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Capitalism and Motherhood

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

For both women and men, parenthood is a gendered experience. However, for women, the tasks of mothering, such as taking care of children and domestic responsibilities, are argued to provide women the opportunity to express biologically based behavior. Yet, scholars maintain that motherhood is like other social institutions and social statuses, and that family structure is flexible enough to respond to changes in the economy and politics. Researchers and activists contend that while different models of family life are sustainable and beneficial for all members, motherhood remains as an ideologically significant role for women in society.

Capitalism serves as the framework to understand the intersectional relationship of motherhood in different contexts and on multiple levels. Motherhood is simultaneously a cultural icon, an individual experience, and a ...

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