My hypothesis states that “The domestic division of labour is still based on gender inequality even when both male and female are in paid employment” Domestic division of labour is the way household and childcare tasks are divided between sexes.
The symmetrical family involves the degree of equality with which men and women share domestic work. The role of women in society is constantly changing as this has led to the empowerment and independence of women within the home and society as a whole. But research evidence suggests that little has changed, women are still seen as being accountable for most housework.
CONTEXT AND CONCEPT
I have chosen to use Elsa Ferri and Kate Smith’s (1996) study of Parenting in the 1990s as one of my contexts , this act as a focus for my research. Their data was based upon the National Child Development Survey.
They found that it was still very unusual for men to take primary responsibilities for childcare even when the woman was in paid employment and the man is unemployed. It was very common to find the woman taking more responsibilities for routine childcare. They suggest that the increasing employment of women outside the home had made very little impact on the contributions of their partners towards childcare.
The concept of “gender stereotyping” is an influencing factor because of the socialising process of women ranging from their childhood environment where male and females are treated differently The predominant ideological images to which females are constantly exposed are ones that encourage and reward actions that reaffirm feminine traits and behaviour. But the constant ideological bombardment coupled with the realities of male expectations and power, especially violence makes, it difficult to break free from gender stereotyping.
My next context is from the UK (2000) Time Use Survey from the Office for National Statistics, which shows that women still do the majority of household chores, despite their increased participation in the labour market. It was found that women spend nearly 3 hours a day on average on house work this compares with the one hour 40 minutes spent by men. Women were more likely to say they like most household tasks except DIY repairs which men were more likely than women to do.
The concept of Patriarchy is a social system organised so as to give power and prestige to men, and likely to be regarded by men as natural order of doing things. Patriarchical ideology helps to explain, justify male domination and its attributes to inherent natural inequality between males and females. Many sociologists especially the feminists tend to see patriarchy as a social product and not an outcome of innate differences between male and females. They focus attention on the way gender roles in the society affect power differences between men and women in the home. As a result of men instrumental role, which involves power and authority they tend to exploit and oppress women within the home to doing housework with the power they examine from the society.
I have chosen to use a questionnaire as my research method. A questionnaire is a list of pre-set questions. The same questions will be given to all my respondents in the same order so that I will be able to get the similar information from every member of my sample group.
I will use a random sample which will be a representative of the entire population that is studying. Everyone in my sample will have equal opportunity and the people will be randomly selected from the population. It is going to consist of 50males and 50 females of whom both the males and females are employment. They will be chosen from the Redbridge Electoral Register. The reason I have chosen this sample is to enable me to test my hypothesis and also be able to relate the information I will get to my hypothesis.
I am quite aware that there are two types of questionnaire and I have chosen to use the closed questionnaire where options of answers will be give to my sample group to chose from and this will provide me with responses that can easily be classified and quantified. The reason for chosen this type of questionnaire is because it requires little effort and ingenuity to arrive at statements describing the percentage of respondents who gave different answers. Before I embark on my main research project I will need to carry out a pilot study which is a preliminary study that needs to be conducted before my main research in order to check the feasibility of my research. I will be testing my questions before given the questionnaires out to avoid ambiguous questions which can result to unwanted information.
In order for my questionnaires to get to my respondents, I have thought of administering the questionnaire by post which makes it a postal questionnaire. The reason I have chosen to use this method is because it’s cheap and also it is quick making it possible for me to get my filled questionnaires back within a short period of time.
Questionnaires are used to produce quantitative data. I have to make sure my abstract concept are operational to more concrete questions so that I will be able to take measurement relating to my concepts. Since I used the concept of patriarchy and gender stereotyping I have to define and indicate what each concept mean and this will be put into series of questions.
I am quite aware of the possibility of a phenomenological attack on my use of a questionnaire as a research method. And the view that the work will be invalid since the finding from my research does not really represent the reality of the people that I am actually studying. Owing to the construction and design of the questionnaire which gives my respondents limited options and no space for them to explain in details the reason for their responses. This can make my respondent to pigeon-hole themselves, with results to possible responses not covering all possibilities.
Also the problem of access would be an apparent problem because of my choice of sample group. Taking a sample of people from the Redbridge Electoral Register, it would be hard to get the Electoral Register as this is a confidential document which I think will time for it to be released for the use of my research and also to get my sampling frame with every member in the sample in employment would be difficult.
The design of the questionnaire is not easy and could lead to a low response which may call into question the representativeness of my sample. if the questionnaires are not properly designed it may produce leading and ambiguous questions which undermine objectivity and introduce bias as my respondents might be confused about the questions and what answer they should choose.
Another problem which I think might affect my research is the problem of my respondents not being honest with their answers which will hinder me from generalising or concluding my research as not everyone one in the sample will agree to fill the questionnaire or the wrong person might fill it and will be impossible to probe or observe the social circumstance in which the questions are answered.