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Work and Mothering

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

Mothering is vital work for children, for communities and for nations. A contingent of activists and scholars have long argued that women's reproductive and caring labor must be considered as work in order for it to be adequately recognized and valued. This work is sometimes called social reproduction, a term that captures the necessity of children for societies to survive, the care provided to individual children, and the value to the community of the human capital that is generated through that care. In all societies, however, women's contributions extend beyond social reproduction and include direct contributions to national economies and Gross National Product. The importance of these dual contributions means that mothering work is usually combined with other forms of work, including paid labor. The ...

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