Chapter

Economic Difficulties and a Contradictory Alliance

Susan Thistle

in From Marriage to the Market

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780520245907
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520939196 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520245907.003.0004
Economic Difficulties and a Contradictory Alliance

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This chapter explores how the economic difficulties of the 1970s and the early 1980s placed great pressures on the already weakened framework of support for women's household work, hastening its demise. It explains that rather than causing the breakdown of the male breadwinner family, the decline of the traditional manufacturing sector and the stagnation of men's wages simply accelerated a process that was well under way. It clarifies that financial pressures forced many men to accept their wives' employment. It discusses that new forms of home and work were emerging, though the foundations for such family life were denied to many, especially those at the bottom of the economic ladder. It concludes by showing how the old gender division of labor, in its different forms, broke down differently for black and white women by education.

Keywords: economic difficulties; 1970s; 1980s; household work; employment; economic ladder; gender division of labor; education

Chapter.  10198 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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