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Unpaid Labor in the Home

While flipping my textbook, I was attracted by this section from chapter eight, Unpaid Labor in the Home. The title captures my attention and jogs my memory to when talking with my old aunt about domestic work issue. Every time I ask her; why is it for woman only to do the house chores? She would wonder with a light smile and have the same answer, it’s because from very long time we don’t hear about men doing house work and that’s why it is women’s duty to do so. Whenever I discuss this issue with my aunt, we always reach the same dead end. Continuously, I have to object and disagree with what she believes and try to convince her it is not woman’s duty; rather, it’s the norms of our societies that cause people to have faith in this notion. The notion that women are responsible for cooking, cleaning house, washing dishes, doing laundry, ironing clothes, caring for kids and elderly, helping children with homework, buying groceries, and so on. According to the textbook, a study was done in 2006 by Bianchi et al, showed that married women devoted about 19.4 hours weekly for housework, relative to married men who spent about 9.7 a week for the same work. One could ask, why is it for women to be responsible for doing all these things? I don’t want to say why it is not for men to do it because it sounds unfair to me too. Instead, I would say, why isn’t for BOTH, men and women to be in charge of it. Why don’t men take part in caring for kids and house work? We live in the twenty first century and still have that type of men who think that vacuuming or washing a dish after a meal is degrading and threatening factor for their maleness? We still have that example of men who feel ashamed to help in house work or admit helping in public to keep their dignity away from being teased. And as I believe, a happy life will not be accomplished between couples unless they share and care for one another. Happy couples are the ones who share every single detail in their house and do not hesitate in sharing the loads. Women are not created to be seen as men’s servant but must be seen in a better way. They must be seen as partners who split with them life responsibilities. One day I was chatting with my friend who has three kids, a 6 year old boy, and two babies, six months apart. I was showing her my sympathy toward how hard it is for her to wake up in the middle of the night to bottle feed both babies; I was amazed that she doesn’t wake up for both but for one of them. It turns out that she was responsible for one baby, while her husband was responsible to wake up for the other one. In fact, I admired their plan and wished for all women to have fair minded partners, because they are ultimately human beings and ought to be treated fairly.


2 Comments

  1. awiedmaier says:

    I agree that the scales are often tipped when it comes to the division of labor in the home. However, you must realize that many years ago, most women did not work outside of the home, so their “job” was to care for the house and children, while their husband went “off to work”. This is where that mindset came from. As women transitioned into the workforce, they still felt responsible for these duties as well as going to work. I see it slowly changing and tried to do my part in those efforts, by raising a son to not only have the knowledge needed to perform these “household” chores, but to accept responsibility for them as well.

    I also believe that by living on your own, prior to marriage/living together as a couple, you develop a sense of how time consuming and difficult some of these things are to juggle, along with work. Therefore, when you share a space with someone else, these things become a topic of discussion and are not assumed to be performed by the woman. Once again, back in the day, it was unheard of that a woman should leave her parents home prior to marriage.

  2. ckazda2013 says:

    I agree that happy couples are the ones who share the duties more equally. I think that it is crazy that back in the day women were expected to do all the work, and still to this day there are some families like that because they were raised in that era and that is how their parents did it. Today we live in a more busy society were everyone is doing everything with not enough time in the day to do all the cleaning and cooking etc. So it only makes sense that in the 21st century husbands and wives are sharing the duties.

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