Why is a woman’s work never done?
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The farmer who works from sun to sun has a more straightforward relationship to the economy than his wife or daughters. He has one clear-cut job, while they often have two. In contemporary society the word ‘work’ has come to be virtually synonymous with paid work, yet much of the work that goes on in society is unpaid. Childcare, cleaning, shopping, cooking, laundry, care of the infirm and elderly, house maintenance, are all tasks necessitating plenty of time and effort, and therefore constitute work. They are not, however, acknowledged as such by most members of society, even by those who carry out the tasks. A full-time housewife, when asked if she works, will often reply in the negative, despite the fact that she may well be performing housework for twelve or fifteen hours a day. Yet the full-time housewife is not necessarily a typical woman; many women now, as in the past, work in the household doing unpaid work as well as working for wages.
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- 2.See C. Cockburn (1983) Brothers Pluto Press, London, for a discussion of this in the newspaper industry.Google Scholar