YOUNG WOMEN AND HOUSEWORK: Awkward Relics of Modernity and Post-feminist Empowerment

Joanne Baker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Despite much research which demonstrates the remarkable stability of the inequitable division of domestic labour within heterosexual couples, this key feminist issue is frequently neglected in the literature about contemporary young womanhood. This article begins with a review of literature about the politics of housework. Following this, young women's expectations and experiences of housework are explored through analysis of qualitative interview data in order to explore how they make sense of and respond to the resilience of the traditional sexual division of labour. Men's unequal contribution to housework is conceptualised in this article as an 'awkward relic of modernity' because it represents evidence of structures of male dominance at odds with widespread beliefs about progress towards sexual equality. The post-feminist environment of Western neo-liberal democracies, in which assumptions of individualised female empowerment co-exist with the continuation of manifestations of gendered inequality, provides the context against which these issues are theoretically considered.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)339-354
    Number of pages16
    JournalAustralian Feminist Studies
    Issue number74
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


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