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According to feminists scholars, the advent of capitalism is linked to inequality towards women based on the notion of the “family wage.” The family wage is defined as “a wage paid to male workers sufficient to support a dependent wife and children.” (p. 547) With this conviction, it is assumed that the male would be the breadwinner and the woman would be assigned to stay at home and care for the children.

A woman is expected to rely on a man to survive since even if she was working, she would receive a smaller income. It is assumed by policy makers that women have an innate high endurance towards physical discomfort; explaining that “Her physical wants are simpler. The living wage for a woman is lower than the living wage for a man because it is possible for her as a result of traditional drudgery and forced tolerance of pain and suffering to keep alive upon less.” (p. 548) This idea further stresses the importance for a woman to marry as a form of survival, even if she was unhappy and her marriage was instilled with conflict.

Nancy Folbre argues that predominately male organizations began to benefit from women’s position in the labor market.Folbre contends that “by dangling the threat of cheaper women employers before male workers, employers were able to better break strikes, defy unionization, and assert control over labor.” (p. 550) This further added to the assumption that that women were not fit to be in the workforce, as managing home life and children is deemed a distraction, in which women will be incapable of investing the necessary time and effort into the workforce.

Although, the wage gap is surely narrowing: women making 81 cents to the dollar that males receive; feminist economist, Heidi Harmann asserts that “men still have a vested interest in maintaining their privileged position as exclusive living wage earners.” (p 549) This privilege that men pride themselves in grants them to “have a material advantage over women; they benefit from women’s unpaid domestic labor in the home; and their advantage further gives them a superior sense of self.” (p. 550) However, studies show that women who work are less depressed, carry higher self-esteem, and report a greater sense of happiness than stay at home mothers. Working women also report that they feel more valued at home, knowing that they are capable of providing more for their families rather than just abiding to the presumed conventional social norms of the 20th century in which women are only good for house chores and child care.

Modern day women epitomize the notion brought on by Judith Stacy and what she calls the “post-feminist expectations” which demonstrates “The desire to combine marriage to a communicative, egalitarian man with motherhood and a successful, and engaging career.” (p. 553)



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