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July 9, 2008 / C H Thompson

Equality in same sex relationships?

Are the conclusions we made in the previous lesson different for same sex households?

It has become evident that relations of power in heterosexual families swing in favour of men. In same sex households the emphasis is on equality in their relationships.

Dunne researched the lives of 37 cohabiting lesbian couples in 1997 to find how far this ideal became a reality. Where the couple had children, the childcare was shared equally as was the housework. Yet when one partner worked full-time, that working partner did significantly less housework.

Dunne provides reasons for this greater equality:

  • Equalities in the workplace are mirrored at home. So as men tend to have higher status jobs and salaries, this extends into family life and reflects the relationship at home
  • Gay and lesbian couples are free from the ‘normal’ social constraints which control our lives. Therefore as they’re constructing new ways of living in public life, they do the same in their private life and so they have more equal relations at home.

Next lesson


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