What can wages do? The category of the female breadwinner in financial capitalism

Publisher:
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Australian Feminist Studies, 2014, 29 (79), pp. 50 - 66
Issue Date:
2014-05-23
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According to a range of authors and popular commentators, the post-Fordist socioeconomic order has produced a new category of female labourer, the ‘female principal breadwinner’. This article opens out this category of worker to critical scrutiny. We suggest that while the very idea of the female principal breadwinner is open to all manner of existing lines of feminist critique, beyond this it forces a confrontation with a number of issues vital to feminist analyses of transformations to women's labour—both waged and unwaged—in contemporary financialised post-Fordism. We pursue two issues in particular. First, transformations to the labour of social reproduction—including transformations to the measurement and valuation of domestic labour—and second, the financialisation (and shifting capacities) of wages specifically and money more generally. We suggest that if transformations to women's labour are to be fully grasped and understood feminist theory must renew and rethink its analyses of domestic labour, wages and money.
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