Analysis

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 176

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The Second Shift, by Arlie Hochschild, is about gender equality and, moreover, traditional ideas of gender roles that are ingrained in our social conscience and create an imbalance of work in male-female partnerships. Published in 1989, the book was the result of Hochschild’s study of two-career heterosexual couples and her conclusion that despite the fact that the women and men contributed equal earnings from their careers, the women continued to do most, if not all, of the domestic work.

According to Hochschild, we were in a “stalled revolution.” Women gained freedom when they broken into the workforce, but the social attitudes of the time prevented them from being liberated from their traditional roles as homemakers. Government policies failed to reflect the new reality of women in the workplace, so their benefits as employees lagged far behind those of the men. In The Second Shift, Hochschild conveys the idea that our attitudes have hindered our practices and that gender roles in society fall into a set of norms and expectations that stall our progress toward gender equality.

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