For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Sharing household tasks in the United States and Sweden: A reassessment of Kohn's theory"

by Aytac, Isik (1990)


Using Kohn's resocialization theory in a marital power framework, this research explores two factors that might change the traditional division of labor at home: a wife's decision?making at work and her income. Using ordinary least squares regression analysis, the research reveals that when wives have decision?making responsibility at work, their husband share more of the domestic chores. These results, although based on cross?sectional data, show that the conventional division of labor at home can change as wives gain more power in the workplace.

Key Passage

This resocialization via work roles is especially important for women given their early socialization. In general, men and women are socialized into two separate roles due to the sextyped socialization process started at birth among family members and continued by teachers, peers, mass media, and books (Weitzman 1984). Through this sex-typed socialization, men and women acquire very different skills and behavioral styles. Men learn to be more independent, dominant, aggressive, rational, and cool. Women learn to be more dependent, submissive, passive, and emotional and other oriented. Because a large proportion of working women are in lowskill, low-paid jobs (Beller 1982; England et al. 1986), the socialization that goes on in the work environments is quite consistent with their early socialization (Kanter 1977). Their subordinate status is reinforced by work, where they make few decisions, lack autonomy, and primarily serve others as secretaries, waitresses, hairdressers, nurses, and elementary school teachers. These categories account for a large proportion of working women. This may even be true for most professional women, as a larger proportion of professional women are concentrated in the lower ranks of their organizations (Kaufman 1984). (p.360)


Kohn, Resocialization, Intellectual Flexibility, Reciprocity, Personality, Identity, Self, Distress, Psychology, Work Complexity


Kohn-Schooler, Psychological Centrality of Work

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