ABSTRACT

The study of paid and unpaid labour under conditions of late twentieth-century capitalism raises in acute form the limitation of social theories regarding gender and work. There has been a general assumption that in industrialised societies men work and women care for families. It is not surprising therefore that industrial sociology ignored, or treated as an exception, women’s labour market work and completely neglected other forms of work. Its conceptual frameworks ensured that women’s paid and unpaid work fell outside the normal perceptions of how structures and processes operated. Nowhere has the effect of male dominated social science been more obvious than in the lack of understanding and explanation, or even adequate description, of women’s work. More than this, however, there has been an almost total neglect of gender relations.