The Symmetrical Family


Richard Reeves, liberal writer, policy maker and former advisor to Nick Clegg, argues that the social revolution of the 1970s which saw women joining the workforce in their droves has created a fundamental imbalance in the family life which must be addressed in order for modern families to flourish.

‘The Symmetrical Family’ sees Reeves assert that the social revolution which began in the 1970s is unfinished, and that in order to restore symmetry to modern families, there must be an equivalent shift in men’s roles in the home to match the change in women’s roles in the workplace, resulting in men playing a far greater role in the home.

Reeves argues that many women today are managing two roles, both paid work and caring for the home and family, while men still largely have one role – that of paid work or in some cases, particularly in the current economic climate, no role at all.

By addressing this imbalance and moving towards families in which men and women can share, on equal terms, the tasks of breadwinning and child rearing, Reeves argues that families can become more sustainable and the social problems that plague families – the high cost of childcare, stagnating wages, alienation as a result of unemployment – can be addressed.

“At every level of society, greater gender equality will underpin better family life. If, and it is a big if, men are up to it. We are half-way through a revolution in the
interaction between gender roles and family life. We have to keep going, and see similar changes in men’s lives to the ones we have seen for women.”

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The Symmtrical Family

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