Working and caring: women's labour inside and outside the home

Angela Davis

in Modern Motherhood

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780719084553
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702109 | DOI:
Working and caring: women's labour inside and outside the home

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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Women in post-war England lived through a reconceptualisation of women’s work. Attitudes towards working mothers were often contradictory though. The chapter therefore uncovers the deep ambivalence which has characterised women’s attitudes towards their participation in the labour force throughout the second half of the century. It investigates how the interviewees combined paid labour and motherhood in the course of their lives and how society perceived them. It also addresses how important class and levels of education were in determining women’s attitudes towards, and experiences of, work. Both paid work and motherhood were conceived of as ways in which autonomy could be gained for women in the post-war world. Furthermore, influenced by the discourses of contemporary feminism which were influential from the 1970s, women came to speak of their desire to gain independence through work, whether this was inside or outside the home.

Keywords: Motherhood; Employment; Education; Childcare; Housework

Chapter.  16197 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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