The Battle within the Home

Book Section

Transnational labor history-and labor history more generally-has focused overwhelmingly on commodified labor, but the vast majority of the labor performed by women historically has been uncommodified. Most of this labor falls under the rubric of reproductive labor, the "caring" work that generally includes child care, housekeeping, food provision (often including subsistence agricultural production), and the maintenance of critical community networks. This chapter examines debates at the 1975 United Nations International Women's Year Conference, where policy makers and activists alike agreed that these labors remained the most imposing obstacle to women's emancipation. In the end, however, the Marxist and liberal perspectives that dominated the conference focused almost entirely on how to incorporate women into the "productive life" of commodified labor, failing to address the more challenging problem of alleviating women's reproductive-labor burden.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Olcott, J

Published Date

  • May 1, 2011

Book Title

  • Workers Across the Americas: The Transnational Turn in Labor History

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780199731633

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199731633.003.0015

Citation Source

  • Scopus