Emir Kamenica, and Jessica Pan. "DP10443 Gender Identity and Relative Income Within Households." (2015).
Ehrenreich, Barbara. "Serving in Florida." and "Evaluation" in Nickel and Dimed (2001): 11-50.
Kelly, Maura, and Elizabeth Hauck. "Doing housework, redoing gender: Queer couples negotiate the household division of labor." Journal of GLBT Family Studies 11.5 (2015): 438-464.
Mantsio, Gregory. Class In America-2009. 2018, https://nanopdf.com/download/file-6372_pdf. Accessed 28 July 2018.
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