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Economy and Motherhood

  • By: Kelly Dombroski
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

In both their direct mothering and nonmothering work, mothers engage with the economy through transactions, labor, and enterprise. Much of mothers' economic contributions go unrecognized in standard accounting systems, which generally capture economic contributions. Although the United Nations System of National Accounts tries to account for all production in the national economy, including household production, it still excludes activities like childbearing, childcare, elder care, cooking, cleaning, and breastfeeding from the economic activity category.

Transactions

In developed nations, mothers control a significant proportion of their household's spending (up to 80 percent in the United States) and are assumed to contribute to the economy primarily as consumers in free market exchanges. In developing economies, mothers' economic transactions as consumers and traders often occur in less formal markets, according to ...

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