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Open Access 2. Who Should Do the Dishes Now? Exploring Gender and Housework in Contemporary Urban South Wales

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This paper revisits Jane Pilcher's (1994) seminal chapter 'Who should do the dishes? Three generations of Welsh women talking about men and housework'. Two decades on from the original study, the paper explores this question in contemporary south Wales by drawing upon data generated in a study of mothers and daughters residing in a Welsh, marginalized, urban housing area. The paper argues that in contemporary Wales, the domestic sphere remains a site of inequality, where women are negotiating the impossibility of being both in full-time employment and meeting the ideology of the 'Welsh Mam'. Furthermore, the work of women and the accompanying expectations have moved from being peripheral to becoming central; this places women in a psychological impasse where they identify themselves as 'lazy' when they cannot simultaneously fulfil these roles to the unreachable standards of the new respectable working-class femininity.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • Contemporary Wales is at the forefront of research into economic, political and social sciences relating to Wales. It contains both academic and practitioner-based articles, annual economic and legal reviews, and book reviews. Its interdisciplinary content drawing on current research on Wales makes the journal essential reading for students and researchers across a range of subject areas, including political and social policy, history, law, media and languages. Contemporary Wales has published articles in English and in Welsh.

    Mae Contemporary Wales wedi’i gyhoeddi’n gan Wasg Prifysgol Cymru fel llwyfan ar gyfer ymchwil blaengar ar Gymru o safbwynt y gwyddorau economaidd, gwleidyddol a chymdeithasol. Mae'n cynnwys cyfuniad o erthyglau gan academyddion ac ymarferwyr, adolygiadau economaidd a chyfreithiol blynyddol, ac adolygiadau o gyhoeddiadau yn y maes. Mae natur rhyngddisgyblaethol y cynnwys sy'n seliedig ar yr ymchwil diweddaraf yn golygu bod y cyfnodolyn yn hanfodol i wleidyddion, gwneuthurwyr polisi, y cyfryngau, gwasanaethau cyhoeddus, llywodraeth leol yn ogystal â fyfyrwyr ac ymchwilwyr mewn ystod eang o feysydd gan gynnwys polisi gwleidyddol a chymdeithasol, hanes, y gyfraith, y cyfryngau a ieithoedd. Mae Contemporary Wales wedi cyhoeddi erthyglau yn y Gymraeg a’r Saesneg.

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