Week 6 reading notes
ProfessorPing- Chun Hsiung
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SOCB22- Week 5:
The Second Shift: Employed Women are putting in Another Day of Work at Home:
-Problems between couples, problems that seem “unique” or “marital”, are often the individual
ripples of powerful economic and cultural shock waves.
-Quarrels between husbands and wives in households across the nation result mainly from a
friction between faster changing women and slower changing men.
-Most workplaces have remained inflexible in the face of the changing needs of workers with
families, and most men have yet to really adapt to the changes in women.
-The writer, calls the strain caused by the disparity between the change in women and the
absence of change elsewhere the “stalled revolution”.
-Over the past 30 years in the US, more and more women have begun to work outside the home,
and more have divorced.
-Whether they were traditional or more egalitarian in their relationship, couples were happier
when the men did a sizable share of housework and childcare.
-2nd most common reason women cited for wanting to divorce- after “mental cruelty”- was their
husbands’ neglect of home or children.
-A happy marriage is supported by a couple’s being economically secure, by their enjoying a
supportive community, and by their having compatible needs and values.
-In the era of the stalled revolution, one way to make housework and child care more valued is
for men to share in that work.
-Adding together the time it takes to do a job and to do housework and using major studies, the
author found that women put in 15 more hours each week than men.
-Over the year, they worked an extra month of 24 hour days. Over a dozen years, it was an extra
year of 24 hour days.
-Most women without children spend much more time than men on housework.
-Women with children devote more time to both housework and child care.
-Just as there is a wage gap between men and women in the workplace, there is a “leisure gap”
between them at home.
-The research interviewed 52 couples.
-Men who shared the load at home seemed just as pressed for time as their wives, and as torn
between the demands of career and small children.
-Of the men surveyed, majority of them did not share the load at home.
-Even when husbands happily shared the work, their wives felt more responsible for home and
-Even when couples more equitably share the work at home, women do two thirds of the daily
jobs at home, such as cooking and cleaning- jobs that fix them into a rigid routine.
Women do more childcare than men, and men repair more household appliances. A
child needs to be tended daily, whereas the repair of household appliances can often
Men thus have more control over when they make their contributions than women.
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-Another reason why women may feel under more strain than men is that women often do 2
things at one.
-Beyond doing more at home, women also devote proportionately more of their time at home to
housework than men and proportionately less of it to child care.
-More men than women take their children on “fun” outings to the park. Women spend more
time on maintenance, such as feeding and bathing the children.
-Men also do fewer of the most undesirable household chores, like scrubbing the toilet.
-As a result, women tend to talk more intensely about being overtired, sick, and emotionally
-Many women interviewed were fixated on the topic of sleep. These women talked about sleep
the way a hungry person talks about food.
-The two job family is suffering from a speedup of work and family life; working mothers are its
-Sadly, women are more often the lightening rods for family tensions aroused by this speedup of
work and family life. They are the villains in a process in which they are also the primary victims.
More than the longer hours and the lack of sleep, this is the saddest cost to women of
their extra month of work each year.
-Raising children in a nuclear family is still the overwhelming preferences of most people.
-Corporations and governments have done little to accommodate the needs of working parents.
-We need to look at other nations for a model of what could be done.
-A pro-family policy in the US could give tax breaks to companies that encourage job sharing, part
time work, flex time, and family leave for new parents.
-Another key element of a pro-family policy would be instituting fewer hour, more flexible
options- called “family phases”- for all regular jobs filled by parents of young children.
-Day care centers could be made more warm and creative through generous public and private
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