L. Benería, “Reproduction, production and the sexual division of labour,” Cambridge Journal of Economics 3 (1979), pp. 203-225

Summary:  Offers a historical explanation for why women are often found to be subordinate to men, based on the need to reproduce the labour force.  However, Beneria argues that the only task which is necessarily attached to women is physical reproduction.  Thus, since we are at a point where it is possible to re-assign the other tasks, we should eliminate these other forms and mechanisms of subordination.

 

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== POLI 647 Notes ==

* Examines the ‘different forms taken by the subordination of women in different societies’

* Beneria posits that “if women’s acquired skills are geared towards the household … that more will tend to ‘specialize’ in domestic activities

**Thus, they are structurally prevented from engaging in more diverse forms of economic activity – this should lead to a decrease in economic output

  • “Male domination develops around the need to control reproduction in its different aspects.” (Social, biological, labour force)

* One consequence of the control over women’s reproductive activities is “a restriction in women’s mobility”

* Distinction is made between domestic and non-domestic labour

* KEY: “Woman’s primary concentration in the area of reproduction makes them secondary workers in the area of social production.” Yet child care and daily maintenance of the labour force are _socially,_ not biologically assigned to women.

* However, only _biological_ reproduction is _necessarily_ linked with women’s specific reproductive functions

* Elimination of women’s subordination implies not only sharing between men and women in child rearing and domestic labour, but also the full participation of women in non-home production _and_ in the appropriation of society’s output

* This implies the elimination of all forms and mechanisms of subordination of women to men.

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