Welcome to DomesticProduct.net – a new blog exploring the evolving dynamics of women’s work, at home and outside it, just in time for Labor Day!

Tension over what properly constitutes women’s work is the crux of much of our current public discourse. That tension feeds the babble about baby bumps that fills the celebrity magazines, lies at the root of our fair pay disputes, and of our struggles over access to abortion and birth control. The 2008 election operated in part as a labor debate over what kinds of jobs women are allowed to hold (president or clothes presser, in one formulation). The endless stories on fertility, birth timing and Mommy Wars play into the debate as well.

Ever since the advent of hormonal birth control in 1960, the social fabric woven over millennia around the assumption that women were baby machines has been undergoing quick redesign throughout the world. And stirring plenty of controversy. (see Never Done and Under Paid for more on this)

It’s taken a while, but gradually women are trickling up into policy-making positions in business and government. Once there, they’re beginning to change the rules—and to move us toward a culture of care that recognizes the importance of supporting families—incubators of that most domestic of products, our citizens—at the same time that we develop work systems that allow women to contribute fully to the Gross Domestic Product in the workplace. (see Remember Mama for more on building a culture of care). But there’s far to go yet, and it’s a long process!

I’ll be posting my thoughts on some of the many sides of this big and ongoing cultural shift, along with links to related stories. Your thoughts and stories welcome!


4 thoughts on “What’s It All About?

  • August 31, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Excellent move, to broaden your scope by focusing on how women contribute to the national economy both at the office and at home. Hopefully our national discourse can move away from the working mom/stay-at-home mom false binary.

    This very topic is coming to the fore in Virginia’s Gubernatorial race.
    See http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/08/in_thesis_mcdonnell_slammed_gays_unwed_mothers_and.php?ref=fpblg

    In his doctoral thesis 20 years ago, current GOP candidate Bob McDonnell blast women for working outside of the home and for seeking equality in the work place.

    From the article cited above:
    [H]e attacks the phenomenon of women working outside the home, writing that the proliferation in the day care industry was caused by the desire of some women “to break their perceived stereotypical role bonds and seek workplace equality and individual self-actualization.” Asks McDonnell: “Must government subsidize the choices of a generation with an increased appetite for the materialistic components of the American Dream?” (pg. 45)

    “Further expenditures” on child care, he wrote “would be used to subsidize a dynamic new trend of working women and feminists that is ultimately detrimental to the family by entrenching status-quo (sic) of non parental primary nurture of children” (pg. 46).”

    Should be an interesting race to keep an eye on!

    PS The website looks great!

  • September 1, 2009 at 5:40 am

    Thanks, Susana — more evidence that women’s work is still way political! And 1989 is not so long ago. I guess the question is does he still feel this way, or have experience and his working daughters and working wife changed his mind?

  • September 4, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Looks great Elizabeth! I signed up for the RSS feed and hope it works!

Leave a Reply