Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Who should do the dishes now? Revisiting gender and housework in contemporary urban South Wales

Mannay, Dawn ORCID: 2016. Who should do the dishes now? Revisiting gender and housework in contemporary urban South Wales. Mannay, Dawn, ed. Our Changing Land: Revisiting Gender, Class and Identity in Contemporary Wales, Gender Studies in Wales, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, pp. 63-85.

[thumbnail of 04 OCL Mannay.pdf]
PDF - Accepted Post-Print Version
Download (950kB) | Preview


This chapter revisits Jane Pilcher’s (1994) seminal work ‘Who should do the dishes? Three generations of Welsh women talking about men and housework’, which was originally published in Our Sister’s Land: the changing identities of women in Wales. As discussed in the introductory chapter, I began revisiting classic Welsh studies as part of my doctoral study Mothers and daughters on the margins: gender, generation and education (Mannay, 2012); this lead to the later publication of a revisiting of Diana Leonard's (1972) seminal paper ‘Keeping close and spoiling in a south Wales town’ (Mannay, 2013). Later, I then wrote a paper for Contemporary Wales (Mannay, 2014); which returned to Pilcher’s (1994) work, two decades on from the original study, and explored the question of the division of household labour in contemporary south Wales; drawing upon data generated in a study of mothers and daughters residing in a Welsh, marginalised, urban housing area. This chapter returns to that paper, revisiting and updating the key arguments; and adding visual images, which, were created by Welsh women in my study to communicate their experiences in the domestic sphere. The chapter 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.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
T Technology > TR Photography
Uncontrolled Keywords: Domestic Labour; Housework; Gender; Mothers; Wales; Women;
Publisher: University of Wales Press
ISBN: 9781783168842
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2024 15:30

Citation Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics