Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964517 | Print ISBN: 9781412909167 | Online ISBN: 9781412964517| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Domestic labor refers to all of the work that is done to keep people healthy and productive. People need to be fed, clothed, cleaned up after, and cared for to remain productive members of our society. Economists estimate that as a society we spend as much time doing domestic labor as we spend in the paid labor force. Despite the importance of this labor to our economy and survival, it is typically overlooked and undervalued because most of it is done outside of the paid labor force and primarily by women. The division of domestic labor within families remains deeply gendered. Even as women have made gains toward equality in the political realm and in the labor market, they continue to be responsible for most domestic labor. There is, however, significant variation in how families divide domestic labor, and scholars have developed competing theories to explain the allocation of domestic ...