Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 218
The characters of "Women and Economics" are the author's ideas about the economic roles of men, women, marriage, and the home, all of which Gilman argued are in need of radical transformation in order to improve. She argued that a transformation in the role of women in society and its institutions is the key to improving the rest.
Women are argued to be in need of greater economic specialization to achieve economic independence outside the home. Gilman held this to be the key to better marriages, better mothers and fathers, better childhoods, and better home economics. She recommended women hire cooks and housekeepers to professionalize home care and release women to specialize in work outside the home as long as it was compatible with motherhood. She also suggests that others can do a better job of being educators and caregivers to children. She argues that being nurturers and caregivers has stunted women's creative and personal development to the detriment of both sexes. She argues that the roles traditionally assigned to women have led to an unequal power balance that should be corrected. Gilman beieved that cooperative kitchens and communal living arrangements could assist women in maintaining a home life without sacrificing a career and economic independence. Her ideas have been widely influential in feminist circles and more broadly.
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