Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 377
Here are some quotes from Women and Economics by Charlotte Perkins Gilman:
Grateful return for happiness conferred is not the method of exchange in a partnership. The comfort a man takes with his wife is not in the nature of a business partnership, nor are her frugality and industry. A housekeeper, in her place, might be as frugal, as industrious, but would not therefore be a partner.
Gilman argues that marriage is not a true partnership, as the woman could be replaced by a housekeeper.
But the salient fact in this discussion is that, whatever the economic value of the domestic industry of women is, they do not get it. The women who do the most work get the least money, and the women who have the most money do the least work.
The author argues that women's work is not paid, and it is not compensated for fairly, as poor women, who do more work, get paid less than rich women.
Whereas, in other species of animals, male and female alike graze and browse, hunt and kill, climb, swim, dig, run, and fly for their livings, in our species the female does not seek her own living in the specific activities of our race, but is fed by the male.
She writes that only humans live in the situation in which women are totally dependent on the male for their existence. Other species do not live in this manner.
Women work longer and harder than most men, and not solely in maternal duties. The savage mother carries the burdens, and does all menial service for the tribe. The peasant mother toils in the fields, and the working-man’s wife in the home.
Gilman argues that women work harder than men, yet they are not paid for what they do.
It is not alone upon woman, and, through her, upon the race, that the ill-effects may be observed. Man, as master, has suffered from his position also. The lust for power and conquest, natural to the male of any species, has been fostered in him to an enormous degree by this cheap and easy lordship.
The author believes that the relations between men and women hurt men too, as men have become cruel and domineering towards women.
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