‘For me, the children come first’: A discursive psychological analysis of how mothers construct fathers’ roles in childrearing and childcare
Previous western studies have shown the division of domestic childcare work between fathers and mothers to be unequal but not always constructed as unfair. This study recognizes that gendered division of domestic labour persists. The paradox at the heart of this issue is that while both men and women support the idea of equality, they often see the unequal division of labour in their own household as fair. In the cultural context in which this study is situated (educated, dual-career families in London), men have greater involvement in childcare than before, and most mothers go out to work; however the participants’ discussion around childrearing and childcare reflects some heavily gendered discourses available in society, discourses that help trap women in their existing condition. This study highlights the language mechanisms by which meanings are created, conveyed and negotiated. It represents a glimpse into the wealth of insight that discursive psychology has to offer on gendered power relations and inequality.