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Unpaid Labor

The notion of unpaid labor has been traditionally associated with domestic housework and raising a family in the privacy of the home. This labor was (and still is) highly gendered, often undertaken by women, while men would most likely take up the role of household “breadwinner.” Paid work is visible in the public eye, whereas unpaid work has remained invisible. Until recently, accounting for unpaid labor was not considered to be important by statisticians, economists, or policy makers, as it was considered to be irrelevant to market-based economies. Given this, unpaid labor has been largely omitted from world history. What stands to count as labor, and how it comes to accumulate value, is a highly contentious issue. Certain individuals’ labor and their efforts are recognized ...

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