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Wifework: What Marriage Really Means for Womanby Susan Maushart
Synopses & Reviews
Men get one thing from marriage that women never do: they get wives.
Husbands and wives may say they are committed to equality, and indeed, many believe that they live that way. Yet, whether they are employed or not, wives still perform an astounding share of the physical, emotional, and organizational labor in marriage — everything from housework to 'sex work'. 'Wifework' is shorthand for this relentless routine of husband maintenance, and it's the reason that a married man is so much better off than a bachelor. He does fewer chores, is happier, healthier, and generally more satisfied. A married woman, by contrast, will perform two to three times more unpaid physical, emotional, and organizational labor than her husband — and for a fraction of the rewards. Women today initiate three-quarters of all divorces, and wifework, Maushart argues, is at the core of their disillusionment. If family life is worth saving, the job description for wives will have to be rewritten.
Bolstering her own personal experience as a twice-married mother of three with substantial research and broad statistical evidence, Maushart delves into history to explore the theoretical and evolutionary reasons behind marital inequity. Her arguments are passionate, but she keeps her sense of humor intact throughout, producing a work that is lucid, provocative, and resonant.
"Though [the book has] a downbeat ending for an often funny dissection of modern marriage, it is 100% honest like the rest of this smart and witty book." Publishers Weekly
"Maushart is able to show the amazing disparity between what we say and what we do within a marriage." The Weekend Australian
Women initiate three quarters of all divorces, and "wifework, " Maushart argues, is at the core of their disillusionment. She now maintains that if family life is worth saving, the job description for wives will have to be rewritten.
Men get one thing from marriage that women never do: They get wives.
Wifework is a fiercely argued, in-depth look at the inequitable division of labor between husbands and wives. Bolstering her own personal experience as a twice-married mother of three with substantial research and broad statistical evidence, Susan Maushart explores the theoretical and evolutionary reasons behind marriage inequality. She forces us to consider why 50 per cent of marriages end in divorce, and why women are responsible for initiating three-quarters of them. If family life is worth saving, and Maushart passionately believes it is, the job description for wives will have to be rewritten.
About the Author
Susan Maushart was born in New York. She moved to Australia in 1985. Her first book, Sort of a Place Like Home, won a Festival Award for Literature at the Adelaide Festival in 1994, and her second, The Mask of Motherhood, was published to international acclaim. She lives in Perth with her three children.
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