The Psychology of Everyday Life:Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage


How do sex roles vary across marriages?

A distinction is frequently made between traditional vs. egalitarian sex roles. In traditional sex roles, the man is the provider and the head of the household. It is his responsibility to financially support his family and to protect them from danger. He is the final authority in the family; his wife is ultimately subordinate to him. The woman’s role is to take care of the family. She performs domestic services, including cooking, cleaning, shopping, and childcare. In more egalitarian marriages, neither paid work nor household responsibilities are exclusively the domain of one partner or the other. Partners have equal power and authority in the family and neither partner is subordinate to the other. With the dramatic social changes that have occurred since the 1960s, sex roles in Western society have become considerably more egalitarian. To some extent, these social changes have even impacted non-Western industrial societies, such as India and Japan. Nonetheless, many studies show that men still tend to make more money than their wives and wives do considerably more housework than their husbands.


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