“Man, Woman, and Chore Boy”: Transformations in the Antagonistic Demands of Work and Care on Women in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Because the population is aging when increasing numbers of women are entering the labor force, policy makers stress the problems of reconciling the conflict between work and care. This conflict has a long history, especially for poor women and women of color. During the nineteenth century, caregiving was more likely to clash with domestic work than with paid employment. The expansion of the health care delivery system between 1890 and 1940 removed some responsibilities from the home. But rather than disappearing, many caregiving obligations changed. The growth of women’s labor force participation altered the relation between work and care. Some women quit jobs they desperately needed when family members fell ill. Others left serious sick or disabled family members unattended.

Author(s): Emily K. Abel

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Volume 73, Issue 2 (pages 187–211)
Published in 1995