150 couples report on how an egalitarian marriage works. Women were more likely to form equal partnerships, Kimball found,...

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THE 50/50 MARRIAGE

150 couples report on how an egalitarian marriage works. Women were more likely to form equal partnerships, Kimball found, if they had had working mothers themselves; if they established a career before marriage, grew up during the Sixties (and were subsequently influenced by the women's movement), and waited a while after marriage before having children. Men, in turn, were more likely to adopt an egalitarian stance if they had lived outside their mother's care (doing their own housework) before marriage; were so secure in their identity that they didn't need to dominate others; and either saw their parents dividing household chores or divided chores with sisters. Unsurprisingly, the personality traits of both groups tended more toward androgyny than those of a control group of ""traditional"" couples. Housework was divided along a number of lines: each person's preferences, each person's skills, and the importance of the task at hand to each. Children were often enlisted, when old enough, to pull their weight as well. (In one case, five-year-olds were provided with an alarm clock to get up in time for kindergarten.) Contracts or charts solidified many of the divisions of labor. Child care was shared somewhat more easily, though one university couple had trouble juggling two children and decided to swap them week-to-week. As a chronicle of a struggle-in-progress: both amusing and heartening.

Pub Date: April 1, 1983

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Beacon

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1983