Examine the evidence and reasons for changing conjugal roles.

It is believed that conjugal is thought to mean the relationship between a man and his wife. The roles that these two people play within their relationship are often very different to another couple’s way of sharing the roles. During the years before the industrial revolution conjugal roles were shared equally between the two partners because they both had to work, usually on their own land and this was called symmetrical conjugal roles. However, when the industrial revolution came out roles became segregated and each partner did separate duties. There are many reasons why roles change within a relationship; many of the factors were due to the changing of the working structure.

Symmetrical conjugal roles were thought to benefit both partners within their relationship as neither partner had to do the bulk of the work. Before the industrial revolution many families ran farms and lived as part of an extended family, this meant that everyone had to pitch in and do the same amount of work. This meant that roles were often shared and crossed over in order to get all the work that was needed done.

When the industrial revolution started the heart of the family (Mum, Dad and Children) moved to where the work was, leaving behind the rest of their extended family. Women were not expected to work within the factories so their roles changed and partners were no longer equal. As the man was now working the woman was expected to stay at home; care for the children, cook and clean. Duties were no longer symmetrical and the man only did the “masculine” duties around the house, such as DIY and gardening. Feminists believe that the women do the ‘emotion work,’ which keeps the household settles and the men choose the more glamorous jobs, leaving the boring ones to the women.

As women start to realise that they can have good jobs and they don’t need to spend their lives being housewives and cleaners they are starting to gain some sort of status. More women are now working, which means they are gaining huge amount of independence and that in turn means they realise that the household chores are not actually ‘their’ jobs and they never were! The conjugal roles have now shifted because of the way women are treated. Men have also changed the way they perceive the women they marry, often, marriage was not for love but this has changed and men now respect women and their hopes and dreams a lot more. At present, it is said that conjugal roles are now quite equal and we can see that the reason roles have changed so much is because people respect themselves and other people a lot more.

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