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Tekniken - kvinnornas befriare?: Hushållsteknik, köpevaror, gifta kvinnors hushållsarbetstid och förvärvsdeltagande 1930-talet - 1980-talet
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
1989 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Technology and Working Women : Household Technology, Merchandise, Married Women's Household Work and Labor Force Participation 1930s to 1980s (English)
Abstract [en]

A traditionalline of thought is the belief that technological development has liberatcd women from housework and improved their prospects for laber force participation. This traditional line of thought has been questioned by som e research ers. These researchers claim that increased access to manufactured goods, household appliances, plumbing and electric power coincides with higher demands on household productian of goodsand services and that there is no earrelation between, on the one hand, improved availability of merchandise and household appliances and, on the other, a reduction of housework time and an increase of married women in the labor force.

The aim of this study is to examine the relationships between access to household technology and ready-made merchandise, and married women's work. Particular attention is paid to the number of hours spent by wife's on housework and their laber force participation. The study deals with Sweden during two periods: the 1930s, and between the l930s and the 1980s.

The study finds that in the !930s wives on small farms had least access to household technology and merchandise. Yet, this category had the highest rate of laber force participation. Married women in high income, urban families bad greatest access to household technology and merchandise. They usually had a low rate of laber force participation.

Greater access to household technology and merchandise did not reduce married women's housework hours. The potential reduction in housework time was counterbalanced by higher overall consumptian of goodsand services. The resull was the same or more housework time with no correlation to married women's labor force participation.

Duringthe period 1930s to 1980s access to household technology and merchandise has risen dramatically. The time urban wives spend on housework has fallen and their labor force participation has risen. These three changes are not necessarily related. Other reasons might be behind the decrease in housework time: reduced overall household consumption of goods and services quite apart from increased availability of household technology and merchandise- and an increase in men's housework.

Two reasons lie behind the traditional viewpoint described earlier. lt tends to underestimate the number of married women in the labor force earlier, and also to underestimate the amount of housework today.

Total hours spent today by wives on shopping and home preparation exceed the total workhours by married women in the public sector. Wives spend more time cleaning than they do working in shops, restarrrants and hotels. They spend more time sewing than working in mirres and quarries, manufacturing and public utilities.

The time married women previously devoted to labor force participation has been underestimated mainly because farmwives were not included in the statistics. If they are counted as in the labor force the rate of labor force participation for married women was about 40%  in the 1930s instead of 8%. The rate of labor force participatian was thus high in the first decades of this century. The transition from an agrarian to an industrial society meant a fall in the number of women in the labor force. Industrialization and urbanization did not primarily diminish housework for married women; it reduced their participation in the labor force. Married women turned from doing two jobs to only working in the home. At the same time, access to household technology and merchandise increased. This period is, in a historical perspective, very short and unique. Married women once again today hold two jobs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 1989. , 376 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 45
Keyword [en]
Household Technology, Women's Work, Household Work, Labour force Participation, Women' s Farm Work
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-35301Local ID: 26247ISBN: 91-7870-534-7OAI: diva2:256149
Public defence
1989-10-27, Sal Elysion, Hus-T, Universitetsområdet Valla, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2012-06-01Bibliographically approved

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