Housework

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Introduction

Domestic labor (and housework as a part of it) was not a subject of study in the social sciences until the late 1960s since only “paid work” was considered as “work” and the concept of “unpaid work” was not available. It required a great effort by feminists to identify women’s housework as “work” and “unpaid work” and to thus render it visible (Acar-Savran, 2003). Housework became a valid subject of study in social sciences, thanks to the first feminist theorizations that aimed to provide the recognition of women’s activities at home as “work,” to show that their not being present in public life and in the labor market was not women’s individual choice, to show the meaning of women’s reproductive labor for economy as a whole, to reveal the material basis of women’s oppression, etc. (Himmelveit, 2000a, p. 102).

Definition

Domestic labor encompasses both housework and care labor. It embodies a complex set of social relationships which position women as mot ...