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Traditional Division of labor between Sexes: Women in Kitchen, Men in Yard?

The survey found that 82 percent of Americans said that women should be responsible for a child’s physical needs

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A new study finds most Americans still believe in a traditional division of labor between the sexes. (Photo by Nathan Rupert via Creative Commons license). Image source: VOA
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Sept 04, 2016: The United States could elect its first woman president in November, but most Americans still believe in the traditional division of household jobs, according to a new study.

The study, which surveyed 1,000 adults, was released at this month’s meeting of the American Sociological Association in Seattle, Washington.

Three in four adults believe that in a couple with a man and a woman, the woman should do most housework, the study found. That includes cooking, the laundry, and cleaning the house.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during United States presidential election. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during United States presidential election. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Nearly 90 percent believe that the man should do the automobile repairs and outdoor work.

The survey found that 82 percent of Americans said that women should be responsible for a child’s physical needs. Seventy-two percent said woman should also take care of a child’s emotional needs.

Discipline is an exception

The exception, in the question of childcare, is discipline. Fifty-five percent said men should deal with discipline of children.

And if a couple decides a parent is needed at home to take care of children, 62 percent said it should be the woman, not the man, who stays home.

“Sex was by far the strongest determinant of which tasks people assigned to each spouse in heterosexual couples,” said Natasha Quadlin, lead author of the study, who is a doctoral student in sociology at Indiana University.

Working with her on the study was Long Doan, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Maryland.

Survey released before presidential election

The study’s release comes less than three months before Americans vote for a new a president — choosing between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. If Clinton wins, she would be America’s first woman president.

For same-sex couples, the study found most Americans believe the decisions about who does what should be decided by which partner is most feminine and which is more masculine.

Sixty percent of Americans said the most feminine partners should cook and buy the food. Sixty-seven percent said that the more masculine partners should handle car repairs and do outdoor work.

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Old stereotypes

Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, is surprised that a majority of Americans support divisions of work based on old stereotypes.

Old stereotypes about what women do better and what men do better do not make sense for many couples, O’Neill said.

For example, O’Neill said she could fix the family car far better than her ex-husband. But she said her former husband was very good at comforting their daughter. She said he also was able to get her to appointments on time, despite the stereotype that men do not do those tasks very well.

In O’Neill’s opinion, too many couples let one partner, often the man, make decisions about who does the work. What should happen is a “sharing of power, and sharing of decisions,” with negotiations to decide who does what and when, she said.

It does not seem to matter that many women are working as hard if not harder and earning as much, if not more, than their husbands, said Natasha Quadlin.

“Even if women have higher earnings than their husbands they are expected to come home and perform a second shift of chores and childcare,” she said.

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However, men may pay a price for taking on the outside work responsibilities by themselves.

Another study found that men’s psychological well-being and health declined when they were their families’ only member earning an income. Researchers from the University of Connecticut carried out that study, which also was presented at the American Sociological Association meeting. (VOA)

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Brown: The colour of toil but non-acceptance across the West?

"This is now our destiny as brown people. Our labour is needed, but citizenship is denied."

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Police Chief David Brown. Image Source: Twitter
  • Kamal Al Solaylee’s book Brown highlights the problems of ‘brown’ people in Trump’s rule
  • Donald Trump is often accused of malingering the image of brown people
  • this book cites many examples of discrimination which brown people go through

Title: Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (to Everyone); Author: Kamal Al Solaylee

All our social development and our technological advancements don’t seem enough to eradicate our long-persisting atavistic sense of difference based on appearance, which though long-suppressed is now emerging free from its restraints — as proved by the recent intemperate comments by US President Donald Trump on immigrants from a certain set of countries.

Trump’s thinking, as seen in his off-the-cuff remarks, underscore that the questionable classification of race, expressed by the obviously evident and inescapable feature of a person’s skin, is well alive — and extends beyond the white-black binary. What about the yellow, or rather, the (as necessary for the global economy but far more exploited) brown?

Donald Trump is famous for his rude comments towards brown people. wikimedia commons
Donald Trump is famous for his rude comments towards brown people. wikimedia commons

Trump is only one leading manifestation of the malaise facing brown people — which include West Asians, Latin Americans, North Africans, and South and Southeast Asians — and far beyond the West too or from the “Whites”, says Yemeni-origin, Egypt-bred, Canadian journalist-turned-academician Al Solaylee in this book.

Trump’s victory “largely (but not exclusively)” rode on demonising Mexicans, galvanising sentiment against Muslims and championing white nationalism, the vote for Brexit was mostly pioneered by those with a restrictive view of Englishness, the record of Canada under Stephen Harper’s Conservatives — all these are obscure racial conflicts brewing in the US and Europe for decades now.

Also Read: Mexico can learn about dealing with diaspora from India: Claudia Ruiz-Massieu Salinas

“Examine these tensions closely and you’ll find a strong anti-brown sentiment at the core,” says Al Solaylee as he traces the response to, as well as the experiences of, the residents of Global South, who are forced to migrate to — and much needed in — the Developed North for various reasons, not least of which is the latter’s colonial record.

“Brown as the colour of cheap labour continues on a global scale… brown bodies undertake the work that white and older immigrant Americans refuse to do (and those black slaves were forced to do in previous centuries).

These are low-skill, labour-intensive jobs in unforgiving climates,” he says, but also that these are not limited to the Western nations but also in the more affluent parts of Asia itself too.

“This is now our destiny as brown people. Our labour is needed, but citizenship is denied; our presence as Muslims or religious minorities is offered as an example of the tolerant, diverse societies in which we live, but we continue to be feared,” says Al Solaylee.

And there is no difference whether this is deliberate or mistaken as he goes to cite the cases of the racist slurs on Sikh volunteers feeding the homeless in Manchester in the wake of the May 2017 terror attack, or the fatal shooting of Indian techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla in the US in February 2017 by an American who thought he and his friend were Iranians and screaming at them to “get out of his country”.

Al Solaylee contends we think of brown as a “continuum, a grouping — a metaphor, even — for the millions of darker-skinned people who, in broad historical terms, have missed out on the economic and political gains of the post-mobility, equality and freedom”. They are now living, he says, among former colonial masters where they are “transforming themselves from nameless individuals with swarthy skins into neighbours, co-workers and friends”.

You may also like: List of 50 People who have affected Hinduism in a Negative Manner 

And it is their story he tells — both in their homes from the Philippines to Sri Lanka and workplaces from Hong Kong to the Gulf as well as Western Europe and North America.

Al Solaylee, however, starts with first recounting his own childhood experience on learning he is brown after seeing an English movie featuring a white child and coming to terms with “brownness” in his journeys around the world and interactions with other browns (fairness creams figure largely as well as the concern that he settle down) as well as Brown’s significance in nature and culture.

He then takes up the human obsession with race, despite the concept being debunked, except in politics before his exploration of the experiences and consequences of being brown around the world.

A stirring travelogue, incisive social and political comment and a passionate cry to rise above unavoidable consequences of geography and genes, this invaluable work rises in importance beyond its subject to be a seminal guide to the world today — and what it will soon be — particularly the US. IANS