Housewives Should Be Paid for Their Work

Last updated: March 7, 2017

Should family members receive a wage for the work they do in the home?

Housewives Should Be Paid for Their Work
Yes because...

The running of a home, far from being just simple chores, has been and remains one of the bedrocks o...

The running of a home, far from being just simple chores, has been and remains one of the bedrocks of a functional society. Without the work of a homekeeper, other family members would not be free to go to work and invest in a career for themselves. This would harm the family structure and the economy. The importance of this role means that the home labourer is entitled to some compensation. If the work had to be provided at market rates the cost would run to hundreds of billions of pounds or dollars a year.
No because...
Whilst the essentialness of work can sometimes influence the amount it is paid, it is by no means the only variable we use in society and the market. Look for example at how nurses and doctors are paid compared to footballers. And the proposition admits themselves that the work is done, and has always been done this way, so it's not as if a failure to pay homekeepers will mean a crash in the amount of work carried out. As such there is no threat of economic problems. It is merely a case of entitlement, and there seems to be little grounds for that.

Housewives Should Be Paid for Their Work
Yes because...

Society should always try to reward its citizens for vital work in some degree at least. Under a ca...

Society should always try to reward its citizens for vital work in some degree at least. Under a capitalist system the value of goods and services is recognised in financial terms, so a wage would recognise the important contribution of homemakers. As well as being important, housework is physically taxing, time consuming and in balancing the needs of a household, a relatively specialised task. These features are all valued highly by the marketplace, and it is a pure accident of history that homekeepers have not been included in this.
No because...
The key fact about homekeeping is that even if it is hard work, and demanding - it is voluntary. Charity work can be taxing and specialised, but society recognises this does not require payment either. The entrance into a marriage or relationship implies a similar voluntary attitude towards the work that must be done to sustain it as with those who work unpaid for charities like Oxfam.

Housewives Should Be Paid for Their Work
Yes because...

No-one knows for sure what they are signing up for upon entering a marriage or relationship. The ci...

No-one knows for sure what they are signing up for upon entering a marriage or relationship. The circumstances of a family can change dramatically over time so one member may end up doing work they never expected. If so, then their work may be voluntary in the sense they are not physically coerced, but it is not a situation they previously gave any consent to. If business partners sign a contract which circumstance means is no longer representative of the work they do, then the partners should have a right to re-negotiate. It is the same with a partner in a relationship.
No because...
Even if every future contingency is not planned upon the entrance to a marriage or relationship, what is agreed is that any changes will be discussed and mutually agreed. This is the fundamental part of the marriage or relationship contract. As long as this happens then the homekeeper has no grounds for complaint, unless there is physical coercion, which is illegal anyway. In these and other cases the option of exiting the relationship is always available too – divorce laws now make vastly improved provision for women in such situations.

Housewives Should Be Paid for Their Work
Yes because...

Firstly, physical coercion is still regrettably common in the home, and rarely reported when it exis...

Firstly, physical coercion is still regrettably common in the home, and rarely reported when it exists. Secondly there are more subtle forms of power imbalances between family units. It is estimated that men own over 90% of the property in the world, and they are almost always still the dominant wage earners in a household, both in amount and likelihood of working. This means women in particular can be left in an unequal bargaining position when compared to their partner. This means the voluntariness of domestic agreements can be highly questionable. Even if divorce is possible, it is understandable that the more vulnerable partner may want to avoid it at all costs, for cultural reasons, or to prevent harm to children. So it does not constitute the element of consent the opposition is looking for. As such it is important that we give homekeepers at least the option of recompense.
No because...
Even if there are some marginal cases where power imbalances affect agreements within relationships, it is not right, or useful, for the state to interfere in this private and personal sphere. Families will always know their situation better than the state. In the vast majority of units where the current situation works fine this risks contractualising the family, which greatly undermines the principles of shared purpose, love and agreement which make it unique and valuable in the first place.

Housewives Should Be Paid for Their Work
Yes because...

The improvements in the rights of women all stem from the state 'interfering' in social matters. Pr...

The improvements in the rights of women all stem from the state 'interfering' in social matters. Pre-nuptial agreements, custody and property sharing upon divorce are all legal measures in family law. Equalising the rights, roles and access to wealth in the household is an important step towards empowering women, and ensuring equal opportunity for future generations by showing that household roles are not defined by gender.
No because...
Even if we agree there shouldn't be overt gender discrimination in the workplace, it is not the role of state to enforce its conceptions of gender roles on the household. Many cultural and religious groups base their societies squarely on the traditional family unit. Many of the women involved in these are comfortable with that. To enforce a subjectively 'progressive' model both violates their cultural rights, and risks causing havoc in these established structures.

Housewives Should Be Paid for Their Work
Yes because...

Conservatives are always keen in public on promoting the family and on the advantages of mothers bei...

Conservatives are always keen in public on promoting the family and on the advantages of mothers being able to stay at home to bring up young children. This proposal would provide positive encouragement for couples to make the decision that one of them should stay at home to care for their children, as it provides an economic incentive for one of them (typically the woman) to do so. At the same time it ensures that although family income will be the same, the homekeeper retains their own income and so receives proper recognition for their work. This will serve to maintain their status within the relationship, and make it easier for them to return to the workplace in the future if they so choose.
No because...
In reality this proposal would undermine the traditional family, as it attempts to put an economic value upon something that is really a vocation. Many people believe that although men and women are equal, they have different roles in life. Men are seen as more career-orientated and occupy the economic sphere, while women are more nurturing and so occupy a more domestic role. By monetarising the domestic sphere the different roles of the genders are ignored and family relationships will come under strain. For example, should a wife have the right to strike if she does not think her husband is paying her enough? \
From another point of view, this measure is highly discriminatory, as it assumes that couples are all in stable partnerships along the lines of the traditional two-parent famly. Many family are headed by a lone-parent who has no option but to go out to work, and they would be both ignored and demeaned by this proposal.


1
Continue the Debate - Leave a Comment

1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Category: