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From Marriage to the MarketThe Transformation of Women's Lives and Work$
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Susan Thistle

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520245907

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520245907.001.0001

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Economic Difficulties and a Contradictory Alliance

Economic Difficulties and a Contradictory Alliance

(p.54) 4 Economic Difficulties and a Contradictory Alliance
From Marriage to the Market

Susan Thistle

University of California Press

This chapter explores how the economic difficulties of the 1970s and the early 1980s placed great pressures on the already weakened framework of support for women's household work, hastening its demise. It explains that rather than causing the breakdown of the male breadwinner family, the decline of the traditional manufacturing sector and the stagnation of men's wages simply accelerated a process that was well under way. It clarifies that financial pressures forced many men to accept their wives' employment. It discusses that new forms of home and work were emerging, though the foundations for such family life were denied to many, especially those at the bottom of the economic ladder. It concludes by showing how the old gender division of labor, in its different forms, broke down differently for black and white women by education.

Keywords:   economic difficulties, 1970s, 1980s, household work, employment, economic ladder, gender division of labor, education

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