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Second Shift/Third Shift

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

The second shift, a term introduced by Arlie Russell Hochschild in her 1989 book of the same name, refers to the unpaid care, management, and manual labor of sustaining one's family, household, and social relations. Women in heterosexual partnerships assume or are relegated disproportionate responsibility for the second shift, even in households where both members of such a partnership work outside the home.

Drawing on 1960s and 1970s time-use studies, Hochschild showed that the sum of women's work hours in the paid economy and in the unpaid second shift combine to 15 hours more per week than the cumulative total for men, meaning that in the course of a year, women work the equivalent of an extra month of 24-hour days. This imbalance, occurring within a ...

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