What Is 'Housework' and What Changes Are Occurring in This Area of Work Today?

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  • Topic: Domestic worker, Maid, Domestic workers
  • Pages : 4 (1504 words )
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  • Published : May 20, 2013
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What is ‘housework’, and what changes are occurring in this area of work today? Broadly speaking, the term ‘housework’ is used to describe the management of the home, which ‘involves a range of activities, the purpose of which is to maintain household members’ (Hatt 1997: 39). Hatt discusses how the industrial revolution and the rise of capitalism created a tidal wave of mass social change; causing production to shift from within the household to the factory. The home is now the site of the ‘reproduction’ of labour, a role which has become strongly gendered; shaped by social policies and ideologies that maintain gender roles(Malos, 1980, Cooke, 2009). There have been a lot of significant changes occurring in the area of housework since the mid 20th century following feminist challenges to the gendered division of labour and social changes that have allowed women more equal opportunities into paid work. However, despite this men have not taken on their fair share of the housework leaving the women to do a ‘second shift’ (Edmond and Fleming, 1975, Craig, 2007). Today the growing answer to the double shift for many middle class families is the paid domestic worker; and as a result of the growing demand for this service, large domestic leaning companies are commoditising domestic labour. Ehrenreich and Hochschild (2003) argue that despite technological advancements and lower standards of upkeep in the home, domestic cleaning companies strive to provide hard intensive domestic labour ‘the old fashioned way’. The home has become a paid workplace where a Taylorist standardised approach to cleaning is obligatory. Low paid domestic work has long been associated with certain ethnic minorities however; globalisation is intensifying such assertions by employing workers from underdeveloped countries who are willing to accept low wage work. These migrant domestic workers are also further exploited in an emotional sense. In this essay I am going to analyse and further discuss...
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