RELATIONSHIPS IN THE PRIMARY FAMILY

Most respondents come from the families where both mothers and fathers have secondary education. The education of the parents decreases with the respondents’ age. The fathers of more than 15% of respondents have junior college or university education, while over 30% of respondents have such a level of education, which shows certain social progress.

In the growing up of both men and women, the most important father figure was their biological father. Three-fourths of the respondents who lived with their biological fathers consider them the most important father figures until the age of 18. 10% of respondents answered “no one” and for 7.5% of them it was “grandfather”. About half of men who did not live with their fathers maintained regular contacts with them.

 

When the data are matched with age, no clear connection can be seen in either group. This leads to the conclusion that the dominant family model consists of two parents and children, which means that the father is present both in older and younger generations.

  

However, there is a strong connection between the education of respondents and the education of their father as the most important father figure during their growing up, especially in case of men. Thus, the father is the most important figure for only 55.2% of the least educated men and as many as 80.1% of the most educated ones. Such a connection exists also in case of women, but it is not as visible as in case of men.

 The gender division of labour between the parents is very clear. In most cases, fathers had never performed the tasks of food preparation, house cleaning, clothes washing or cleaning of bathrooms and toilets. On the other hand, they “took care of children”, did home repairs, took care of the yard and car. They also purchased food and paid bills.

Men grew up in the families where fathers, or some other men, usually “never” performed the following tasks: cooking, house cleaning, clothes washing, bathroom/toilet cleaning, but on the other hand, they did minor repairs in the house, took care of the garden or yard, and took care of car maintenance. This is obviously a gender-based division, which in itself, if we disregard the time spent in carrying out these tasks, does not necessarily have to be interpreted negatively, as it probably reflects “gender specialisation” rather than gender inequality. However, if we take into account the duration and frequency of work, then it becomes clear that it is gender inequality after all.

Interestingly, the division of labour was the most egalitarian in the families of the most educated men, although not yet sufficiently developed with respect to “typically female jobs”. However, in the families of less educated men, sometimes there are more fathers who more often performed “typical male jobs”, for example car maintenance and house repairs, and paying bills.

But, when it comes to child-related decisions, the division of roles was much more balanced, in the parental families of both men and women. Over half of parents decided together about the education and activities of their children. In the families of men, fathers decided more often than mothers, and in the families of women, mothers decided more often than fathers. In the families of both men and women, mothers and fathers most often made joint decisions on big investments (in over 50% of cases). However, in other cases, fathers decided more often than mothers, especially in the families of men. These answers may reflect the differences in the perceptions of men and women, rather than the actual differences between their respective families. In fact, it is possible that, in accordance with the traditional gender roles and patriarchal ideology, men have been socialised in a way to see their fathers as “more important” and “more powerful”, even if in reality this was not necessarily the case. These differences are probably the result of interpretation and do not reflect the reality.

Interestingly, analysing the answers by age shows that in the older generations of men (41 and above), it was the father who decided most often, while in the younger generations, “the father and the mother equally” decided about the matters of children’s education. The situation is similar in case of food and clothing costs. Therefore, a shift occurred in the generations born in the 1970s, which is precisely the period characterised by the dominance of two-parent working model.

 

 Both men and women usually did not participate in family duties when they were adolescents. However, in cases where they did participate, the gender division of roles has spilled over from the parental families to younger generations. Thus, young men rarely or never performed “female jobs”, and girls rarely performed “male jobs”. And yet, girls sometimes cooked, cleaned, washed clothes and cleaned the bathroom, while young men sometimes took care of the yard, and both groups went to purchase food. However, as regards housework, young men very frequently answered “never”, which indicates that female children were far more involved in the family tasks than male children. If we take into account that some of the specified tasks are performed on a daily basis, while others only exceptionally, it is clear that differences in the burden on female and male children begin already in the parental family in which the girls are accustomed to the “normality” of performing housework. On the other hand, young men were more engaged in the jobs related to the yard, car maintenance or minor repairs, that is, in accordance with the patriarchal division of labour.

 However, if we look at the age of men who answered “never”, we can see that those who do not participate in housework are less frequently younger men than older ones, with the exception of taking care of garden and yard, which is probably the result of changed circumstances (due to urbanisation and deagrarisation).