Public/Private Interventions

January 25, 2007

Glossary – Homemaker

Filed under: Glossary — mastermistress @ 3:45 pm


Is the name given to the person where the sole purpose of the day (or occupation) is to take care of the home and family. Predominantly an American term but has been picked up in mainstream English language.

Homemaker is the modern term to replace housewife or househusband. An attempt to be non-gender specific and not exclusive to marital status, at the same time defining a role by the activities it incorporates.

It also replaces stay-at-home mums and dads to get away from the inclination that their role is just about caring for off-spring.

The terms ‘domestic engineer’ or ‘home executive’ are also less commonly used, as it suggested a patronizing label to what was viewed as a role of lesser importance to the wage-earning community.

Housekeeper also describes the aim of hired help and does not encompass the full role of a parent.

Betty Friedan was one of the feminists best known for starting second wave feminism through the writing of her book the Feminine Mystique. Criticising the marginalization of women as homemakers, and that is should be a role given to a parent of either sex. She claimed that gender roles should not have any basis other than social conditioning.



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